Survive the summer getaway – top tips to make your journey as painless as possible
(Posted on 19/07/18)
It’s estimated that drivers are expected to make more than nine million leisure journeys by car between Friday and the end of the weekend heralding the start of the school summer holidays.
It marks more than a month of freedom for children, running from their classrooms faster than Usain Bolt at an Olympic final. Not so much joy for parents facing almost seven weeks of juggling childcare, maxing out annual leave and wondering how on earth they’ll cope.
With staycations at an all time high, many will be joining the anticipated nine million other drivers hoping they don’t hit the dreaded traffic jam and complete the journey unscathed.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis confirms what most parents are dreading: “This weekend tends to be one of the busiest on the roads for leisure journeys, second only to Easter and Christmas. On some popular routes, this may well mean gridlock, especially through the second half of Friday when commuters and holidaymakers will be sharing space on the same stretches of the UK’s roads. As a result, it will almost certainly feel like a ‘frantic Friday’ for some.
“The next peak after this weekend will be Saturday 28 July according to our research, by which time the vast majority of schools in England and Wales will have broken up for the summer. And if the weather remains fine, that could lead to many more people deciding to jump in the car to enjoy a short notice ‘staycation’, adding to the weight of traffic.”
The record-breaking summer we’re having will undoubtedly have many packing their cars to the rafters and heading to the coast.
If you’re heading off on a car journey with the family, here are our tips to make the journey as painless as possible:
- Prepare, prepare prepare! Sometimes screen time limits must go out of the window. Make sure you charge electronic devices fully, download games and invest in child-friendly headphones, unless you want to listen to the monotonous tone of electronic devices for the duration of the journey.
- Anyone anti-electronic devices, google games to play in car journeys! Eye spy becomes extremely tedious very quickly.
- Pack enough food and drink to last double the journey you’re planning. This allows for hold-ups, just don’t allow them to eat the entire contents of the cool bag in the first hour.
- Plan your journey avoiding peak hours. Try to leave early morning or evening, avoiding the middle of the day, this should minimise your chances of gridlock and an in-car meltdown.
- Check traffic reports before you leave and consider alternative routes if needed. Most satnavs re-route along the journey to avoid traffic but it’s always handy to be one ahead before you set off.
- Make sure your car’s roadworthy. Inflate tyres to the correct pressure considering the extra weight of your family and the copious amount of luggage you’ve packed. Fill washer fluids and check the coolant is topped up.
- Plan pitstops before you leave. If you’re not a fan of the motorway network of over-priced service stations another idea is to join the National Trust. A family membership costs around £9 a month and as there are plenty across the country, you can use the National Trust properties as service stations. They have changing facilities, nice loos, play-areas and a decent cup of coffee with home-made cakes.
- Take a few deep breaths and prepare for ‘are we nearly there yet’ ten minutes after you’ve set off – good luck!
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