Ok – I’ll admit that by anyones standards – I’m not a girl anymore! Rather more a mature lady or experience and poise……. ok without the poise then!
But what I am is the household driver! Badger doesn’t drive – so the long haul trips on holidays and the family taxi service is all down to me!
I thought I’d share with you the best tips and tricks I have – as to how to survive the long haul drive and still be capable of a conversation at the end of it all! (I have done it without Badger just me and kids – From home to north of Inverness in a day, nearly 600 miles!)
I think planning is the key, so start with a list and stick to it!
1. Understand the basic workings of your car – oil and water levels – tyre pressures and wheel changing – fuel tank capacity etc. If you don’t know girls how to put oil and water in the engine and air in the tyres – hang your heads in shame! We are women of the 21st century and need to know this stuff! Don’t rely on someone else – you may be disappointed!
2. Check all the afore mentioned before you pack the car – emptying the boot to pump up the spare tyre in the middle of the petrol station forecourt can be a little embarrassing! Especially if one of the kids slips their straps and locks you out of the car in the process – and don’t ask how I know about that!
3. Buy the kids a cheap map or map book. make them feel that they are part of the journey talk over with them before hand where you’re going and where you plan to stop for a break. If they’re old enough to understand they can be a second pair of eyes on the journey and even if they’re too little to really get it, at least they feel included.
4. Start out early. Our long hauls to Scotland start at about 4a.m. Pack the car the night before and go to bed early. With the children still asleep in the back still in their pj’s you can get a fair distance down the road before they notice how boring car journeys are. So pack a bag with comfy travelling clothes change into and toothbrushes, wet wipes etc , and the rest of the journey is like the beginning of the day for them – much less stressful!
5. Pick a break at somewhere exciting. Motorway services can be dull old places, so maybe go for a lunch time stop with a castle, playground or open space to run off some pent up energy.
6. Pick where you eat. The cost of motorway meals and fuel can be hideous, so google map the route and consider going off the road to a local supermarket. You can usually eat for a lot less (and often better quality) as well as saving a lot on your fuel bill if you need to top up.
7. Always give yourself more time than you need and then add a bit more! A stressed mummy worrying about being late can make the trip unpleasant for everyone. If you’re running ahead of time then you can afford to make an extra stop or or make the planned ones longer.
8. Enjoy it! Driving doesn’t have to be a chore! If you learn to enjoy the drive, it always makes the journey shorter! Freedom, music playing and the scenery passing by your windows can be fun – I love it! If you can make the journey part of the excitement of the holiday they tend to go with much less rowing from the back seat. So crank up the radio, everyone sing they hearts out (especially good for avoiding traffic jam stress and entertaining other drivers around you!) and embrace the joy of traveling!
This post is in collaboration with clickontyres.co.uk
Image courtesy of flickr.com – GSofV