We’re very lucky in Britain that we never really have to drive far to be somewhere new or find something interesting. The place is very compact, which in some ways makes it a far better place to take a road trip than many sprawling countries like Australia and the US where you can drive for hours without seeing anything but road and desert. That’s why I firmly believe that taking a road trip is one of the very best ways to take in all that Britain has to offer.
If you’re planning on taking a road trip around Britain now or in the future, you’re sure to see lots of breathtaking natural landscapes and quirky architectural designs, but unless you read the following British road trip survival tips, you might experience some discomforts and disasters along the way too – don’t let that happen and read on.
Get your car checked over
Whether you’re taking your trip in a brand new Volkswagen Golf or a clapped out old VW camper, it’s sensible to have your car checked over by a mechanic before you set off, especially if it hasn’t been looked at in a while. The last thing you want is for your car to break down on the hard shoulder of the motorway and be stranded there for several hours – that’s the kind of thing that can really put a dampener on your holiday.
If you know your way around a car, you may be able to do your checks yourself. Focus on ensuring the motor oil is at a good level, that your tyres are properly inflated and your brakes and windshield wipers are all working optimally. Although these checks won’t ensure that you don’t breakdown or get into an accident, they will certainly make it much less likely.
Join the AA
Joining the AA, or a similar recovery service is also a smart move. During your British road trip, you’re going to be spending a lot more time in your car than usual and travelling way further from home than you routinely would. It’s good peace of mind to know that if the worst does happen and you do breakdown, you’ll be able to get quick access to professional help.
Pack a safety kit
Continuing on the theme of “it’s good to be prepared” you should always pack a first aid kit, spare tyre and car repair tools, torch and warm blankets when you’re heading out on a road trip. Most trips go without a hitch, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll be glad of putting the preparation time in.
As well as packing everything you need to be safe, if you want your road trip to be as amazing as it can possibly be, you’re also going to want to pack a cool box and fill it with, most importantly, lots fo water, but also lots of delicious snacks to keep you going.
From healthy trail mix to traditional scotch eggs and pork pies, ensure that you pack s many treats for you and your passengers as you can manage. As well as making the trip more enjoyable, it will mean that you don’t have to stop quite so often to eat too, so you can pack more into your trip.
Plan your itinerary
Although one of the joys of taking a road trip is the ease in which you can go off-piste and explore whatever takes your fancy, it’s still sensible to plan a loose itinerary. Doing so will ensure that you can fit in all of the big attractions you want to see, and you can give a copy to friends and family so they will always know where you are should they need to get in touch with you quickly or in the event that something goes terribly wrong.
Planning your itinerary will also enable you to book hotel or B&B rooms in advance, which means you won’t have to worry about looking around for a place to stay when you’re dog tired from all of the driving and exploring you’re sure to be doing.
Create an amazing road trip playlist
Road trips and great music go hand in hand, but when you’re road tripping around Britain, you can use music to enhance your experience even further. You see, here in Britain, we have a great musical history and many areas of the UK are associated with very specific sound such as Liverpool and it’s Mersey Beat connections or Manchester and the whole Madchester scene. If you have an itinerary drawn up, you can work out exactly where you will be at any given time and create a playlist that not only makes the driving easier but which incorporates the culture of the place and the music that was born there.
Know what’s out there
The last thing you want is to be in Salisbury without stopping by Stonehenge or Bushmills without seeing the Giant’s Causeway. So, before you head off on your road trip adventure, be sure to do your research and make yourself aware of all of the most prominent attractions within easy distance of your chosen route. We have so much history and so many cultural attractions in Britain, that there’s no way you can see them all, but you should be able to fit in many of the highlights, and maybe even discover a few hidden gems that match your interest if you do your research.
Use public transport
This might seem like a bit of an unusual suggestion for people planning a road trip, but it could help to make your trip a lot more pleasant. You see, as you will probably know, there are lots of places in the UK – central London in particular, which are highly congested.
If you want to see attractions within these boundaries, it could be a far better idea to park up and take the tube, bus, train or even a taxi, there and back than to try and drive where you’re likely to end up stuck in traffic for an age. Again, this is where pre-planning your journey could come in very handy.
Know your pubs
Knowing where the best pubs are along your route might seem pointless if you’re going to be driving the whole time, but you need to bear in mind that service stations tend not to be the nicest places – with a few obvious exceptions – and they rarely do the best food. Pubs, on the other hand, tend to have a warm welcoming atmosphere (providing your choose wisely) and hearty food to keep you going. Not only that, but the locals often have the best info in hidden gems you should see in the area and big attractions that aren’t worth your time. By stopping off at pubs instead of services, unless you need fuel, of course, you can have a much better journey overall and see a few things you might have missed otherwise.
Play od trip games
If you’re road tripping with friends – which is the best way to do it – planing a few road trip games you can play along the way is a good way to pass the time and stop everyone from getting bored – especially on boring motorway stretches where there isn’t much in the way of scenery.
Games like portable scrabble can be fun, but they don’t often include the driver so you might want to get a bit creative and think of things you can so that will include you all.
Share the driving
You might not put in as many miles travelling the length of Scotland as you would driving across the USA but it can still get pretty tiring, so split the driving equally between you all if you are able to do so. Try to make it so that no one has to drive more than 100 miles and you’ll all be fresh enough to enjoy your hunt for the Loch Ness Monster or that climb up the Old Man of Coniston that much more without fatigue wearing you down.
Take the B-roads
Driving the motorways will get your around faster, but if you want to see more of the beautiful countryside Britain is so well known for and explore the wealth of roadside attractions, quaint little villages and hidden beauty spots that are dotted so liberally around the place, taking a few B-roads is the way to go.
It’s great because, if you haven’t driven them before, you’ll discover lots of fo new and exciting things and have far better tales to tell when you get back home too. You’ll also have a more scenic trip, which is not to be sniffed at either.
This may seek like a lot to take in, but really it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to plan your itinerary and ensure that you’ve done all the prep you need to do to make your road trip amazing, and it will be so worth it when you have the best time ever right here in Britain.