Considering going away somewhere in the South of England?
Staycations reached an all-time high during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, with countless Brits making the most of the country’s best spots. From countryside cottages to seaside holiday homes, they’re a timeless and practical option for groups of all sizes and ages, removing the stresses of travelling abroad. But with hot or unpredictable weather conditions, and the prospect of a long road trip ahead, how can you prepare for the journey? Here are a few essential pointers to consider.
Complete any maintenance checks
It’s important to set time aside to complete basic maintenance checks ahead of a long road trip. You’ll be thankful for taking any action that could help prevent a breakdown on the journey – no one wants to be caught out, after all.
Plus, it’s important to check that your MOT is valid and ideally, that any advisories off the back of this have been actioned. If feasible, you could time your annual servicing at the garage so that they’re completed just before your trip. Otherwise, you can carry out any basic maintenance checks yourself.
Examples of maintenance checks you should do include:
- Checking the tyre pressure and inflating where necessary so that it sits within the required range for your vehicle
- Checking tyre tread is in line with legal requirements
- Testing all your lights – you’ll need someone to help you do this
- Checking your oil and top up where needed
- Topping up washer fluid where needed
- Checking and topping up coolant where needed
If the weather is due to be hot when you travel, it’s recommended that you book in to get an air conditioning regas and lubrication if you think this will make your journey more comfortable.
Plan in breaks
Break up the drive with regular stop-offs to not only give the driver a rest but to also allow any passengers to stretch off and get some fresh air. It’s also a good chance to add in any toilet breaks or purchase more food and drink.
Long drives are notoriously dangerous if you don’t take breaks throughout the journey. And if there aren’t many places to stop off en route, you can always share the driving with someone else – and temporary car insurance can help make this possible. This will give you time to properly rest and even nap if you need to.
Check the route
Another element of planning your breaks - while the use of sat nav and navigation apps is the go-to for many, it’s helpful to take time to study the route ahead of your drive. This way, if you lose your signal or get caught up in surprise road closures, you won’t feel too in the dark. You could make a note of key roads you’ll need to include and also check for any road works you might want to avoid along the way.
Plus, if the weather is nice, it’s a good way to enjoy the weather along the way by factoring in extra sightseeing if there’s time. For example, depending on the direction you’re heading in, you could visit Dartmoor on your way down to Cornwall. Otherwise, service stations might be more appropriate if you’re mostly driving on motorways.
Pack road trip essentials
More fun road trip essentials include snacks and plenty of water if it’s a hot day, as well as any family-friendly entertainment that might help the journey go a little quicker if you have little ones in tow. It might be sensible to have layers, blankets and even cushions in the car so that everyone is travelling as comfortably as possible. On a practical level, a first aid kit may be sensible too so you have plasters and painkillers at the ready.
Pre-road trip admin would include any vehicle documentation you might need. This includes your driving licence, plus physical or digital copies of breakdown cover and car insurance documentation
Plan your journey around the weather
The time of year and consequently, the weather conditions, will make a big impact on your journey. Be sure to anticipate any unforeseen risks linked to the weather that might be expected and align your maintenance checks with these. Having enough coolant is especially important in hot weather.
If the weather is expected to get hotter throughout the day, consider setting off earlier in the morning - plus, this will help you enjoy more time at your chosen destination. This will also prompt you to bring certain items in your travel kit so that you’re more prepared, from sunglasses to SPF, as UVA rays can penetrate the glass windows. If you’re planning stop-offs, you could coincide your arrival at your chosen destination with more desirable weather.