Last reviewed: 01/12/20
Heading home for Christmas? Or maybe just fancy getting out of your hometown? If you’re planning on taking a road trip, it’s always worth making sure you’re prepared for every eventuality. And that doesn’t just mean giving your car a health check before you set off – after all, a successful road trip isn’t just measured on how far you get!
To help you get the most out of your driving time, we’ve pulled together a useful guide to help you plan a successful road trip.
1. Plan your route carefully
It’s worth planning out your route before you set off, as this will (hopefully) prevent you getting lost! Planning your route also means you can schedule convenient pit stops along the way for when you need a break from driving.
If you’re heading off somewhere unfamiliar, it might also be a good idea to take a paper road map, just in case your Sat Nav loses signal.
2. Carry out a health check on your car
While it’s always sensible to keep an eye out for any dashboard warning lights that might come on, it’s also worth doing a more in-depth health check of your car before heading off on a long trip. You should also check the following:
- Check your tyre pressure and tread depth, as well as keeping an eye on any wear and tear.
- Check the water, washer and oil levels. It's also a good idea to keep some anti-freeze in the car, especially during the winter months.
- Check that all of your lights are still working, and that you know how to use them - you'd be surprised how many people don't know how to switch on their fog lights!
3. Carry some emergency supplies
Just in case the unexpected happens, such as your car breaking down, keep some emergency supplies in the car. This could include:
- Things to keep you warm (such as boots, a winter jacket, and a blanket).
- Some food and water.
- A warning triangle.
- A portable phone charger.
- An ice scraper.
- A first aid kit.
Save the number of your breakdown service to your phone. It’s also a good idea to write it down on a piece of paper in case your phone breaks or runs out of battery. Your car insurance policy might even have breakdown cover included as standard, so check your policy documents.
4. Have some fun road trip car games to hand
While road trips are great, you’re likely to be a lot more excited about the destination than the journey; but that doesn’t mean the journey can’t be enjoyable.
To help you stay entertained during your road trip, here are some of our favourite car games for you to try. But remember, don’t distract the driver!
Name that song
Simple, but effective, all you need for this one is a music library, a car stereo, and a good memory for music. Take turns playing tunes, whilst everyone else has to guess both the song and the artist.
The key here is to pick obscure songs that people won’t be able to guess as you gain a point every time no-one knows the answer. You could also include extra rules, such as only being allowed to pick songs of a certain genre, or playing the song on repeat until someone is able to guess it!
An old classic, allow the other passengers up to twenty ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to guess what you’re thinking of. It could be themed, such as ‘famous people’ or ‘TV’, or you can keep it generic to make it even more difficult to guess.
The yellow car game
You won’t notice until you’re really looking for them, but there are very few yellow cars on the road – which means they’re perfect for this game. The aim of the game is simple – shout every time you see a yellow car!
The alphabet game
This is a good one for long car journeys, as the game can last as long as you want it to. Pick a theme - for example, films - and go through the letters of the alphabet picking films that start with that letter. This is not so much a competitive sport as a way to while away the time.
Road trip bingo
This game will take some prior planning, but the other passengers will be grateful for your organisation! Before you set off, make a list of things that you’re likely to see on your road trip – this could include anything from passing wildlife, to landmarks – and the other passengers have to cross them off every time they spot one of the items. And of course, don’t forget to yell ‘bingo’ when everything’s been found!
5. Drive carefully
Long winding roads are notorious for accidents, so make sure to slow down on the bends. Not only that, but you may be driving through unfamiliar territory, and in adverse weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to keep the pace down and listen out for any unusual engine noise.
6. Make sure you’ve got the right car insurance in place
Check the following details on your car insurance documents before heading off on a long trip so you know what cover you have, should you need to use it:
- Is the policy still valid?
- Do you have breakdown cover included?
- If you’re driving abroad, check that your car insurance policy covers where you’re travelling to.
- If you’re planning on sharing the driving with someone else, make sure you are both covered under the same insurance policy, and let your insurer know.