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How To Plan For a Road Trip

House & Home

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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If you’re after a successful and stress-free road trip, you’ll need to put in a little planning. Follow our guide from prep to packing so that you can enjoy your holiday on the open road.


Pick a route


Road trips aren’t only about the destination, they’re also about the journey. So why take the road frequently travelled when you can find a ‘yellow brick road’ of adventure? You’re sure to discover quaint towns with rich history or untouched landscapes with vibrant scenery for the perfect ‘Insta pic’. It’s all out there and waiting for you.


Get the family involved from the start. Ask everyone if there’s something they’d like to experience along the way. For the kids, it may be a visit to a water park, while you might consider visiting a museum or a foodie hot spot.


Draw up an itinerary


Even a chilled road trip needs a watertight plan. That involves checking for roadworks so you can plan for any delays. Scouting and booking accommodation might be key too if you’re planning a cross-country trip. If you think you might arrive after dark, ask if someone will be available for a late check-in and if the restaurant will still be open. There’s nothing worse than a hangry’ family after a long day on the road.


Make meals part of the fun


Grabbing a meal at a petrol station is fine for a treat. However, it will delay your trip, can become expensive and certainly isn’t the healthiest option. A cooler box filled with healthy snacks, sandwiches and fresh juices will keep the mood and energy levels up. Instead of eating on the go, plan stops along the way where you can eat your meals, stretch your legs and take in the local views. 


Rest-stop planning


Stopping on the side of the road to relieve yourself isn’t safe or comfortable. Before you leave home, identify pit stops along the way where everyone can refresh themselves. This can be a challenge if you’re travelling with toddlers or babies, so you may need to map out more options along your route.


Plan for emergencies


Nothing spoils a trip like getting a tyre puncture on the road. Air conditioners can blow. Cars can overheat. So ensuring your vehicle is serviced regularly will reduce the risk of holiday car drama, but it’s not fail-safe. Roadside assistance is the safety net you need if you’re planning a road trip. Save the numbers you need to call and any relevant membership details in your phone before heading off – and in case of a battery fail, have them written down somewhere.


A roadworthiness check a few weeks before your trip and knowing that your car is in working order will give you peace of mind. Priorities are the steering, brakes, clutch and drive belts. Check for signs of leaks underneath your car and get this seen to before you travel if there are any red flags. Even if your vehicle received the green light in the months before a trip, you need to do the following yourself: 


  • Check the spare tyre is in working order and the tread depth is safe.
  • Check all tyres for potentially unsafe wear and see if tyre pressure is correct.
  • Check the jack and jumper cables are not rusted or broken.
  • Perform an inspection under the bonnet to ensure coolant and oil levels are sufficient.
  • Ensure the brake and indicator lights are working.
  • Check windscreen wipers are not weathered, which could impair your vision.


Let the games begin


Travelling with kids can be a challenge. Relying on smartphones, tablets or gaming devices to keep them entertained isn’t the only answer. They will run low on battery life a few hours into your trip. You can also:

  • Download or purchase age-appropriate and classic audiobooks. These you’ll be able to play through your car’s radio.
  • Create a lucky packet for each child. It could have tiny wrapped gifts they are allowed to open when you reach a particular milestone on the trip or travel-friendly activities like sticker books.
  • Stick to routines such as eating and nap times. Even older children will benefit from stages of your trip where music is turned down, and everyone has some quiet time.


The information contained in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


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