There is nothing quite like the open road when you are armed with little else than a sense of adventure.
The beauty of taking a road trip is you get to decide your itinerary, explore more parts of the UK and cover more ground on a schedule that suits you. A little bit of planning can make your road trip into a dream holiday, here’s our advice;
We all have that one friend whose car is piled high with fast-food rubbish, crisp wrappers decorate the back seats, and an endless collection of empty and half-empty drinks bottles litter the floor. And let’s not get started on the smell! Nobody’s going to want to spend a five minute journey in that hot mess, let alone a road trip. Don’t be that friend!
If you can’t be bothered to give your car a clean yourself, take it to a valet – they’ll even give you a complimentary air freshener to keep funky car smells at bay.
Now that your vehicle looks and smells good enough to live in, you’ll want to make sure it’s all in running order. Check the tire pressure, oil, break fluid and fuel levels – for peace of mind it may be worth putting the car in for a service before you set off on a particularly long trip.
If you don’t have the foggiest idea where to being changing a flat tire, my advice is make sure your emergency breakdown cover is up to date – and save the emergency contact number in your phone.
Starting with the obvious, it’s key to keep hydrated if you’re driving to help with concentration, so plenty of water and drinks in supply. You’ll also want to keep your energy levels up if you’re driving far between meals, and as snacking is both delicious and an integral part of a road trip. Mix your favourite snacks and treats with easy to eat – or ready prepared – fruit, nuts and cereal bars. Oh and pack a bottle opener – not that you’ll be drinking on the road, but not all stopovers will be as well equipped. You’ll thank me later!
Keep aside a separate bag of sanitary essentials; hand sanitiser, wet wipes, toilet roll (because you’ll be grateful you have it when you need it), deodorant etc to freshen up along the longer stretches of the journey.
As with all things in life, dress for your day. This is not the time restrictive jackets, trousers and uncomfortable shoes – no matter how good you look. Take the same approach to a road trip as you would for a long-haul flight. Comfy, stretchy bottoms and layers, to adjust to the weather as necessary.
To keep extra comfy in the car, make sure you have some extra blankets and travel pillow (if you’re not driving) so that you can comfortably take a nap. This is highly recommended and beneficial if you are taking turns to drive, as it’s so important to be well rested. Keep some hand lotion and lip balm handy to keep your hands and lips moisturised, as AC and heating can dry out your skin.
While it may sound like a contradiction – the joy of a road trip is to explore the open road after all – it just makes sense to have a loose plan so that you can plan the best route, factor in fuel and toilet breaks, and those all-important rests between long driving stints. Planning ahead can help you save money on accommodation, and also take you through some pretty cool sightseeing spots along the way, making sure you make your most of the time on the road as well as off of it! That being said, don’t be too afraid to keep an open mind and keep plans loose – you never know where the adventure will take you!
Avoid in-car arguments by creating playlists of your favourite music, and have a selection of car games to play with your fellow passengers. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, so not only is it a good opportunity to get to know each other better, but also have some fun.
Look after yourself, your passengers and the other people on the road by taking safety precautions. Advice varies, but in general you should be driving no longer than 8 hours a day, taking at least a 15 minute break every two hours. You may need more frequent or longer breaks, and maybe even less time driving over all if you aren’t used to driving for long lengths of time.
Get plenty of sleep before a drive, you’ll want to feel energised and alert when it’s your turn to drive. If you feel tired at any point, pull over and rest.
The most important thing is to have fun, and enjoy exploring! It can be a truly unforgeable holiday, and with a little bit of planning and preparation, a road trip can be some much needed stress free fun.