You don’t have to fly to a tropical destination to have a fabulous break this summer. Driving holidays can be a cost effective solution for those on a budget and they have the added bonus of being family friendly.

road trip in Europe

Service Your Vehicle

Before you leave, it’s essential that your car is in optimum condition. The oil, water and other fluids should be checked and the tyres inspected to ensure that they are in good shape. Keep your petrol tank filled at all times, just in case you end up driving for long stretches between gas stations. Make sure that you have adequate breakdown coverage from a reputable provider like Breakdown Direct, and up-to-date car insurance.

Plan Ahead

Even if you prefer to keep your options open on holiday and take each day as it comes, it’s better to plan your accommodation in advance rather than to turn up at hotels and guest houses with your fingers crossed. Take a list of phone numbers with you, so you can contact your accommodation if you’re set to arrive later than expected.

Don’t Rely on Technology

That sleek new SatNav won’t always be your best friend on a driving holiday. Technology breaks down and runs out of battery, so make sure that you have an old fashioned paper map on hand. SatNavs can also send drivers down inappropriate routes or dead ends due to system malfunctions. You don’t want to be stranded in an unknown area without any means of finding your way. It’s essential, however, that you have a charged mobile phone on you at all times and a charger that you can use in the car, in case of emergencies.

Keep the Kids Busy

There are plenty of ways to banish boredom for children while you’re on the road. Consider getting a couple of story-telling CDs to keep them entertained, or splashing out on a portable DVD player. Films, TV programmes and handheld games consoles are guaranteed to keep the kids quiet for hours. You can also take a less technological approach and provide your children with puzzle books, colouring books and their favourite stuffed toys. Having a little bag of small presents to give out for good behaviour is another option for small children.

Driving Abroad

When driving abroad, it’s essential that you hold an International Insurance Certificate or Green Card as this gives you proof or minimum insurance. Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road and speed limits in the country you’re driving in. It’s also important to check whether your vehicle complies with the requirements of the country you’re visiting. In Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia and Austria, for example, you must carry reflective jackets in your car in case of a breakdown or other emergency.