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Top tips for planning a successful road trip

A road trip is one of the best ways to discover some of our beautiful destinations in the UK and beyond. Driving your own car means more freedom too – you can set your own pace and stop as many times as you like.

So, buckle up – we're here to share some of our top tips for a successful and stress-free road trip.

Travelling with tots

Feet poking out of a car window at the seaside.

We know, it's tough trying to remain patient when your child asks 'Are we there yet!?' for the 30th time in an hour. So, to stop them (quite literally) driving you mad, fish out their favourite books, load up your tablet with films and games, and don't forget to pack a portable charger. Just make sure they take regular breaks from the screen to give their eyes a rest – the perfect opportunity to play a few rounds of the classic road trip game: I, Spy!

Pet passengers

Is your furry four-legged friend joining you for the ride? Dogs make excellent travel companions, but not all are used to car travel. That's why you should do a few trial drives before the big trip, so they get used to not just your car, but the bumps and turns of the road.

On the day, it's important that they eat at least three hours before getting settled in your car, as that'll help to prevent car sickness. Stop often for fresh air and don't let your dog hang its head and tongue out the window; although they'll love it, it can be dangerous. They can get insects caught in their fur and eyes, and the debris that sometimes hits your windscreen can do a lot of damage if they hit your dog. Plus, if you have to suddenly brake you risk damaging your dog's neck.

What to pack: in the boot

If your car boot doesn't have an emergency kit, it's time to prepare one! Here are the key items you need:

  • Jump cables
  • Tyre gauge
  • Screenwash
  • De-icer and scraper
  • First-aid kit
  • Reflective warning triangle
  • Cat litter (for traction if your tyres get stuck)
  • High-viz vest
  • Blanket/warm clothes
  • Water and non-perishable snacks

Breaking down is a nightmare for anyone and it's best to be prepared. Having your emergency kit on board will help keep your family safe, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

In the glove box

The glove box is the ideal place for those essential documents, like car insurance and breakdown cover. It's also worth storing a pen and pad in there, in case you need to scribble down a driver's details in the event of an accident, as well as a list of emergency contact numbers. Other handy items include hand sanitizer, tissues (a must if you're travelling with kids), some plastic bags for your rubbish and a torch.

Travelling abroad?

If you're venturing overseas, take proof of car insurance (making sure you're covered for travel abroad), along with breakdown and travel insurance documents, the car's V5C certificate, passports and your driving licence.

Remember: driving rules vary between countries, so do plenty of research beforehand. Did you know, for instance, that in France you're required to carry a warning triangle, reflective jackets for each passenger plus a breathalyser? Get caught without one of these and you risk a hefty fine that could seriously eat into your holiday budget.

With all of these top tips in mind, all that's left to do is load up the car, relax and enjoy your road-tripping adventure.