Preparing You And Your Car For A Summer Road Trip

Many of you will be off on a Summer road trip soon and will be looking forward to some time away. If you haven't been on a road trip before or for a long while you may be wondering the best way to get you and your car ready. Here are some tips which I hope are helpful.


Safety is your number one priority so get your car serviced before a road trip. Often servicing is classed as interim, full or major and depends on the mileage done since your last service, so ask in the garage. 

Local garages and car centres can be surprisingly affordable for servicing. 
We use a local garage in Porthcawl that is much cheaper than a franchised garage and companies such as Ossett Tyre House in Yorkshire do free exhaust inspections too.  

If you are servicing the car yourself you need to check some simple things. Your car handbook will help and advise you with simple checks but here are some things to consider. 

Tyres - check that the tyres are legal, that they have enough tread and pressure, and that are they in good condition.
Battery - check that it has enough charge and that the terminals are clean. 
Lights and indicators - make sure they all working and check if you need to replace any.
Oil - think about when it was changed last, and if you need to top it up or replace it.
Wipers - check they are working properly and that the rubber isn't damaged.
Exhaust - check that it isn't omitting smoke and not rattling.

Get these item replaced if necessary.

Emergency Kit

It makes sense to always carry an emergency kit in your car. This should include the following items:-

Warning Triangle
Emergency Bulb Kit
High Visibility Vest
Extendable Wheel Wrench
First Aid Kit
Jump leads
Spare Tyre and Jack

Planning Your Route

Whether you use a good old fashion map, a Sat Nav or Google maps, it's obviously important to plan your route. 

Take into consideration the age of the passengers in the car and if you want to get to your end point as soon as possible or if you are planning a proper road trip with numerous stops along the way. Plan in toilet and exercise breaks as well as food and petrol stops. 

If you are stopping at certain points of interest it may be worth booking a hotel there. Use TripAdvisor to research hotels, and check out the nearest restaurants too. 

Food and drink

If you are not stopping along the route, food and drink should be as easy to eat as possible and preferably mess free. 

Instead of sticky doughnuts and bottles of coke, prepare some easy to eat sandwiches and fruit and veg sticks, and bottled water before you leave. As well as being much healthier for you won't have sticky fingers to wipe off everything and crumbs to hoover up.

Breakdown cover

Get breakdown cover before you go. This will give you peace of mind and you can often spread the payments into monthly instalments. There is nothing worse than being stuck by the side of a busy road when your car isn't going anywhere. If the worst happens, check out what to do if you break down

Some companies such as the AA will give you added benefits too. Their Arc Europe, show your card scheme gives you discounts in Europe and the US in a wide range of hotels and restaurants.

Keep everyone entertained

Create a music playlist with a summer theme, or if you have young kids consider a sing-a-long playlist that everyone can join in.

Ipads or Ipods are useful to keep everyone entertained. Make sure everything is downloaded before you leave the house so you are able to play games or watch movies without the internet. 

If you have passengers that get car sick ensure you have travel tablets available for the journey. There is nothing worse than feeling sick or having the car smell of sick on your journey!

Clean the car

When your car is clean inside and out, you finally know you are ready for that awesome road trip. So pack the car, load the kids and have fun!

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I hope this simple guide has helped you prepare for a road trip, enjoy!

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  1. As someone who road trips regularly, I can agree to all your tips! I would definitely recommend getting clued up on basic maintenance of your car yourself as it saves a lot of time, money and effort (Haynes Manuals are my recommendation) I also recommend taking a paper map and downloading Google maps to local for if/when you struggle for GPS signal when in the countryside. Great tips and perfect timing for the summer holidays.

  2. Tyres are the first thing I check....i used to have a bad run if loading the car to the rafters and then getting a flat tyre so having to empty the boot to get to the spare.
    I've run flats now so not an issue thankfully

  3. We go on a road trip at least once a month and we make sure the water and oil levels are fine and that we have emergencies snacks and blanket as you never know! My husband deals with the car side of things but I know we have breakdown.

  4. It always amazes me that people don't have an emergency kit in their car which includes water and a blanket x

  5. We take many road trips will our two toddlers and although they're really well-behaved what we struggle with most is space. Even in our large SUV, it seems like there's never enough room. I couldn't agree more about making sure th car is serviced before hitting the road. I imagine not many things are worse than breaking down while on vacation.

  6. I wish I had a car to go on spontaneous road trips... But reading this has definitely made me realise there's a lot more preparation to hitting the road other than making sure you've got petrol!!

  7. Good list! Everything on the list should be given priority when travelling.

  8. Some fab tips here. I'm guilty of not checking my car over before long journeys and the service light has been on for 6 months. Oopsie! You've prompted me to call the garage!

    Ami xxx