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Gemma Louise

April 15, 2019

Driving advice Young driver stories 9 min read

Hi everyone! I’m Gemma & I blog over at www.gemmalouise.co.uk where I share my life with my little boy Reuben. We both love road trips so I thought that I would share some of my tips from the ones that we’ve been on recently…

Plan Ahead

Having an idea of where you’re headed makes things a lot easier. I love spontaneous road trips myself, but even then, I have to have an idea of which direction I’m headed in and a route so that I don’t get lost or end up down a dead end road. If you know where you want to end up, you can plan your route ahead of the journey and it also helps to pop it in your Sat Nav so you don’t get lost! I have made the mistake more than once… I was driving home and wanted to stop somewhere to get a quick outfit photo so I took a random turn and ended up down what didn’t even look like a road… and at someone’s farm gate! Awkward! I had to drive through a lot of random countryside roads to find my way back on to the main one haha…

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Make Sure You’ve Had Plenty of Sleep

Driving is tiring, especially long journeys and we all know how sleepy being in the car can make you, so always make sure you’ve had a good nights sleep the night before your trip. I always find it helps to take a coffee with me too in a travel cup as sipping caffeine whilst on the road keeps me feeling lively. I recently went to Edinburgh and the journey there took us 10 hours in total, we set off super early too so you can imagine how tired I was feeling. It’s handy to have a little road trip buddy too, to keep you chatting away!

Comfy Clothes Are A Must

There’s nothing worse than being sat in the car for hours with a pair of tight skinny jeans on digging into your stomach, always dress comfy – you can change once you get to your destination! I love loose dungaree dresses or leggings and a comfy jumper paired with my vans. Vans and converse are the comfiest shoes for me to drive in, highly recommend. There’s definitely been more than one occasion where I’ve had to unbutton my jeans whilst driving along, especially after stopping for food…

Get Your Car Checked

I actually had a free pothole check on my car before my last road trip to Edinburgh, and it really put my mind at ease regarding my tyres, oil and other things. Knowing that your car is in good shape can help avoid any accidents or stress so it’s a really good idea to pop it to a garage a week or so before you leave. If you’re a bit of an anxious person like me then it just helps you feel a bit more relaxed before you leave. I felt much safer going on a 10 hour drive with my little boy knowing that my car was all good to go.

Take Cash

You never know when you’ll need things like cash to hand, even some tolls don’t accept cards. Always make sure you have a few notes and some coins for an emergency situation too. There’s so many places on the sides of roads that don’t take card, even in this day and age so always draw out some money before your trip. I’ve come across so many toll gates on my travels and it’s super embarrassing holding up the traffic whilst you’re quickly trying to scrounge up some coins… it’s even worse if you don’t have any! I like to keep one of my drink holders up the front filled with a handful of coins for these situations, really handy for always having parking money too.

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Fill The Car With Supplies

You should always be prepared in case of an emergency. I’ve been driving on an empty road at night and my little one has thrown up everywhere – so with little ones, spare clothes, nappies, wipes can be essential in case of unfortunate accidents like that! Other essentials include things like a first aid kit, bottles of water, blankets, screen wash in case you run out, window cleaner and a cloth for the inside of the windscreen. These are all things I’ve needed at one point on my own road trips so even if you don’t think you’ll need them – take them anyway. I once ran out of screen wash and it was such a windy day that I couldn’t even pour it in as it was just blowing all over my engine so I had to empty a bottle of water to be able to squeeze it in… It’s better to be prepared for the inevitable – trust me! It was absolutely freezing that day too and my hands were frozen, so I definitely could have done with a blanket and some gloves!

Spare Tire

If you have a spare tire in your car, make sure it’s in good condition should you need it. I personally don’t have one in my car but I’m thinking about getting one as it’s something I always stress about. If you get one with your car (I didn’t) then make sure it’s in good condition just in case! It’s one of those things that you rarely need but if you were going on a super long trip and would be driving for hours, it would just put you at ease a bit more wouldn’t it… even getting it fitted at a garage, at least you can avoid having to fork out for a new tyre there and then too.

Set Off Nice & Early

If you’re going to be travelling for hours, I find it best to set off at dawn, this way you can avoid driving in the dark and you’ll get to your destination in good time (hopefully before nightfall too) it’s much safer and also means shops and things won’t be closed along the way. The amount of times I’ve been driving home and fancied a cold drink or a coffee and not been able to find anywhere that’s open – absolute nightmare. It’s also annoying for toilet breaks, I just much prefer driving in the daytime all the above reasons.

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Stop To Stretch Your Legs

Again, if you’re on an extremely long trip you should always make sure you stop somewhere at least half way there. Whether you plan ahead where you want to stop or you just find some services, stretching your legs can help break up the journey and leave you feeling refreshed for the next half of your journey. It’s always good to get some food in you too! We usually get something at a service station but in the past my family have taken picnics which is lovely too and saves some money. Reuben and I love our Maccy D’s on our road trips as it’s just so easy and they’re everywhere, but we always like to take lots of snacks and drinks too because then you don’t need to find a service station specifically – you can stop anywhere as long as you can find somewhere to park up safely!

Don’t Forget The Entertainment!

If you’re like me, you can feel pretty bored a couple of hours into a road trip so some podcasts or some good playlists to listen to can help make the time pass quicker. It’s always good to download some films for kids on the iPad too so that they don’t get whiney! Even when we’ve just stopped for a little break in the past, it’s nice to just sit and chill listening to my music whilst you have a rest.

Have you got any road trips planned for the holidays? Let us know!

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Gemma Louise profile

By Gemma Louise

'I'm Gemma, I'm 24 and a full-time blogger and photographer. I'm a solo mama to a two-year-old who is the best little sidekick. I've recently passed my driving test and it's one of the best things I've ever done, the freedom is immense. I love driving!'  See more posts by Gemma

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