It’s the most wonderful time of the year to plan a Christmas trip, and we want you to get the most out of your journey. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of 10 things to bear in mind before you start your engine, so that you don’t have to worry about a thing once you set off. 

Get excited for Christmas and prepare for your trip with the help of this article. 

 

Know Your Destination

Whether you’re heading to your family home or someone else’s for the holiday season, you probably have a destination in mind this Christmas - but do you actually know how to get there? It may have been a while since you last visited, so it is always worth familiarising yourself with the route in the days leading up to your trip. Look the route up online and take helpful notes if you need to. You should also keep a physical map in the car in case your phone dies, and keep a torch to hand so that you can actually see it when it gets dark. You may wish to invest in Sat Nav software if you don’t currently have this. 

If you do not like driving in the dark or your drive is particularly long, you may want to plan out possible stops along the way. Make sure you check the availability of hotels on your route so that you don’t get caught out. Likewise, if you have any last minute shopping still to do, then make sure you factor in these stops into your journey plan. 

Remember, you are probably not the only one driving home for Christmas, so knowing where you’re going and possible alternative routes you can take can help you keep a level head whilst stuck in stress-inducing traffic or experiencing diversions. 

 

Check The Weather Forecast

Snow-covered road

The weather in the UK can be unpredictable at the best of times, never mind in winter. You should check the weather forecast in the run up to your trip so that you know what to expect - if the weather is particularly bad then you may want to consider delaying the journey until it has brightened up. It may also be worth setting off earlier to take any sudden surprises into account. 

In case of any potential torrential downpours, you should check that your tyres are up to the job so that you can avoid aquaplaning. You should check your tyre pressure in preparation for your trip, and it may even be worth considering opting for winter tyres when the temperature drops below 7°C towards the end of the year. Make sure that your tyres are properly inflated, so that you can drive with confidence.

 

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Drive Safely

Whilst you may be desperate to get to your destination and start the celebrations, remember to drive safely so that you get there safely! Driving in snowy or icy conditions can make even the most capable driver nervous, so take your time - you’ll be there soon enough. It may be a good idea to let someone know when you are setting off as well, so that they will know when to expect you.

It is also important to consider your return trip - if you have been drinking the night before, it may be sensible to wait until the afternoon or evening of the next day before setting off again. 

If you are travelling with young passengers or pets, perhaps do a test run in the days leading up to the trip, so that you can keep your family safe during the drive. Make sure that there is enough room for everyone, and that all car seats, seatbelts and pet cages are easy to secure. 

 

Remember to Pack The Emergency Winter Car Kit

You may not want to think about what can go wrong - Christmas is a happy time of year after all - but it always pays to think ahead. One of the best ways that you can prepare for any eventuality is by assembling an emergency winter car kit. This handmade kit will have everything you need in the event of an emergency. Items such as food, water, tools, and blankets can all be of use.

If you keep the kit in your car all-year round, then you will be less likely to forget it in the run up to your trip. 

Remember and charge your phone as you drive by plugging your charger into a USB port, so that you have it to hand in case you need to call for assistance - and have physical notes of any numbers you might need nearby. 

 

Make a List…and Check It Twice

You don’t want to spend Christmas dinner wondering if you’ve locked the front door. When you make a list and check things off as you go, you can put these worries at ease - and have physical confirmation right in front of you which you can check whenever something comes to mind. You can also take photos of anything you want to remember having done, and have photos as proof that you have everything you could possibly need packed before setting off - such as presents, electronics, clothing, and toiletries. 

So, fully charge your phone, make sure you remember your emergency car kit, and get ready to get into the Christmas spirit. 

 

Fill Up on Fluids

It can be easy to forget in the last-minute rush to get things done that you may be in need of fuel for the journey. Whether you need petrol or diesel, remember to fill up your car in preparation for the trip.

Likewise, if you own an electric vehicle, then make sure that you charge the car the night before you set off, and are aware of public charging points along your route that you can turn to should you need them. 

 

Give Your Car a Christmas Clean

When driving in the low winter sun, visibility can be a real issue. Aside from keeping sunglasses in your car, it can help to give your windscreen a good clean so that you can see where you’re going. Using glass cleaner or white vinegar, you can polish your windows and get them shining in no time. If you want to give your car’s exterior a good clean, then remember and clean the wheels, number plate and headlights too. 

Now is as good a time as any to prep the car for any additional family members you may need to transport. So throw out the rubbish that has been accumulating in the backseat and give your car a good hoover - even a quick 10 minutes on this can make a real difference. 

 

Buckle Up

It goes without saying that you and your passengers should be wearing a seatbelt whilst in the car, but what about those presents? Make sure that you store them properly and out of view. By keeping presents in the boot, you can cover them and wrap them up so that they are padded and therefore less likely to be damaged during the trip. You may want to consider placing your items in bin bags rather than boxes to give yourself more boot space. 

On a similar note, try and pack only what you actually need to bring - this can give you more space in the car for gifts you may be lucky enough to receive, and will take unnecessary strain off of your tyres. Place heavier belongings at the bottom of your boot and in the centre, with lighter items on the top. 

 

Christmas Car Carols

No matter what kind of music you normally listen to, there’s only one time a year when you can officially listen to festive Christmas music. Whether you plug your phone in or use a CD, make sure you remember to pack whatever music you’ll need to keep you going on your trip. You might even want to create your own playlist - perhaps the same length of time as your journey - to get yourself excited for the trip!

Just remember to drive safely - don’t have the music too loud, and keep your eyes and ears on the road at all times. 

If you have kids, you may also want to pack books and toys to keep them entertained over the course of the drive. 

 

Make Sure Your Car Is Ready For Winter

Christmas Car with Tree

In the days before your journey, you should check that various components of your car are working as they should, and give yourself enough time to book in for a service if you think your car may need one. Some components you should check include fluids, lights, and windows.

The best way that you can get your car ready for winter is by booking in for a winter health check, so that you can drive with confidence this Christmas. 

 

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Christmas may not be your favourite time of year - and that’s okay too. Whether you make the most of the season by yourself - maybe you would rather curl up with a good book - or with friends and family, you can enjoy this holiday however you wish.