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Five tips to help you endure long car journeys

Driving a car

Whether you’re off to your favourite festival or on a family holiday this summer, it’s likely you’ll be enduring a long car journey.

To save your sanity, Martin Cariven of car finance specialist Moneybarn has put together his five top tips to prepare you for the hours on the road.

1) Before you set off

Preparation is key to setting off on a long journey, so make sure your car is in tip-top condition to prevent a breakdown. Be sure to check the tyre pressure, coolant, engine oil, windscreen washer and lights, as these can cause problems if not checked correctly.

Keep a spare phone charger in your car so you won’t risk being stranded if your mobile runs out of battery. It’s also worth having a couple of torches, basic car-servicing tools and a spare wheel in the boot.

Check with your insurance if you’re covered for breakdown recovery and bring a copy of your insurance, should you need to call your insurer.

checking tyre pressure

2) Research your destination

Plan the route you want to take before you start off to give yourself an indication of how long the journey will take. It’s always worth inputting the journey into your sat nav or an app such as Google Maps or Waze, which will give live updates of traffic. Park or pull over in a safe place to use these devices as not only is it dangerous, it’s illegal to use them while on-the-go.

If driving alone, set a limit to how many hours you’ll drive each day and stick to it. However, if driving in a group it’s a good idea to add multiple drivers onto the insurance and split the miles.

3) Snacks

You won’t want to keep stopping every time someone is hungry or thirsty, so make sure you have plenty of delicious snacks to keep those in the car going in between stops. Treat yourself and take a few luxuries you wouldn’t normally have on a day-to-day basis, to keep the journey as pleasant as possible.

To ensure you don’t end up with big peaks and crashes in your tiredness levels, avoid caffeine and opt for drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Motorway services

4) Rest

The longer the drive between stops, the longer the resting period should be. For example, you may prefer to stop for 10-15 minutes every couple of hours, rather than taking longer breaks less frequently.

However, consider your passenger’s needs, particularly children. Make sure you stretch your legs and take in the fresh air during stops, so your legs don’t cramp during long intervals of driving.

5) Top tips for kids

Trying to keep your children entertained and settled throughout the journey is tough, but having a few fail-safe tricks up your sleeve should help.

If possible, try to travel at night so the kids can sleep throughout the majority of the journey. If a day-time drive is inevitable, always carry treats to distract them and use as a bargaining tool to keep the noise down.

In-car DVD players or tablets can be a life-saver, so make sure they’re fully charged and bring an in-car charger. Create travel packs for each child that include a few toys, food and drinks and a magazine to keep them busy.

Above all, have fun during your road trip. Take the off-motorway route and enjoy the sights you pass along the way. Play in-car games, listen to your favourite music and enjoy the company of your passengers.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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