Road Trip Essentials

Blog post posted on 07/02/23 |

Are you planning a romantic road trip this Valentine’s Day? Or maybe a family getaway over half term? Whilst planning your route, packing your bags, and making sure your home is secured before you set off, do you make sure that you and your car are fully prepared for your long drive?

Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart Chief Examiner, shares his 10 road trip essentials that you mustn’t forget.

A spare wheel or puncture repair kit if you don’t have a spare or are on a bike

Make sure you’ve got all the parts you need and that they’re all in date. If you’re a driver, don’t forget your locking wheel nut, you won’t be able to change your tyre without one.

A hi-visibility jacket

This is not a legal requirement in the UK. But if you do need to leave your vehicle due to a breakdown or need to help someone, it’s good to be visible to other motorists.

A first-aid kit

This only needs to be a small one with the essentials. But, it could prove to be valuable should you need it. St Johns Ambulance First Aid kits are available to buy online for around £15. There is also the option to get trained in First Aid to ensure you are prepared for any incidents. For motorcyclists, Biker Down courses are available across the UK and are an excellent course to take.

Safety Kit

These can come in all shapes and sizes. But some essentials that yours should include are a torch, gloves, jump cables, an emergency blanket, and a warning triangle. These essentials will be able to keep you safe until help arrives, should you ever need it.

If travelling with children, something to keep them entertained

You might want to think about loading an iPad or tablet with a couple of movies or games to keep your little ones entertained. Especially on a long journey. If you prefer a more old-school approach, prepare to play “eye-spy” for hours on end to pass the time.

A journey planner

Whether you like a good old-fashioned map book to see where your end location is compared to your starting point, or you like to use a Sat-Nav or app such as Google Maps or Waze, always make sure you’ve planned ahead. Check traffic reports to see if there are any alternate routes in case of road closures or any incidents on your planned route.

Don’t forget the snacks – especially if travelling with children!

Something you should always remember when going on a long road trip is to pack plenty of bottled water (in refillable bottles). You never know what trouble you might come across, and you wouldn’t want to be stuck in grid-lock traffic on a motorway without anything to quench your thirst. Before you set off, stop at a local shop or fuel station and pick up some drinks and snacks to keep you going.

A phone charger

Whilst you won’t be using your phone when driving, it’s important to ensure that your phone has enough battery life to enable you to make an emergency call if you need to. Most modern cars now have USB ports that a charger can be plugged directly into. In older models, you’ll be able to use the cigarette lighter as a charging point. Just remember to bring the cable and charger with you!

Comfortable clothing

Whether you are the driver or passenger, you’ll always want to feel comfortable and unrestricted when sitting in a vehicle for a long period of time. Footwear is also extremely important. You’ll need to be able to reach and operate the pedals safely and effectively.

Here are some guidelines which you should follow when selecting your driving shoes:

  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm, but the sole should not be too thin or soft.
  • Provide enough grip to stop your foot from slipping off the pedals.
  • Not be too heavy.
  • Not limit ankle movement.
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once.
  • Of course, on a motorcycle, you need to protect your ankles. So bespoke motorcycle boots or at the very least a sturdy well-fitting pair of boots.

Your favourite playlist

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to load all of your favourite songs onto a playlist. Whether you want to listen to a bit of Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi or even The Greatest Showman, make sure you’re prepared. There’s nothing worse than listening to the radio when a song you can’t stand starts trickling out of your speakers, or if your passenger gets hold of the aux cord! Remember if you’re the one driving – only your music choice counts!

If you’re in the mood for a road trip but not sure where to head, check out our “Roads to Romance” campaign this Valentine’s Day with some amazing road trip suggestions. Find out more…