How to prepare for an Easter road trip

Squabbles, boredom, hunger, car troubles…they’re all very possible when packing up the family for a long-distance car journey. A successful road trip takes planning and preparation, and we have some handy tips and advice for your Bank Holiday getaway…

Prep the car

While your car may be perfectly roadworthy, it might not be quite up to driving long distances unless you give it some TLC beforehand. Make sure you…

  • Check your oil level
  • Fill your fuel tank up
  • Check your tyre pressure and top up if needed
  • Make sure your spare tyre is in good working order
  • Replace damaged wiper blades
  • Top up your coolant
  • Check your headlights and indicators are working

Plan the route

If you’re heading out on a long journey, it’s vital you prepare beforehand so you know you’re taking the best route to get you where you want.

Don’t end up getting lost by hoping your GPS will take you from A to B. Have an idea in your head which route you’ll be taking and then programme it into your sat nav or phone before you set off.

Head away at peak Easter and you’re near-certain to hit congestion. Try and avoid roads that are famously congested during the Bank Holidays (M5, M1 and M6), and possibly opt for more scenic routes. A coastal path, hilltop route or via some pretty towns where you can plan a quick stop off.

Even the best laid plans can go out of the window if there’s a broken-down car on the road or unplanned roadworks. Switch on your radio’s traffic alerts (the ‘TA’ function) or use congestion avoiding apps such as Waze or Mapkin which can redirect your route if there’s trouble ahead.

Pack the essentials

First of all, pack snacks, a lunch and plenty of drinks to keep you refreshed and hydrated on the trip. A cool bag will keep everything fresh, and a flask of hot tea is always a saviour on a traditional British road trip.

Make sure you have any in-car chargers you can get your hands on, to keep your phone and devices topped up if you need them –particularly if you’re using them for directions. You should also have a first aid kit packed in case there’s an emergency.

Blankets are also a good idea in case you break down and it gets chilly and games, magazines and books are always helpful if you get stuck in a lengthy tailback.

Print any docs

If you’re staying in a hotel, have a car park booking, or tickets to an attraction, make sure you have everything printed out before you go.

It’s also advisable to print out a map and directions. Although we barely go anywhere without our phones these days, it’s difficult to know if you’ll have signal. Having a printed copy of the route could save you hours if your 3G/4G drops.

It’s also a good way of getting the kids involved, as they can follow the map, eliminating the dreaded question – “are we there yet?”.

Plan some entertainment

Making a playlist that alternates everyone’s favourite songs is the perfect way to keep everyone engaged. Even if it’s a song you’re not a fan of, it’s only a couple of minutes before you’ll be singing along to a classic of your choosing.

Download movies and TV shows to a tablet or device that the kids can watch to pass some time, or you can go down the retro route and plan some good, old-fashioned car games. Here’s a few of our favourites…

  1. The tunnel game – see who can hold their breath the longest when driving through long tunnels
  2. Spot a Mini – both easy and entertaining. See who can spot the most Minis on the journey. This can also work with yellow cars if you’re playing with young children
  3. 20 questions – think of a famous person, musician or even an animal, and the other passengers can ask 20 questions – that can only be answered with yes or no – until someone guesses correctly
  4. I-spy – Simple, but still a classic. Someone spots an item and says, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” and states the first letter of whatever item they’re thinking of. Passengers can make as many guesses as they like until they get the right answer.

If you’re travelling with children, get them excited for the different landmarks along the route by giving them a list that they can tick off as they spot them. Birmingham? Tick. Blackpool Tower? Tick. The ocean? Tick.

Quarrel solutions

If you’re travelling with kids in the car, then you’ll be very lucky to plan a long journey without your restless little ones squabbling on the back seat.

Plan ahead with a reward system.

Give them coins, chocolates or buttons and every time they start bickering or moaning, charge them one. Whoever has the most left at the end of the trip wins a reward.

Planning a trip this Easter weekend? Here’s our guide to surviving the Bank Holiday traffic

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