- By admin
- In Maintenance
It may seem incredible given the long winter we’ve just had but, yes, Summer really is just around the corner. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Time to swap the Winter tyres for the Summer boots and start thinking about a holiday road trip. Whatever the vacation destination, in Europe or here at home, preparation is key. Here are some essential ideas for ensuring the long-awaited holiday goes smoothly:
It almost goes without saying that a well maintained car will prove to be more reliable on a long run. Your local car servicing garage will be happy to provide a full car service before you go. If the family vehicle has not long been serviced, a good once-over by a professional technician, will offer peace of mind. Perhaps even a minor service to just freshen up the automotive parts may be in order?
The trick with packing the car for a holiday is to make a list of what not to take. Once that’s established, the next step is to find the space for all the things the family insist on taking. In previous years a roof rack was utilised, groaning with suitcases. Automotive storage has moved on now and as well as well-designed luggage space in the boot, many owners favour the modern roof box.
They come in all shapes and sizes and give at least a nod to aerodynamics. They are a good idea, making space in the cabin and giving everyone room to move. A car that is ideal for most of the year, may prove problematic on a road trip; a roof box solves this. Yes, fuel consumption will be affected by the extra weight and drag but, as long as they are removed when not needed, it’s a minor issue.
Once upon a time in-car boredom on family road trips was at least slightly relieved by endless choruses of ‘Ten Green Bottles’ or ‘The Wheels On The Bus’. Those were the days, eh? Now, in our technological world we have what is popularly known as ‘infotainment’. Fabulous audio systems are within reach of most motorists. Instead of the ‘bottles’ song we now have squeaky renditions of ‘Let It Go’ with full orchestral accompaniment.
It pays then to pack some entertainment. Novelty games will help and of course some form of tablet for movies and music will always go down well. That’s the best way to engage children on long journeys; encourage them to get involved by in-car pastimes and keep them occupied. The addition of a portable charger wouldn’t hurt either. Nothing you try will stop the chant of ‘Are we nearly there yet’ however.
Being efficient in road trip preparation doesn’t just come down to entertainment and games. Our personal well-being is also very important. Where possible try to plan a route that allows for comfort breaks and for the driver to rest. Many cars have built-in navigation these days that includes the facility to highlight en route traffic delays, facilities and motorway services. The days of the after-market satellite navigation on top of the dashboard are largely in the past (although some are still available) as most people these days use a smartphone.
On the basis that we never know what is around the next corner, make sure there are plentiful snacks and water and also some supplementary clothing in the case the weather turns chilly or traffic delays occur. An icebox may come in handy too.
Two Wheels Good
With the modern trend to less organised holidays, using Airbnb’s for example, it’s not uncommon to see a couple of bikes slung from the back of a car. There are plenty of cheap devices around that will serve but, better still, go for a brand or model that gives good support.
Tow bar mounted bike racks are ideal as they are supported from underneath and are very sturdy. Whatever type are used make sure that the bicycles are really well secured. Some bungee cords might give extra security. Remember too that any bike rack adds length to the vehicle so take extra care when reversing or parking.
A well maintained car will give good service and be, crucially, more reliable and more economical. Family road trips are great; just make sure that all the bases are covered.