Here’s the right way to roadtrip with the family

One of the best ways to treat your family over the holiday season is to set out on a roadtrip. Of course, there’s a bit of administration involved but hitting the open road is an excellent way to destress and enjoy some down time together.

There’s a fair amount of preparation needed before you get going

You’ve likely mapped out the route to your destination and booked your accommodation so you don’t end up sleeping in the car. But if you’re travelling with your kids, you need to pay extra attention to mitigating risks. You need to plan for bathroom stops along the way and make sure you have some onboard entertainment such as movies downloaded on a tablet.

A road trip with your children is vastly different from that time you spontaneously floored it down Route 62, with your best mates, just for fun. This time around you need to make sure that everyone is always safe, comfortable and happy.

Make sure your car is given the nod of approval

A car is a great responsibility in general. But when you’re planning a roadtrip, you need to make extra sure that your vehicle has been checked out. Send it in for a major service before departing, if possible. If a service can’t be done then at least make sure you know the condition of your tyres, brake pads, air and oil filters, and check out all of the weak points you know your car might have. Make sure all of your signal functions, such as indicators and brake lights, are in working order.

And check out your insurance policy. Are you covered for roadside assistance and towing? Essentially, when you’re on the open road you want to have the reassurance that should anything go awry, help will be on its way as soon as possible.

Be a savvy packer

When you head out on the road with your family in tow, you need to pack accordingly. Of course, the basics are necessary but you need to think a little further ahead than normal. While snacks and drinks are crucial, you should also have a safety pack in the vehicle. Not in the boot but inside the vehicle where whatever you might need is accessible. The safety kit should include a flashlight, extra blanket, an emergency reflective triangle and first aid supplies. Always have some extra bottles of water on board, in case of the car overheating.

Make sure that you check your vehicle’s load capacity. This figure includes passengers and luggage, and if you exceed the recommended weight, you’ll find your fuel consumption will increase. If you’re carrying cargo on your roof, then make sure you only pack the lightest stuff up top. If you need to swerve out of the way, because something or someone is on the road, and your car is top heavy, you could roll the vehicle.

Do your road research

You’re not the only one heading out for a road trip this holiday season. This means your travel route will likely include some traffic as you enter towns along your way. However, if you do some internet research and invest in a GPS navigation system, you’ll be able to find alternative routes. Steering clear of congestion and knowing to avoid the N3 means you won’t suffer a delay in your journey. Who knows, the delays might be so bad, you may have time to find a new car among the many used cars in Gauteng.

This is particularly important if you are far from the nearest petrol station and you won’t be able to top up your fuel anytime soon. Also, you’ll miss the tantrums that toddlers tend to throw when stuck in a standstill traffic jam. But most importantly, GPS navigation systems can help direct emergency services to you should you land up in some trouble.

Road tripping is not the easiest holiday you can take but it’s certainly an adventurous one. If this is something you’d like to do regularly, consider investing in a vehicle specifically made for the open road. You don’t have to (and really shouldn’t) purchase a brand new car as a well-looked after, high-quality secondhand vehicle will give you far more bang for your buck.