Safe, Fun and stress-free. Just how your home move and journey to your new life should be.

Most likely if you are moving to another part of the country, whilst your household items are being safely transported by your removal firm, your journey to your new home will be by car. But long car trips are so boring aren’t they?

As Tom Lichenfield said: A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.

Inevitably the kids will be squabbling, other road users will be driving you mad, you’ll make a few wrong turns and everyone arrives exhausted and grumpy. A great start to your new life in your new home, NOT.

But the journey to your new home does not have to be like that. There are ways to keep busy on a car trip so they are fun and trouble free.

However, this will take no less planning than your home move, and unfortunately, there will be no professional removal company to offer their expertise on this part of the home move.

So, when planning your road trip to arriving in your new home, these tips on how to survive a long car trip we hope will help make your journey safer, more relaxed and above all, fun. We have plenty of games for you to play below.

But before the journey to your new home begins there is plenty to do to make sure you have a safe and stress-free road trip.

Good to read: Tips for Moving House with a Teenager

How to Prepare a Car for a Long Journey

It would be a good idea to have your car serviced at least a few weeks before moving day, that way if there are any repairs to be made you have time to have then done.

There are also some preparations you can do yourself, so here is our checklist for a long car journey.

#1 Tyres

  • Visually inspect the tyres, looking for bulges, cuts or sharp objects like nails embedded in the tread.
  • Check the depth of the tyre tread, it should legally be at least 1.6mm across the middle two-thirds of the entire tyre.
  • Check the tyres air pressure. The recommended tyre pressures for your car are usually found on a label on the edge of the passengers’ door or in the vehicle handbook.
  • Don’t forget to check the spare tyre too
  • Ensure all the wheel changing tools are present and correct, including the wheel nut locking tool if you need one.

#2 Fluids

  • Check the oil level and top up as necessary
  • Check the coolant – especially important if the weather is going to be hot.
  • Top up the windscreen washer bottle as required.
  • It is a good idea to keep bottles of oil, coolant and washer bottle additives in the boot just in case they need a top up during your journey.
  • Have a quick check where the car was last parked to see if there is any evidence of fluid leaks.

#3 Windscreen Wipers

  • Check that they are clean and not ripped or perished.
  • It is a good idea to check the direction of the windscreen washer jets too.

#4 Check the Air Conditioning

  • Turn the air con in the car on, if it blows out ice cold then it is working fine, if not then take it to a garage to be re-gassed.
Rain and traffic
Despite all your preparations and pre-planning, some things you cannot control.

#5 Recommended Safety Equipment for a Long Car Journey

  • Warning Triangle
  • High visibility tabard for every person in the car
  • First Aid Kit
  • Spare bulbs for every light on the vehicle
  • A selection of safety fuses
  • Torch and spare batteries

Don’t forget to take plenty of drinking water and snacks too.

You may be interested in: Self-Drive Removal Vans – Everything you need to know

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How not to get lost on the way to your New Home

It will be worth taking the time to plan the route to your new home, even if you have GPS.

Be sure to set your satnav but have a back-up paper map or printed route in case your satnav loses signal.

If you have the time you may even plan an excursion or two to places of interest en route to your new home.

It is a good idea to produce a route card if you do not have a map reader or satnav and are driving alone.

The best way is to use something like the AA or RAC route planners, print them out, then highlight the major towns or roads, so that you can see them at a glance, rather than scanning through lists of instructions.

You can even have sheets for each part of the journey, say a sheet until your first planned stop, then a sheet for the second leg of your journey.

Then just tape them where they can safely be glanced at as you drive.

The question of how often should you stop on a long road trip is important, especially if you have pets in the car. Plan to make stops at least every couple of hours, plan stops where there is a park or safe area to exercise your pet, or where there is a safe place for you to rest.

How to Pack a Car when Moving Home

Invariably you will end up taking some of your belongings in your own car, things that are prohibited to be moved by the removal company, your moving day essentials box, and highly valuable items for example.

It is important to know how to pack a car correctly as a badly loaded car is not only dangerous to drive but will cause wear and tear to the vehicle itself.

You should also be aware of the correct way to physically load and unload a car as the usual safe lifting techniques do not always apply to getting things in and out of a car.

Everything you need to know about how to pack things for taking in a car, how to pack a car safely, proper lifting techniques for loading a car and other useful information can be found in this article below.

Essential Reading: How to Load a Car for Moving Home

Things to Do In a Car on a Road Trip

One of the biggest problems is knowing how to pass time on a long car journey. But there are plenty of things to do on a long car ride, without resorting to electronic games!

#1 How to Entertain Yourself on a Long Car Journey

  • Play Sweet and Sour: Smile at the passengers in passing cars, if they smile back they are sweet, if not they are sour.
  • Listen to an audiobook or read
  • Listen to music
  • Do crosswords or puzzles
  • Take photos out the car window of your journey
  • Make up phrases using the letters of the car registration plate in front of you

#2 Ways to Keep Young Children Entertained on a Long Car Journey

  • Take it in turns to sing songs
  • Play the classic I spy with my little eye game
  • Each pick a colour. Then agree on a number to reach. Then look out for that colour of car, the first one to reach the chosen number wins.
  • Build a story. Each person contributes a sentence to tell a story.
  • Take some colouring books
  • Listen to some children’s audio books
  • Play Bingo. Each of the children has a pre-made card with names of towns, landmarks, or colours of cars that you will be passing on your journey. The first to tick off all their card wins a treat.
  • Have a road scavenger hunt. Make a list of things to tick off such as a Police Car, Cows, number plate with two numbers the same, somebody driving a car with a hat on, the name of your destination on a road sign, a cyclist – you get the idea.
child in car
Keeping the kids occupied on your car journey will make it more fun for all the family.

#3 Things to do on a Long Car Journey for Adults or Teenagers

  • Fact or Fiction. Say one thing that is true and one that is false about yourself and the others guess which is which.
  • Name 10 things in a category such as animals with patterns on their skin. The winner then picks the next category.
  • Name a country and the next person has to name a country that begins with the letter that the last country ends in.
  • Date / Marry / Dump. Choose a famous person then the others choose whether they would date, marry or dump.
  • Hot Seat. Each person takes it in turns to be in the hot seat where there are interviewed by the others in the car. The person can be asked 5 questions and must answer truthfully. They can refuse to answer only 1 question.
  • Have a conversation only using song titles.
  • Would you rather?…. Take it in turns to find out ‘would you rather?’ answers, for example, would your fellow passengers rather eat a spider or date Bernard Manning

And of course, don’t dismiss electronic games or telephone apps out of hand. There are some great ones such as Word Snax and Read Between the Lines that all the family can play and they are educational at the same time.

This may be useful: How much does it cost to move across town?

Ways to Keep your Pet Entertained on a Long Car Trip

  • Before the long drive, take the time to get your dog tired by taking it on a very long walk. Your dog will then sleep most of the way to your new home.
  • For safety’s sake, it is best to transport your pet in a proper pet carrier or use a dog guard in your car if you have one.
  • If your pet is not used to travelling in a car take a few shorter trips before moving day so they get used to it.
  • Be sure to pack food, water, bowls, pet medication, and waste bags for your dog in your moving day essentials box which will be in the car with you.
  • Take their favourite toys and maybe a new one too to keep them occupied
  • Have their bedding ready in the crate as it will be comforting to them to have a familiar bed
  • Chat to your pet often, it will reassure your pet and make the journey less stressful for them

Must Read: Moving House with Cats and Dogs

How to Transport Plants Long Distances by Car

  • Prepare your plants for their home move by removing any dead leaves a week or so before you move.
  • You may want to consider repotting the plants into plastic pots which will be lighter to move and less weight in your car.
  • For winter moves you can stop watering a few days before you move.
  • Water lightly before moving day so that there is no chance of water damage to your car or other items.
  • If moving plants in the summer when they will need plenty of water, put the pots inside a plastic crate which will contain any water or soil spills. Alternatively, line a cardboard box with a bin liner before putting the plants in.
  • Bushy plants can be protected by being transported in boxes but be sure to pad the pots themselves and between the pots if they are ceramic to prevent damage.
  • If boxing your plants, use boxes that are a snug fit for the plant so that the box supports the foliage and the plant cannot move about inside the carton.
  • Tall plants should be supported by stakes to prevent any damage

Useful to read: How to move a Garden to your New Home

If you have any car games or travelling tips that others would find amusing or useful please share them with us in the comments below. Thanks.

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