I’ve been on some great holidays with my family, but it’s difficult to beat a good road trip. We’ve taken road trips in Scotland, down to Wales and in England. There is no finer country than the UK for a good trip. Our road network is good, there are plenty of pit stops, and there’s lots of beautiful countryside to discover. If you get lucky and end up driving on a fine day, with the windows down, the music on, and your family with you – well that’s a recipe for bliss. I have so many happy memories from our road trips.
Of course there have been challenges too. There was the time when a six week old Erin struggled with constipation and screamed for an hour solid, the weather was torrential and Alex struggled to concentrate and find a safe (and dry) place for us to stop. That was a fraught hour. Then there was the time (on our last trip), again in terrible weather, our windscreen wiper flew clean off while we were driving at 70mph on the M6 at eleven ‘o’ clock at night.
Over the years we’ve gained experience and we do our best to prepare for what we might be faced with, it makes road tripping a lot more pleasant when you feel prepared.
1. Check your oil and water
Before you begin your trip, top up your oil and water to the recommended levels. Spare screenwash is always a handy thing to have.
2. Check Tyres
Ensure tyres are pumped up to the appropriate levels. Doing this will reduce wear and tear and increase fuel efficiency.
3. Insure Yourself
You should have car insurance anyway. Familiarise yourself with your policy and what it covers. Keep your details on you in case you’re involved in an accident.
4. Breakdown Cover
Breaking down can be costly. Get breakdown cover and you’ll have complete peace of mind. We’ve only ever used ours once, when our windscreen wiper flew off and we could not continue our journey safely the AA towed us to the nearest 24 hour garage who promptly fixed the wiper, total cost £9.28. We had Erin and our dog in the car, they made sure they were with us within 30 minutes. What could have been a nightmare is fondly remembered as an adventure. You’ll never be sorry you took out breakdown cover.
5. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is useful both for the journey and to have while you’re away. Make your own or buy one in a carry case that you can pop in the boot and forget about – until you need it of course.
6. Breakdown Kit
If you want to be extra prepared you can pack a breakdown kit; warm blankets, a shovel, bottled water, dried longlife food, a high visibility vest or jacket, a torch and a pumped up spare wheel are all handy things to have with you in an emergency.
Snacks and drinks are an absolute must on a road trip, they can lift the moral of the trippers in a moment. Alex is chief driver on our trips and I’m in charge of everyone’s comfort. I pack bottled and cartons of water and juice. Crudites, savoury snacks and jelly sweets are all favourites of ours. We try and avoid chocolate which can be a bit sickly when you’re on the move. Consider the age of your party, make sure they can easily open and store food safely to avoid spillage.
8. Plan Journey & Breaks
Have a rough idea of the route you will take. Have a map or a phone app to assist with navigation when you get lost (it happens). Make sure there are lots of breaks, road trips should be fun and not all of your time should be spent in the car!
9. In Car Entertainment
We like a blend of entertainment on our trips. We play family games like ‘I spy’ and ‘spot the Stobart truck’. We switch between the radio and cd’s. Those than can handle reading in the car do so. Erin likes to play apps on her iPod. We have an in car policy that the driver gets the final decision on music and other passengers can use earphones if they want to listen to something else.
10. Drive Safely
Most important of all, drive safely. Never break the speed limit or endanger your passengers or other road users. If you’re running late, so what. Throw away the schedule. The driver should take responsibility for the driving and the oldest passenger should take responsibility for navigation and in-car comfort.
This post is in association with Tesco Bank