The Open Road (Guest Post)

Within the past eight months, we've started to make longer car journeys with The Boy, the first was in June when we went down to Winchester for my father-in-laws birthday, the most recent was to west Wales for a weekend break, the longest was to Manchester (eight hours to do 190 miles!) to meet some friends. Trips before last June saw The Boy falling asleep in the car after about thirty minutes and sleeping happily for an hour or so. Then the moment hit when he stopped doing that and just became bored very quickly. Now when we set off, we have a plethora of things we take in order to make the journey more comfortable.

In this guest-post, Sainsbury's bring you some more ideas.

Long Car Journeys: The Ultimate Survival Guide

Not many people relish the thought of spending hours in the car, but there are a few simple tricks that can make long journeys slightly more bearable. After all, the trick to getting through endless hours of driving is good planning, and if you’re well prepared then everything should run smoothly.

Start by checking out your car before you go – and leave plenty of time for a last-minute visit to the garage should you need anything.  Make sure your oil and water is topped up and that you have plenty of washer fluid. Check out those tyres too – not just for wear and tear but for pressure as well.

Next you need to plan your route, not just in terms of directions but also for fuel and comfort stops. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a motorway with miles to the next service station if you’re busting for the loo or running out of fuel, so be prepared and plan your stops in advance.

Remember to get your paperwork up to date. Getting stopped by the police, especially when you’re away from home, can be a stressful experience. Avoid any unnecessary hassle by checking that your car insurance and MOT is in date, and that your insurance covers your needs for the journey.

Be prepared for the worst. Yes, that might sound a little dramatic, but having a few provisions on board is only sensible if you’ve got hours of driving ahead of you. Make sure you’ve got a few pillows handy for passengers to avoid sore necks, pack enough food and water for the journey, have a blanket and a torch ready for emergencies and carry a working mobile phone just in case (but don’t use it while you’re driving).

Make sure you take regular breaks, or swap over with another qualified, insured driver on a regular basis. Driving can be really draining, and just a small lapse of concentration can be potentially fatal on a busy road.  Avoid the risk and stop every few hours, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Ensure that there’s plenty for the kids to do. Bored children can be a nightmare on long journeys, so have plenty of activities planned beforehand. In-car games are always fun, or if you fancy a bit of peace and quite then download some audible stories for them to listen to on their headphones. There are also some great in-car entertainment systems available if you run out of inspiration.

And finally, keep your cool. Long car journeys can be stressful and troublesome. Make sure you’ve got some great music to listen to, or tune in to an interesting radio show. You could even use the time to teach yourself another language with an educational CD! Just try to make the most out of your long journey.

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