Whether on a day out or on holiday, road trips with the family can be stressful at the best of times. For those who are planning a road trip, here are six top tips that will not only ease some of the stress of the trip, but should also help to guarantee plenty of fun along the way.
Provide Plenty of Entertainment
Make sure that there are plenty of books and games for the kids. Small games consoles are also popular and can keep young minds entertained for hours. Put some of the family’s favourite CDs on the stereo or mp3 player so that everyone can sing along, or even listen to audiobooks, which are available to download or from the local library.
Stock Up on Snack Essentials
Being hungry can make anyone irritated, particularly younger members of the family. Remember to pack bottles of water or juice in the front of the car, along with healthy snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit and cereal bars. Avoid snacks that are high in processed sugar and additives and also avoid drinks that contain caffeine. Not only will caffeine increase the energy and anxiety levels of those in the car, it also acts as a diuretic, meaning more toilet stops.
Avoid Speeding and Rush Hour
There is often a temptation to speed in order to reach the destination earlier. Reducing the average speed from 70mph to 60mph, however, will increase a 40-mile journey by less than six minutes, so the reward for driving faster is negligible in many cases. Driving slower will also help to save fuel, reduce the impact and therefore severity of an accident and help keep stress levels down.
Plan the Road Trip
Plan the trip carefully. Whether planning long journeys or family days out UK destinations are relatively easy to reach, but mistakes can still cause significant delays. Make sure that you prepare a detailed route/itinerary that avoids known bottlenecks and use the internet to check for ongoing roadworks. For those who are planning on using a sat nav, check the route online or with a map book beforehand, as sat navs can be unreliable, particularly in rural areas. For those who are using a map book, make sure that directions are printed or written clearly beforehand and that the navigator can also read them. Start between rush hours where possible and leave home with plenty of time to spare. Being prepared for delays on the road can help prevent anxiety and stress.
Carry Out Basic Car Checks
Keeping any car maintained and serviced throughout the year is important, but before a road trip, some simple checks can help reduce the odds of a breakdown. Check that tyres are in good condition, are inflated to the correct pressure and have tread above the legal requirement. Check that there is enough oil, top up the washer bottle and check levels of antifreeze and other liquids. Make sure that the wiper blades work properly and are free from grease. If they are greasy, use a little lemon juice or vinegar to clean them. Also make sure that the air-con and heaters are working in the car, as comfort is important for everyone.
These six tips will help to reduce the risk of breakdown or an accident on a road trip, keep everyone in the car calm and, perhaps most important, ensure that the kids are entertained, allowing the driver to concentrate on the driving.
This is a guest post written and contributed by Zoe, a British blogger who is currently writing on behalf of Knowsley Safari Experience.