I guess you could say we’re not strangers to long car journeys. We drive to France every year when we ski and we have a good few days out a year where we need to drive longer than the kids think is acceptable. Then there’s blogging conferences that are 3 hours away and the cheapest way to travel is usually by car. Both of our cars take a bit of a motorway beating more than once a year and we’re always careful to make sure we’ve prepped for the whole journey and, of course, every eventuality when you’ve got children.
So here are my top five tips to avoid being towed and having a mental breakdown in traffic. That way you’re sure to enjoy your journey a whole lot more.
Plan Your Route
Seriously, it’s so basic but if you know your destination then you should know your route. We went on holiday a couple of years back and on the way to the airport they’d shut off a good chunk of the road we needed to use. We panicked as we didn’t know the area well and we had a flight to make. Cue Google Maps who is the saviour of all saviours – we were redirected down country lanes and through areas of residence but we finally got on the road we needed to.
If you can’t plan your route, or your planned route fails, have a back up! Make sure your GPS is up to date and make sure you have it in the car with you.
A Mini Survival Kit (In The Car!)
It’s so different when you’re travelling as an adult with kids. You’re very much aware of any issues that may come up, you can understand ‘time’ and how long a few hours can actually be but for kids everything passes in a blur and they have little to no understanding of traffic, accidents that cause tailbacks or otherwise. They just want to get to the destination and get out of the car!
When we last travelled to France I had to make sure that we were packed and I think it’s a good idea to have an ‘overnight’ survival kit with you just in case you end up stranded or caught up in miles and miles of tailbacks. We usually each have a pillow, a good supply of food, snacks and water, a blanket and a change of clothes somewhere in the car. Oh, and don’t forget entertainment – you’ll thank yourself for it in the long run!
Oil & Water
You can never have enough! Check your oil levels before you leave and top up your water as far as it’ll go. You won’t want to be driving down the road with a dirty windscreen and no water – smeared bugs will only make it worse and rain doesn’t help. I try and keep a spare bottle of both in the boot for any emergencies too. Plus, if the water doesn’t get used for the windscreen, you can always drink it.
Check Your Tyres
It sounds obvious right? It’s one of those things you just assume will be ok or it won’t happen to you. You need to check the tyre pressure and ensure you’ve got enough tread. If your long car journey is taking you abroad and up a mountain, make sure you’ve got snow chains – we made the mistake of not having any once and ended up struggling to get out of the skiing resort on the way home. It was quite traumatic, actually. Keep a spare in the boot too, if there’s room.
Depending on how long the journey it’s a good idea to factor in breaks. It can be anywhere really; somewhere for lunch, a service station or even a place of beauty. Whichever you choose sometimes it’s nice to stretch your legs, have a bit of a loo break and grab a bar of chocolate or a cuppa before doing the next leg. The kids will thank you for it too!
Keep up with the ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign with Kwik Fit by searching for #CarSafetyChecklist on social media. What else should I know before I go?
*This is a collaborative post.