Road Trip Checklist

Some road trips are a bigger deal than others. If you’re only heading around the corner to the shops that’s one thing, if you’re embarking on a long journey – or a trip to the continent, perhaps in the winter, that’s a different story altogether.

On significant trips it makes a lot of sense to be prepared. That means making sure your car is prepared, and that you’re taking things with you that you might need.

Preparing your car for a trip

If you’re embarking on a long journey and you have any concern over your car’s condition, it would be a good idea to get a mechanic to service the vehicle before you go. That way you’d have some peace of mind that things are in good working order.

Otherwise, our list here gives you a few things you should consider checking before you set off:

  • Make sure your owners handbook / manual is in the car and handily placed. The manual contains a load of useful information that you might need if you encounter a problem.
  • Check your oil. Make sure the car is parked on a level surface and then check the dipstick. The oil level should be close to the FULL level on the dipstick.
  • Check your engine coolant and windscreen wash containers. Make sure that both are filled to the correct levels with the right mixture of water and antifreeze.
  • Check your battery. It shouldn’t look corroded at all. Make sure your car starts easily and doesn’t crank slowly or take some time to fire. If you’ve had the battery for a while, it may need replacing.
  • Make sure all your lights work as they should, and that they’re clean.
  • Check your windscreen wipers for any signs of wear and replace them if you need to.
  • Make sure your tyres are inflated to the right pressure and that they have sufficient tread. When you’ve checked the four tyres on the car wheels, check the spare too – you don’t want to find that it’s not inflated if you had need to use it. 

Things to take with you

There are a few things you may want to consider taking with you on a long journey. They could help in the event that something goes wrong.

  • If you’re travelling in an evening or during cold weather, have some spare warm clothes that you could use should you need to leave the vehicle. A raincoat and pair of wellies could also come in useful if the weather is bad.
  • Being able to see in the dark is a big help if your car experiences issues. Therefore, having a torch in the car is a good idea. Make sure the batteries are fresh and that you take spares just in case.
  • If you do breakdown, a high visibility vest or jacket and hazard triangle are useful items to have in the car. In the event that you breakdown, being visible to other motorists is really important for your safety.
  • Pack some food and drink for the journey. Delays can happen on long journeys and if you find yourself stuck, you’ll be thankful for something to eat and drink.

Driving Abroad

If you’re planning to drive on the continent, there are some things that you need to carry with you that are not compulsory in the UK. Failure to have them in your vehicle could land you with a heavy fine.

In France and Germany you must carry reflective jackets for each occupant of the car. They should also be stored in the vehicle so you can access them quickly and easily. You must also carry a hazard triangle that we mentioned earlier. Your car must also display a GB sticker or have a number plate with GB on it. In Germany you are also required to carry a first aid kit.

In Spain and Italy, the rules are similar to France and Germany although reflective jackets are not mandatory to carry with you. That said, if you’re on the road or hard shoulder without one, you could be fined.

In Belgium, reflective jackets must be worn if you breakdown. A warning triangle is compulsory and, if you’re driving a Belgian registered car, so too is a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. The latter two items are not compulsory if you take your UK registered car into Belgium.

For more information on both road trips in the UK and Europe, why not take a look at our Great British Getaway?

Comparing breakdown cover

Perhaps one of the most useful items to take with you on long journeys is your breakdown cover! It can be arranged quickly and easily and can be extended to cover you for trips abroad. We make comparing the types and cost of breakdown cover really simple. Try it today and get yourself some peace of mind.