A family road trip can be a lot of fun: it’s an opportunity to spread your wings, see the sights and have plenty of laughs along the way.
Doing a bit of planning ahead of time can really help you make the most of your journey. Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy Britain’s beautiful country roads and make some happy family memories.
Make your life easier by ensuring you have some essentials with you for any long car trip, from drinks and snacks, to a well-stocked first aid kit and plenty of fun distractions for the little ones. Here is our list of essentials.
Prepare your car
There are some essential car checks everyone should do before hitting the road for a long trip.
These should include checking your tyres, brakes, lights and oil levels, and topping up on windscreen wash. Don’t forget to ensure you have enough fuel to make it to your next pit stop, too. See more basic car maintenance tips here.
Plan some stops
So, what distinguishes a ‘road trip’ from just a long drive? It’s the places you stop and see on the way. If you really want to make your journey memorable - and keep everyone happy - then plan in some fun breaks.
That doesn’t necessarily have to mean motorway service stations: check out our guide for alternative pit stops that involve some nice food, a good run around or even a bit of culture.
Remember, if you’re driving, then it’s important to take regular breaks: as a general rule, aim to take a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours.
Share the drive
Families may sometimes have a default driver: the person who automatically gets behind the driving seat for any family trip out.
But if you’re planning a really long drive, then it may help to alternate the driver if possible. As well as the safety of giving each driver some well-deserved rest, it also gives them a chance to have a drink, check their phone, or simply enjoy the views.
Get off the motorway
One simple way of making a road trip more enjoyable is to take a more scenic route. It’s generally much nicer to cruise along country roads rather than spending hours on the motorway.
Most navigation tools, like Google Maps, enable you to choose from a selection of routes, and sometimes a more scenic option will only add a few minutes to your journey.
That’s not to say you should avoid motorways entirely: as well as usually being the fastest way to get from A to B, they are actually among the safest roads to drive on. You can check the safety rating of the roads you plan to use with our interactive Dangerous Roads Map.
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Creating a fun and memorable family road trip involves some planning, but also some flexibility.
Sometimes, you simply need to go with the flow and accept that not everything will go to plan. On a long road trip, you’re bound to have to improvise a little, whether it’s making an unexpected stop or changing your route to avoid traffic. You never know, you might just find a hidden gem on your detour.
Play some games
Car games can be such good fun. Not only will they keep the whole family entertained, but the hours will fly past. See our article for some suggestions on games to try - some require some forethought, while others are easy to get started with straight away.
It’s also worth trying some family-friendly audio books and podcasts you can listen to along the way.
Ultimately, what most parents would like on any long car trip with their children is some peace and quiet, with no bickering or arguments in the back seats.
After all, such distractions can be both tiring and dangerous.
According to Laverne Antrobus, child psychologist, television presenter and author, the key to a stress-free journey is preparation. So before you set off, read her top tips for happy, safe driving with kids.
With happy children in the back, you and your family are much more likely to have a pleasant road trip.