Going on a road trip can be great fun, whether with family or friends a long car journey can often feel like an adventure
However, there’s something daunting about setting off for hours on end in the car, which is why being as prepared as possible is so important.
To give you an idea of what to take, what to avoid, and what to do before you leave, get road trip ready with these top tips.
Carry out any necessary car maintenance
Make sure your car is roadworthy and not going to breakdown on you half way through your journey. In addition to completing the usual car checks like the oil and the water, check your tyre depth and double check your car essentials, like the spare tyre or repair kit for example. If you have any concerns before you set off it may be worth having your car checked over by a mechanic. Our guide to DIY jobs you can do to ensure your car passes its MOT may help you prepare.
Unless you’ve found yourself stranded at the side of the road, it can be easy to forget about breakdown cover – once that happens you’ll never forget it again! Before setting off make sure you have valid cover and the contact details to hand. If you’re not sure what type of breakdown you need, you can find all the information you need in our guide to breakdown cover.
Plan your route
You might think it goes without saying, but if you’re going on a journey you’ve never driven before, or are unsure of where to go, make sure you plan your route.
If you have a sat nav, use it but if you’re heading somewhere unfamiliar, be sure to check on a map too just to make sure you’re not going to find yourself driving down a footpath or into a river. Make sure you have the relevant chargers just in case you need them.
It might also be a good idea to plan breaks, whether a lunch stop or just a quick coffee, it’s important you give yourself a rest from driving at least every three hours or whenever you feel you need one.
Share the driving if you can. The good news is, even if your passenger isn’t a named driver on your policy they may be able to drive your car with the help of Admiral Car Sharing Insurance which allows friend or family members to be insured for a few days or even hours.
What emergency items do I need?
Long journey or not, the following items are useful to have in the car at all times:
• Torch - if you do breakdown in the dead of night make sure you’re not left in the dark!
• Map - yes you’ll have your phone or sat nav but maps don’t run out of charge
• First aid kit - just in case, it’s always useful to have
• Jump leads - for your own car, or to help out a fellow motorist, another thing you don’t think about but when you need them you wish you had them!
• Fully charged phone - running out of phone battery in an emergency is a nightmare, especially when you may need to call breakdown cover, or the emergency services
• Sunglasses - yes, we live in the UK but sometimes the sun does make an appearance, sunglasses can help with visibility and it prevents you from squinting for hours on end.
Staying entertained on a road trip
Being 100% focused on the road is obviously the priority of the driver but that doesn’t mean the passengers have to sit in silence for hours on end.
In-car games can be great fun, whether it’s I spy, the registration plate game or a game of who am I? it all helps make the journey a bit more lively.
If you ’re taking the kids, it might be an idea to have a think about what might keep them busy while you drive. Making sure they have books, magazines, games or other activities to do beforehand will save you time and potential frustration on the road.
Food and drink for long journeys
Being well prepared with snacks is a good move and removes the risk of being trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic without so much as a banana to keep you going!
Service stations can be very pricey so think about what you can pack in the car beforehand which will stay fresh and not make too much mess.
If you’re the driver, make sure you’re safely parked before eating and drinking.
Of course, don’t forget the water, there’s nothing worse than having nothing to drink while on a long journey. Make sure to take more than you need so that if do happen to run out of water in the washers, you can easily refill them.