As we prepare for a jolly – or not so jolly, social – or not so social, Christmas, it can be tempting to leave making travel plans until the last minute. You may not have any firm plans at the moment, but if there is a chance that you will be taking a road trip this Christmas, it is a good idea to think ahead as this year it might not be so easy to act upon impulse. Here are some tips for stress-free travel (or just staying at home with peace of mind).
Know your route
At any time of year and under any circumstances, if you are planning a long trip it always pays to plan your route so that you can factor in stops and comfort breaks along the way. This has never been more important; don’t just assume that it will be business as usual for the little garage, café or refreshments van that you usually go to for fuel, supplies or lunch. If you know that amenities are few and far between, call ahead to check opening hours to ensure that you are not left out in the cold.
In these uncertain times it can be hard to predict what will happen. Service stations and road stops may be completely empty, or they could be packed with people heading home for Christmas. One thing is for sure, with only a set period of time during which people are permitted to travel to and from each other’s homes, there is every chance that roads will be busier than ever and service stations will be heaving with mask-clad folk heading home for the festive period. To avoid the crowds, fill up on fuel before you go and take food and drink (but not too much drink) with you. Also, assume that traffic will be even heavier than usual and time your trip accordingly.
Prepare for emergencies
Breaking down on a road trip is pretty miserable at the best of times. Breaking down over Christmas when it is cold and dark is downright miserable. The best way to prevent this is to ensure your vehicle is fully serviced and safe to drive; if in doubt, check with your local garage before you embark on a big trip. But to be on the safe side, be prepared. Bottled water, candles, blankets and non-perishable snacks can mean the difference between cold, hungry and miserable and just miserable.
Of course, this year, safety is paramount. Take care of your vehicle but most importantly, take care of your health and your loved ones. Have a safe, sparkling Christmas full of festive cheer, and follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter for tips and advice for vehicle owners throughout 2021.