What you need to know before you take off on a family getaway by car

Summer is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any more fun and adventures. In fact, autumn is the perfect time to plan a family getaway. Prices have dropped significantly and there are usually fewer crowds to navigate. You can stay at a farm, visit a historical site or just head to beach on a warm Autumn weekend.

From making sure your car’s safe to finding the best route, there’s a lot to think about before you set off on a long trip. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind to ensure you enjoy a stress-free weekend drive to the English countryside.

Get your car up to scratch before you take off

It’s generally recommended that cars get a full service every year or 12,000 miles – whichever comes first. Your vehicle might also benefit from interim services to keep it in the best possible condition. For example, drivers who do a lot of frequent short trips are advised to book interim services every six months or 6,000 miles. If your car’s due a check-up, don’t leave this until after a long trip. Regular servicing means any problems are identified at an early stage, which can prevent more serious and costly damage further down the line.

If you’re not sure when your car was last looked over, refer to your vehicle log book to see the most recent servicing stamp.

Important vehicle checks

To help you stay safe on the highways and avoid unnecessary breakdowns, kwik-fit.com recommends to perform the following checks on your vehicle before you set off:

  • Tyre thread
  • General tyre condition
  • Tyre pressure
  • Spare tyre or tyre repair kit
  • Coolant
  • Oil
  • Screenwash
  • Windscreen wiper functioning
  • Windscreen condition
  • Lights
  • Air con
  • Battery
  • Wheel balancing and alignment
  • Dash warning signs

Autumn family getaway

Research your route

Even if you’re used to keying an address into your sat nav and letting this piece of kit do the hard work to get you to your destination, it’s worth doing some extra research before a long journey. For example, check online to see if your preferred route is likely to be subject to disruption caused by roadworks or special events.  Bear in mind that if you need to adjust your sat nav during your journey, you should pull over somewhere safe first.

It’s useful to know where the fuel and service stations along your route are so you don’t get caught short, especially in more remote areas.

Allow enough time for rest stops

It’s essential that you give enough time to have regular rest stops on long journeys. This is especially important when you’re traveling with kids. You don’t want to see sad faces on your family getaway, so make sure you have enough time to stop for snacks or for your little ones to use the toilet.

family car journey

Emergency supplies checklist

No matter how well-prepared your vehicle is, there’s always a chance you’ll be faced with unforeseen events on the road. This means it’s useful to take some emergency supplies with you just in case – and here are some of the most important:

  • Well-charged mobile phone
  • Water and snacks
  • Extra clothes
  • First aid kit
  • Warning triangle and high-vis vest
  • Ice scraper and spade

Take care of what you leave behind

You can’t always take your pets when travelling. Sometimes the journey is too long or the hotel you’re staying at does not accept dogs. Even if you’re only going away for the weekend, it’s good to know someone is looking after your home. Find a reliable pet sitter or a friendly neighbour you can leave your house keys with, so you can rest assured that there is someone to water your plants, cuddle the cat or walk the dog.

Having your journey planned ahead is the key to enjoy a safe family getaway this autumn. Have you thought of your next destination?

 

 

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