Spring is almost upon us and we’ve had a few days of sunshine amongst the rain and drizzle of the UK winter. Those days of sunshine have left me longing for the summer months ahead and the trips that we plan to take. If you are planning on taking a road trip this year, here’s a few tips to help prepare for your trip.
Whether your trip is here in the UK or abroad, make sure to have your driving documents in a safe place, including licence, emergency contact numbers and insurance details. Breakdown cover is often included if you are hiring a car but it’s always best to check what is included. If you are using your own car, check your car insurance policy and breakdown policy to make sure you are covered if you are planning on leaving the country for your trip.
Plan your routes and destinations beforehand with planned rest and fuel stops, there’s always that point when you’re all exhausted and restless from travelling, that you just need a break. If you know when and where your rest stops are, there’s no stress and worry about looking for somewhere safe to stop.
We’re fortunate that we live in an age where maps and navigation systems are readily available on our mobile phones but it’s always a good idea to have a physical back up i.e maps of your route and destination. Also remember that phone mount if you don’t already leave one in the car.
Handy Tip: Let someone other than a member of your travelling group know about the route that you plan to take just in case.
Packing the Essentials
This is often one that’s easily forgotten but soon remember when you have that sun glare on the windscreen. They are always on the top of my list to remember because squinting for your journey isn’t fun.
First Aid Kit
You should keep a first aid kit in the car because you never know when you might need it if there’s an accident. We keep a simple but comprehensive kit in the boot so we are prepared if any minor injuries occur.
Believe it or not, you can still get sunburned in the car, it’s better to be safe than sorry and carry a tube of sunscreen in the car.
Staying hydrated on particularly long journeys is important, so keep a few bottles of water in the boot
Charging cables & portable charger
Being able to charge your devices on the go is a big positive but you need to remember the cables in order to do that. We always pack a couple of power bank in case they are needed as backup.
We live in the UK where regular rain and downpours are a common occurrence, so we always remember to keep an umbrella in the boot of the car. It’s handy to keep one just in case when travelling because sitting in cold wet clothes isn’t pleasant. It’s best to avoid that if you can.
You don’t need to go crazy with the packing, there’s always the temptation to over pack. Especially when you don’t have the airline restrictions on luggage. Remember to pack some kind of waterproof jacket though!
You never know when you will need it
Spare Tyres or space saver tyres are essential, not just for road trips. It’s best to make sure that you have a solution available in case you find yourself in the situation of having a flat tyre on the road. If you don’t have a spare tyre, there are other solutions in the form of quick fixes i.e tyre foam sprays or puncture repair kits.
If you do get a flat tyre and have to use a space saver or repair kit, these are not long term solutions and you should look at replacing the tyre at the nearest possible tyre centre asap. In most cases these solutions are designed to simply get you home safely, even the space saver tyre has it’s limits.
If the above happens, and you are unfortunate enough to get a flat tyre, make sure that you have the correct tools that will help in that situation. Keeping a car jack in your car is so handy for such occasions, as is an in car electric pump.
Car Care and Preparations
In addition to making sure that you have packed all the travel essentials for your road trip, it’s important to check that make your car is 100% for the journey. Nothing can put an end to a road trip like car problems. If you take the time to check your car over before your trip, you reduce the risk of issues
Don’t leave your check until the morning that you are leaving, it’s best to do it in advance of your trip so you can iron out any potential problems. (If you are hiring a car, I wouldn’t worry about this too much) if your car is due a service then now might just be the best time to do that.
I can’t stress this enough, check your tyres before you leave.
Air Pressure: make sure all tyres are adequately inflated and they are all the same to the same psi. (Check your manual for guidance required inflation level)
Tyre Tread: You will also want to make sure the tread on the tyres is not too worn, this can affect the handling of the car and can cause accidents. If the tread is too worn, you should really consider having the tyres replaced before going on a long journey. You can have your tyres replaced easily at places like Ossett Tyre House in Wakefield, or wherever is closest to you.
Handy Tip: Make sure you also have a spare tyre, car jack and pump in your car!
Always check your oil levels regularly but this should be checked especially before long journeys.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Windshields get dirty, so you want to make sure you have the fluid to clean it especially on long journeys.
Check things like lights etc are all in working order, you don’t want to get halfway into your trip realise you have lights out.
Makes sure to fill the tank before you leave and plan your fuel stops accordingly!
Relax and Enjoy your trip, wherever you are going!