The UK is home to some of the most beautiful, breathtaking, and idyllic destinations in the world. Awash with vast mountain ranges and a host of sandy beaches, it should come as no surprise that holidaymakers are beginning to exchange the week abroad for a ‘staycation’ here in the Costa del Britain. Considering you can drive from the most northerly point on the mainland, to the most southernly, in approximately 14 hours, why would one not? Before setting off, however, we suggest taking heed of the following tips in regard to preparing your car.
Under the hood
Carrying out basic checks on the engine is important prior to any journey, however, if you’re intending on embarking on a Christopher Columbus style trek, then it is utterly crucial. Grab a bit of kitchen roll, pull out your engine’s dip stick, wipe away the oil, and re-dip it to check your levels. If you’re running low, top it up. Most of us will ever only venture under the bonnet as soon as something goes wrong e.g. a Vesuvius-like cloud bellowing from the engine. Despite an exact timescale of how often you should check your oil not existing, experts suggest if you’re a regular driver, you should check it at least once a month. Let your oil run too low, or use the wrong one, and you could be looking at serious damage to your car’s components.
When you consider the fact your tyres are the only component of your vehicle that are continual contact with the road, then you begin to understand their sheer importance in terms of safety. Automotive testing has found that an underinflated tyre can increase your fuel consumption by around five percent. So not only will your fuel bill be much heftier that it should be, you’re also doing more damage to the environment.
Nobody wants to be parked up at the side of the motorway, less than an hour into their journey, with a catastrophic blow out. Not only does it put you at a serious risk of crashing and causing detrimental harm to other road users, it’s a nightmare to get fixed and is likely to damage the rim. Handling levels are massively affected by tyres that are underinflated as well, with stopping distances increased and steering taking a similar knock. A car tyre inflator is easily stored in the boot, taking up limited space and will seem like a priceless purchase when you’re stood on the hard shoulder.
In recent years, the standard spare wheel in the boot, has become a lesser known entity. Marketed as a space saver, most car manufactures in recent years have opted out of providing consumers with a full-size spare wheel, and in its place, you will find tyre sealant foam. Be comfortable that you know how to use it before heading off into the abyss, and if it’s a spare wheel, learn how to use a jack.
Clean as a whistle
It isn’t only weather extreme conditions which can affect visibility when driving – a buildup of dirt on the windscreen can become particularly hazardous. Therefore, ensure you have your washer bottles topped up. Country roads that lead to some of the nicest camp sites are also used on a daily basis by tractors and other farm machinery, which are likely to spray muck over the roads. Following Google maps can be tricky enough, never mind having to do so with darkened out, dirt covered windows.
And for yourself…
Of course, the car isn’t the only thing that needs taken care of before a trip – you need to think about yourself too. Due to the fact the radio can become ridiculously repetitive, it may be worth considering setting yourself up with a lengthy playlist to help you on your way. If you fancy a few laughs along the way, a nice addition to Spotify as of late is the Best of British Comedy playlist, which includes a range of excerpts from stand-up shows and BBC series Mock the Week.
Motorway service stations can often cost a metaphorical arm and a leg in exchange for a ploughman’s sandwich; therefore, we strongly advise packing the cool bag with a host of snacks that will fuel you on the journey. It’s important that you don’t overlook drinks either – remember to take plenty of cold and hot drinks such as water and organic coffee to keep you hydrated on your trip.
In the past few years, the popularity of the staycation has increased tenfold here in the UK. With hundreds of scenic campsites, glamping pods, and even the astronomic rise in Airbnbs helping ensure that staying at home is just as good as going abroad.
Photographs courtesy of motorverso.com