We undoubtedly live in unprecedented times. I know that because we’ve been told it every day for the last three months during this lockdown period.
What is for sure is that people are already starting to look for this new normal and for most people that could be any one of a number of things. It could be getting the kids back to school, or getting back to work full time without the furlough system hanging over your head. Others will see a holiday abroad as the most important issue to address, especially after spending so much time in lockdown after the Coronacoaster has come to a halt and let everyone off.
Then, of course, there are those people that are looking forward to the simple things returning … no queues at the supermarkets, getting within two meters of each other or even the price of black market toilet rolls returning to normal.
But for the moment let’s focus on the concept of the holiday abroad. Some people may well be rushing to book flights but no one really knows what that’s going look like. Are airports going to be open properly, will we be able to hire a car when we get there and what happens if the bars and restaurants aren’t open … disaster all round.
This is exactly why the UK is expecting to see a massive surge in the staycation holidays this year. Brits are clearly getting ready to favor the more traditional home-grown holiday which means the majority of A-roads are soon going to be clogged up, service stations will have the queue out the door and our own wonderful beaches will be as busy as … well, a Bournemouth beach in June as we saw very recently.
So now that the lockdown has started to ease and proper domestic car travel is now allowed (obviously that was lifted much earlier for some people who were driving to see castles in Durham) we can now get ready for the old school, family car trip. So to help you prepare yourself and the family for the upcoming journey here are 6 great tips to make it just a little bit better.
The Bathroom break
Make sure that everyone visits the bathroom before leaving the house. Everyone knows that it’s human nature to need a bathroom stop every three to four hours which is fine. However, if there’s an unscheduled stop within the first 20 mins then the chances are you’re going to have to make another one before you arrive at your destination, losing precious staycation time at the other end. Make sure they go beforehand.
Knowledge is everything
Know where you’re going. It’s estimated that arguments over car directions are up there with arguments over money as the top reason for falling out with your adult partner. Take our advice and get hold of a Satnav. They’re easy to use, inexpensive, and will save a tremendous amount on divorce lawyers further down the line.
This isn’t just the old boy scout mantra, this is about anticipating things before they happen and one of the other main reason for having a stop is for a refreshment break. OK, now we all accept the one-stop, especially if it coincides with the bathroom break but let’s keep it to just the one because otherwise, the journey will take forever. With that in mind get yourself a Red Original Cooler bag and make sure it’s filled up with everything you might need.
A bit of foresight
Check your route in advance. This is an easy one and although your Satnav will undoubtedly help with route suggestions and traffic issues, there’s no real substitute for having a good idea of where you’re going already in your head or a contingency plan if the traffic gets too tricky. Our suggestion is that you check out the route just before you leave using the handy RAC route planner. There’s even a very useful mobile app.
Back in the day where we were kids, we’d be very happy with a game of eye spy or even pub cricket if you were feeling sporty but we do accept that things have changed and we now live in a very modern, technologically driven world. Ipad’s, phones and screens in cars are always a great way to keep the kids happy in the car. Just make sure you remember a charger because if you don’t your heading for a hissy fit within 30 mins of the journey starts. Also, make sure you have some headphones as there’s nothing worse than three different devices all making different noise at the very same time.
Don’t get stuffed
It’s a simple one but how often have you filled the back of the car with so much stuff that you can’t see out. Yes it’s dangerous and yes it slows the car down and reduces MPG but the worst crime of all is that you’ll never need that much stuff anyway … you’re only there for a week and we’re pretty sure that they’ll be a kitchen sink wherever you’re going. So do yourself a favor and be reasonably frugal with what you take and if you have left something vital behind, then chances are you’ll be able to get a replacement wherever you’re going.
Car journeys in the UK can be a thing of beauty, a chance for families to reconnect and for everyone to enjoy the wonderful countryside that Britain has to offer. Plus at the end of every car journey is an opportunity to relax and take it easy before returning to normal life … whatever that is these days.
So with all that in mind, please make sure that you travel safely and peacefully and that you arrive at your destination happy and ready for your staycation and don’t panic, your holiday abroad will no doubt be back next year so you probably won’t have to put up with this for long.