Road Trip Preparation for Families

road trip

Is anyone else planning a road trip this summer? We are fortunate to live on a beautiful island with much to see. There are castles, beaches, moors, museums and so much more. This summer many will staycation and holiday within the UK. Some of those will be road-tripping; jumping in the car, motorhome or similar and setting out to enjoy some adventures.

Once upon a time jumping into a vehicle and setting off would have sounded magical. A few cursory vehicle checks i.e. do we need to visit TyrePlus before setting off? Do we need more oil or water? Is the picnic blanket in the boot? All very quick and easy. These days we travel as a family and so a little more preparation is required. 

Make a Road Trip Plan

Before you go anywhere or do anything with children in tow, you need to make a plan. You need to plot a course, taking into account regular toilet breaks, snack breaks and boredom breaks. Allowing the children fifteen minutes to *wee and run around on some grass before piling in the car should make them more pleasant to travel with. No promises but you could do with stretching your legs too.
*Wee in the service station, then run on some grass. Just to be clear.

Travel Sickness Preparation

Little Spock hasn’t thrown up in the car since he was two. Well done Little Spock! That doesn’t mean that there is no chance of return visit of the dreaded car sickness. Maybe Little Leia with fall foul of it this time. 
It happens.
Make sure that you have wipes, bin bags and if car sickness is likely, a bucket. It may be worthwhile speaking to your pharmacist about travel sickness tablets if age appropriate. Others swear by travel bands to keep little ones settled.

Non Digital Essentials

When your sat nav dies and you have no signal/your phone runs out of charge you will wish that you had a map book, a printed map, some change for a phone and a list of important numbers written down somewhere other than in your phone. Include your insurance and breakdown cover policy numbers and so on too.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Car Maintenance

This is a big one. The last thing that you want is to break down, get pulled over because of poor tyre health or have to deal with anything else that will delay you or potentially cost you money. This reminder list may help:

  • Have you checked your tyre pressure and the tread?
  • Have you *fueled up? 
  • Have you checked your oil and water levels?
  • Check that all of the bulbs are working as they should.
  • Make sure the reg plate and lights and clear of dirt and debris. #*If you have a hire car, for the love of all things sensible make sure you double check the type of fuel that’s needed before filling up as not doing so could work out very costly. If you do put the wrong fuel in DO NOT start the engine as this will make the issue a lot worse.

Road Trip Boredom Busters

road trip

Are we nearly there yet?

I’m bored!

The two phrases guaranteed to strike fear and despair into a parent’s heart, especially when you only set off ten minutes ago and have another four hours to go.

Make sure that your children have enough to do in order to keep them occupied throughout the whole journey. If that means plonking them down in front of a portable DVD player and having to listen to the Frozen soundtrack over and over again, so be it. 

Other sanity savers ideas for keeping children occupied on a road trip:

  • In car games/travel games.
  • Easy to open, not too messy snack selections.
  • DVDs
  • Sing along CDs (this one depends on the age and the tolerance of the children. No, they don’t want to listen to the Tremeloes for three hours straight).
  • Knock Knock Ding-a-Ling (and so on). No, I’ve not cracked under the pressure, this is a brilliant travel game that holds the attention. Shout Knock Knock if you see a post box, Ding a-Ling if you see a phone box. Have a Google for some more non-digital car games and activities.

Emergency Kit

You aren’t going to break down during your road trip, that would just be mean. If you do, however, you need to be prepared. Make sure you have an easy to get to emergency kit which includes:

  • First aid kit (including regularly prescribed medications that anyone takes as a breakdown can mean long delays so it is important to have what you need within easy reach).
  • Non-perishable food, and water.
  • All-weather clothing. Being stuck at the side of the road in a sudden downpour wearing only your summer shorts and t-shirts is never fun. UK weather is unpredictable, be prepared.
  • Torches and batteries.
  • Basic tools (for changing tyres and so on).
  • Warning triangle and hi-vis jacket.

For more road trip breakdown advice this article from the AA is a great resource.

With a little preparation, there’s no reason why your summer road trip won’t be a fabulous as you hope it will be. Whatever you have planned, enjoy!

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