With foreign travel still seeming like a distant hope, more of us than ever will be preparing for road trips around the UK this summer. And the first hints of better weather and the whiff of longer days are allowing us to dare to dream up plans for where we might go.
But whilst we agonise over planning destinations, planning routes and planning what cars we’d like to do the drive in, one thing people often forget to plan for, is getting your vehicle itself road trip ready. So here are the top things you should keep in mind when planning your road trip, to make sure your car is as ready to go as you are.
1. Create a list of checks to carry out to your vehicle before setting off. And regardless of whether you’re taking your own car or a hired one, it’s still worth completing them all.
The main ones not to miss out are:
- Brakes – Particularly check these if you’re using a car that’s not your own and you aren’t familiar with. You want to feel confident in your brakes before setting off on any long journeys. So if your brakes feel either soft, or cause any unusual noises, we wouldn’t recommend setting off anytime soon.
- Lights – The last thing you want is your headlights going out whilst you’re navigating country roads at night in unfamiliar territory, searching for your campsite. So check all lights are in working order before you leave, including inside ones. And it’s best advised to take a spare bulb with you just in case.
- Fluid levels – Your fluid levels are so important to keep your car ticking over correctly, and so often ignored. Get used to checking them regularly whether you’re going on a road trip or not.
- Tyres – They need a checklist all on their own. But most importantly, check the tread, the air pressure and that you have everything you need with you should you get a puncture.
2. Get a breakdown kit together and keep it handy. There’s nothing worse than when disaster strikes and you’re underprepared. So get all the equipment you might need in there – from a jump lead to your high-vis!
3. Take out breakdown cover. No matter how prepared you might be, a breakdown can always strike so it’s best to be prepared. It’s just not worth the added stress of breaking down, then realising you aren’t covered for it. And if you are going abroad, it would be wise to check that your insurance covers that as well.
4. Buy an in-car bin. Trust us, you won’t regret this one. It saves you passing around a plastic bag that slowly fills up with apple cores whilst oozing out a mysterious sticky liquid onto whatever is underneath it. And if you’re taking children with you, you’ll need it even more. In-car bins add a much needed sense of order and organisation to your road trip. You can order them online relatively inexpensively, often slotting nicely onto the back of a chair or the central unit of the car.
So that’s everything you need to think about when getting your car road trip ready. Now all that’s left for you to do, is decide where you’re heading first!