Feel Good Contacts and Asda Money have prepared a countdown checklist that holidaymakers can tick off each day to help get their trip off to a stress-free start.
Four days before the trip
Check your car
Checking your car carefully before you head off on a long trip is really important. Take the time to check the oil and water levels plus the dashboard for any warning lights. Give your tyres a once over for flat or deflated tyres, and if possible, take your car for a quick test drive if you haven’t driven it in some time.
Check car seats/seat belts
Don’t forget to check all seat belts for signs of damage. Test them by fastening them to ensure that they’re secure. If you’re travelling with children, check that their car seats meet the manufacturers’ height and weight recommendations.
Three days before the trip
Check your car first aid kit
Check that none of the items in your car first aid kit are out of date, and ensure that you have all of the essential items. This includes antiseptic wipes, bandages, plasters, gauze pads, medical tape, scissors, instant cold pack, disposable gloves and sting and bite treatment. Keep everything together in a water-proof box and place it in an accessible area that stays cool, since heat and sunlight can degrade some items.
Two days before the trip
Set out a B-road route
For convenience and speed, motorways can often be the way to go, but if you’re looking for a more scenic road trip, there’s nothing quite like heading out off the beaten track and discovering the winding, bucolic B-roads. Better yet, with less traffic, they can be safer – which is great news for you, your car and the no-claims bonus on your car insurance! It can be an idea to get out a map before you take off down the motorway and pick out any B-roads that strike your fancy. They could be coastal or through local towns, for example.
Plan your pit stops
Driving for long hours without any rest can be a recipe for disaster. Tired eyes can cause accidents, so you need to take a break every so often for yourself, not to mention the rest of your family. The good news is, there are plenty of roadside cafes, service stops and charming towns to explore on the UK roads. Take some time to plan out where you’re going to take a pit stop, so you know where to go, and remember to check Covid restrictions to ensure those stops are open to visitors. Even as restrictions lift, it’s important to be aware that some establishments and towns may have their own rules in place, so some research before you visit is always a smart move.
It’s time to start packing. Remember that over and under packing can lead to a lot of stress. Take time to plan what is needed and pack wisely. If boot space is tight, then soft bags can squish into a packed boot. Also, plastic bags can be kept by your feet. Check with your accommodation provider beforehand what items they have available at the property so that you only take the essentials.
The day before the trip
Check the weather forecast
Rain can make surfaces slippery and driving a little more dangerous, so check the forecast. It may mean that you will have to leave earlier or later than planned.
Ensure that you’ve got a full tank of petrol.
Prepare some entertainment for the kids
After a year of online schooling and leisure time spent in front of the screen, it would be advisable to avoid giving your children screens to occupy themselves with during the road trip. For kids, it can be a drag being stuck in the car for hours on end, so try entertaining them with children’s podcasts and audiobooks which you can download in advance of the trip. You can also download some music, word games, crosswords and quizzes from the internet – all great time consumers. Alternatively, they can enjoy the beautiful scenery and good conversation. If you’re travelling with babies, then pack toys including mirrors, rattles and ones that hang from the handle of the car seat.
Healthy packed lunch for the journey
Pack drinks, healthy snacks and prepare the sandwiches for the trip. It’s worth keeping wipes handy for grubby hands plus empty bags ready to put all of the rubbish in and for travel sickness. Also, don’t forget to put the ice packs in the freezer. They’ll be needed to place in the cooler bag tomorrow.
Try to get an early night so that you are well rested for the trip and don’t forget to set your alarm.
On the day of the trip
Wear comfortable shoes. Loose, layered clothes made from breathable material is suited for travel. Also, keep your sunglasses handy to protect your eyes from glare and damaging UV rays. Before you leave, it’s worth applying sun cream to all exposed areas.
Make sure that you have the address and contact details of the accommodation provider with you. Other essentials to keep handy include a car phone charger, spare change for pay and display parking and vending machines and tissues if you suffer from hay fever.
Don’t forget to keep clean face masks and anti-bacterial gel handy.