10 things to do before you leave for your road trip

This is a collaborative post for the #RoadTripsofEurope Campaign

10 things to do before you leave for your road trip: When it comes to holidays we are generally are not lying by the pool or on the beach for days on end people. Although since having children we are now going on holidays which tend to involve more of that. We still prefer to include a good amount of sight seeing. Which inevitably means that we need a car. Over the years we have done a number of road trips in Europe

Our first was a three week tour of Italy for our honeymoon. We started in Venice and ended up in Rome. We had an amazing time driving the crazy roads of Italy. Some of the highlights included the five lanes of traffic in the centre of Florence that went down to one! Driving up the side of a mountain to avoid a forest fire on the way back to the Castelio we were staying in.  And three point turns in the pitch black – the only way to get to one of the places we were staying in was to do three point turns on a dirt track to get round the corners. The sat nav got rather confused a number of times.

The first time we took Monkey on a road trip was when we decided to drive the thirteen hours across Europe to stay on Lake Como. He was fifteen months old at the time and a lot of our friends thought we were slightly mad. We broke the drive up by staying in a hotel in Germany on the way there and way back. The service stations along our route had plenty of open spaces and play areas. Which meant Monkey got a lot of opportunities to stretch his legs. Travelling by car also meant I had the boot space to fill up with all the stuff I needed for a young toddler. The thought of trying to pack that amount of stuff to go on a plane filled me with dread. It also gave us the flexibility to look at alternative accommodation options because we could take everything with us – including stair gates! We drove through five countries and Hubby was quite impressed by the fact that we also drove through part of the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. This is now the longest tunnel in Europe only being finished in 2016. Although it was 2014 when we drove through part of it. Incase your wondering, on the way back Hubby thought it would be a great idea to drive over the alps. Never again!

Last year we visited Eurocamp and drove twelve hours down to Bordeaux for May half term. Even now Monkey is that bit older and Harry is still tiny it was by far the easiest way to travel. Again giving me the flexibility to pack everything we would need and sharing the driving meant that it wasn’t too onerous. The only thing which we found mildly entertaining was the fact that we couldn’t get the tolls to pick up our little pre purchased tag. Something we will pay more attentions to when we go to the Riverina this May half term.

This time we are staying in Paris on the way down and then Burgundy on the way back up which will break the driving up and give us the flexibility we need. I am really looking forward to our little adventure, but before we go we need to make sure we are prepared for the journey.

10 things to do before you leave for your road trip:

  • Know the route – having not travelled down to the South of France before we need to plan which motorways and toll roads we will use.
  • Update the sat nav – our car has a built in sat nav so we are lucky that it will help us navigate our route. It will still require a little bit of an update before we leave
  • Buy a toll tag – we used one of these last year and intend on doing the same again. It means that we can pay for the tolls all at once when we return and makes life easier the scrambling around for euros or our bank card as we enter and leave.
  • Check the tyres – pop down to our local Kwik Fit to make sure the car tyres are suitable for our journey
  • Stock up on snacks – for the journey for the kids
  • Charge up the tablets – so that we can play movies to keep them entertained. Plus pack some small games and toys for the back of the car
  • Ensure we have the required saftey kit – different European countries will have different requirements such an needing a high vis jacket for each of your party. We will have most of the things we need from last year but I will be checking  The AA website just to make sure
  • Pack an overnight bag – since we planning on breaking the trip up by staying overnight in two different locations. I will have one bag that will contain all we need for that night. It will save having to unpack the car completely at each stop.
  • Check the documents – we will both need to make sure we remember our driving licences and also ensure the car insurance covers us for Europe. From memory in order to ensure I can take my car abroad I need to get an additional certificate which I want to do well in advance.
  • Pre Book the Euro Tunnel – we always opt for a Flexi ticket as although its easy to know what time we are likely to want to catch the train over. Coming back can be a bit of a guess. So by having an open ticket it means that it takes the stress away incase we get caught in traffic on the way to the station.

Have you been on a road trip recently? What are your top tips?

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22 Comments

  1. Ashleigh Allan
    January 29, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    Lots of good tips

  2. January 29, 2018 / 10:54 pm

    Great tips – charging of the tablets is #1 for me! #GeekLife

  3. January 31, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Yes – update the Satnav – there is nothing more stressful that not knowing where your going when the Satnav is telling you to go down a road that isn’t there! Looks like you had a lovely time #BloggersClubUK

  4. January 31, 2018 / 9:54 am

    Great tips here, we went to Italy for our honeymoon too! I would love to return to Rome, it’s incredible! We took our toddler on a France road trip 18 months ago. I was heavily pregnant so was thoroughly uncomfortable – I wouldn’t recommend it. However I would say picking your hotel wisely so you find a comfy and child-friendly one is essential as is mapping out your route in great detail. Don’t leave anything to chance! #bloggerclubuk

  5. January 31, 2018 / 10:30 am

    The furthest road trip we took was from Reading to Carlisle to visit my grandparents but the kids are so bored in the car, I find it so exhausting so prefer shorter trips like down to Bournemouth etc. Less moaning and theyre so tired out on the way home that they sleep 😀

    #BloggerClubUK
    Shevy

  6. January 31, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    I had no idea about the safety kit requirements for other countries! Will definitely remember that one if/when we decide to go on a road trip abroad. #BloggerClubUK

  7. January 31, 2018 / 2:25 pm

    When we used to travel by car we would have a small goodie bag with some small toy that the kids would get every hour. Could be some sort of fidget toy or something. We spent less than $20 each but were surprised by the amount of backseat playtime it provided. #bloggerclubuk

  8. January 31, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Fantastic tips – I really fancy organising a road trip to France with my family, as we’ve not been in a long time 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  9. January 31, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Great post and great tips. We love road trips! I’m just starting to plan a big one for 2019. I like to have a few trips in the pipeline! #Bloggerclubuk

  10. February 1, 2018 / 10:51 am

    These are great tips. We have never done a road trip but would love to go around Europe one day. Sadly hubby is a beach for days kind of person… I would much rather a city break.

  11. February 1, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    The furthest we have driven with H is from North Wales to Cornwall. Driving would be great if it wasn’t for the other road users. We set off in the evening and because we were towing the van we parked up part way down and stopped for a sleep to break it up. Had to plan it all ion advance to know where to stop. Preparation is key. Thanks for the tips #BloggerClubUK

  12. February 1, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    So important to follow your tips – checking documents is so vital! We much prefer road trips & sight seeing to sitting by a pool 🙂 x

  13. February 1, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    We always forget to charge up the tablets, they are what save us from a raging toddler.

  14. February 1, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    It sounds like you’re like us, we don’t like to stay in one place “doing nothing” for long. We’d be bored after an hour or two! We haven’t driven around Europe yet, but we did drive around Tenerife a few years ago. It was a good trip. 🙂
    #BloggerClubUK

  15. February 1, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    These are some great tips. The furthest I’ve driven to is Wales, and these are very true! Especially about checking my tyres and oil!

  16. February 2, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Great tips. We haven’t done a big road trip with the children yet, however, I would love to do a Eurocamp type holiday in the next few years so these are really useful tips x

  17. February 2, 2018 / 7:26 pm

    Great advice! We haven’t done a big trip with the 5 kids yet… I would love to but not yet! Haha. I also can’t go ANYWHERE without planning my route!

  18. February 3, 2018 / 9:14 am

    This came at just the right time! my husband and I have been debating whether to drive to France for our next holiday. I was a bit apprehensive but you’ve reassured me it can be done! I love the idea of driving through all those European cities.

  19. February 3, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    Wow you guys are very adventurous! I definitely agree about pumping the tyres and checking all your docs! #BloggerClubUK

  20. February 5, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Great tips here Clare. Packing the car whilst thinking ahead what you are going to need to prevent having to drag it all out is an essential!!

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