Quick-Fire Tips For Planning Road Trips

Planning road trips is not as easy as some people make it out it be, whether you are driving to Europe or staying in the UK. There are many factors to take into account, including weather forecasts, traffic and vehicle maintenance but also making sure you pack everything you need.

It can be as stressful as it is exciting since road trips with the family usually mean spending a lot of time with them. How do you prepare yourself, your family and your car for road trips? What can you do to make sure everyone remains on speaking terms at the end of the journey?

How To Plan Road Trips And Prepare Your Vehicle

There are several factors to consider when planning a road trip and it’s important to think about how everything will piece together. The following sections will help guide you through every aspect of the process from planning your route to packing essentials and making sure your vehicle is ready for the journey.

Choose Your Destination

Before you can start planning your road trip, you need to know where you’re going. This may seem like an obvious first step but it’s important to have a destination in mind so you can map out a route and start thinking about what you want to see and do along the way.

If you’re struggling to choose a destination, try looking for inspiration online or speaking to friends and family for recommendations. Once you have a few ideas, you can start to narrow down your options by thinking about things like the time of year, weather conditions and how long you want to be on the road.

Deciding On A Route For Road Trips

Once you have a destination in mind, it’s time to plan your route. If you’re driving in the UK, there are several online journey planners that can help map out a route and estimate how long it will take.

When deciding on a route, think about the time of year, weather conditions and whether or not you want to make any stops along the way. If you’re driving in winter, you may have to take a different route to avoid snow or ice. On summer road trips, add an alternative route to your route planner in case of traffic, especially if you’re driving past popular holiday destinations.

Consider the type of vehicle you’re driving and whether it’s suitable for the roads you are taking. When driving a small car, you may need to avoid routes with steep hills or narrow roads when travelling in a bigger car.

Share The Driving Responsibility

Before setting off on any long journey, we recommend trying to share the driving responsibility with someone else. Driving for long periods at a time requires a great deal of concentration which can quickly lead to driver fatigue. As a result, tiredness can result in making silly mistakes and increase the likelihood of an accident.

Rotating with another driver can help keep you focused and refreshed throughout the journey. Remember, if you are sharing the driving responsibilities, UK law stipulates that you must be insured. You can arrange temporary car insurance for a minimum of 1 hour up to a maximum of 30 days.

Take Regular Breaks

As we’ve already established, driving for too long can cause fatigue and a loss of concentration. To minimise the risk of accidents, the government’s road safety campaign, Think! recommends taking a 15-minute break at least every two to three hours. If you are driving on the motorway and other main roads, there are several rest areas and services where you stop for a while, stretch your legs, grab a snack, and use the loo.

Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Ready For Road Trips

Before setting off on any road trip, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is in good condition. This means checking the tyres, oil and water levels and making sure there are no loose wires or other potential problems. It’s also a good idea to clean the car before you go so you have more space for luggage and can see out of all the windows.

Inspect your vehicle properly before embarking on long journeys. It’s especially important to consider seasonal weather, long distances and the additional strain that the extra weight from luggage and passengers could put on your car. Here are a few things you can check on your own:

DIY Vehicle Checklist For Road Trips

  • Make sure your oil level is correct and that there is enough coolant
  • Tyres should be inflated to the correct pressure, allowing for additional weight. You should see the tyre pressure inside the fuel fap or driver’s door. Make sure to check the tread depth is within the legal limit which is 1.6mm
  • Make sure your brakes are working properly. If you can hear grinding sounds, it could mean the brake pads are worn and need changing
  • Check that all of your lights are in full working order. Unless your vehicle has a built-in beam adjustment option, you may need headlight beam deflectors if you’re driving in Europe
  • Keep your window clean and top up the washer fluid
  • Make sure your car air con is topped up and working as it should

For complete peace of mind, book a FREE vehicle safety check at Elite Garages before heading out!

Essential Items For Road Trips

Once your vehicle is ready, it’s time to think about what you might need and pack accordingly. Some essential items for road trips include the following:

  • A map of the area
  • First-aid kit
  • Torches, spare batteries and high visibility vests
  • Spare tyre and a set of jumper leads
  • Snacks and drinks for the journey
  • Medication which you or your passengers might need
  • Books, magazines or music and especially toys if you are travelling with children
  • Extra set of warm clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Sunglasses and mobile phone chargers

Plan For Contingencies

No matter how well you plan, there’s always a chance something could go wrong on a road trip. That’s why it’s important to plan for contingencies and think about what you would do if something went wrong. For example, you should plan for things like breakdowns, flat tyres and bad weather.

It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency numbers on hand in case you need to call for help. Finally, it’s worth making sure you have a good insurance policy and breakdown cover in case you need to make a claim.

Related: How To Change A Flat Tyre

Vehicle Safety For Road Trips At Elite Garages

As a family-owned and managed business with branches across the south and southeast of England, we understand the importance of vehicle safety whether it’s for road trips or everyday use. By following the tips in our guide to amazing road trips, you can help ensure your journey is more organised, fun, safe and less stressful.

While you can perform many vehicle checks at home before your journey, you can also book a vehicle and tyre safety check at any Elite Garages branch. Our technicians will perform a thorough inspection checking all the vital components to ensure your vehicle is ready for road trips of all types. You can find a list of all our branches on the website.