As you know it takes a lot of us in MoM HQ to keep bringing you everything Mouths of Mums offers our members and visitors for free. So we’re sure you’ll understand that every now and then we’ll bring you a message from one of our partners. This week we talked to the team at Bridgestone and they asked us to put together this article to share with you.
If you’re anything like us, school holidays seem to come around way too fast and way too often.
One just finishes and you’re already planning for the next.
Depending on your budget you might be planning one jetsetting holiday after the next but if you’re in our house, it’s more than likely going to be a road trip! With family spread from Southern New South Wales to Northern Queensland, loading the kids in the car is one of the easiest (and less costly) ways to fill the holidays.
We’ve done road trips since the kids were tiny and now getting out the door is pretty pain free and the holiday (usually) goes off without a hitch.
It has taken a little perfecting though!
Along the way I’ve ended up with my own little cheat sheet of 10 handy hints for a hitch free holiday …
1. Minimise the amount of food you leave at home.
Two weeks out you start ‘running down’ the food in the house. Check your fridge, freezer and pantry and figure out what wouldn’t survive if the power went off (and therefore the fridge and freezer) while you are away. Get creative with dinners and force yourself to use what’s at home before you head to the supermarket. Who knows, you might even save yourself a few dollars that can go towards the holiday!
2. Organise the pets, mail and rubbish.
One thing I love having when we go away is a house-sitter. Someone who moves in and takes care of the pets, collects the mail, puts out the rubbish bins, waters the gardens and basically keeps the house alive while we’re not there. It’s practical, cheaper (kennels are so expensive) and keeps your house much safer than simply locking the door.
If you don’t have a house-sitter, book the kennel for the pets and arrange for a neighbour to bring in your mail and pop out your rubbish and recycling while you’re away.
3. Check locks and other security equipment.
A loose window lock or a wobbly front door handle or a house alarm that doesn’t work is an invitation to thieves to fiddle a lot more than a well secured home.
Check everything a few weeks before you leave in case you need to call the locksmith, the electrician or the builder. It certainly wouldn’t be a hitch-free holiday if you came home to an empty house.
4. Check your smoke alarms.
Whilst there may not be anyone sleeping in your home while you’re away, smoke alarms can help alert neighbours in the event a fire breaks out in your home. Test these according to manufacturer’s instructions and ensure each unit has fresh batteries.
5. Leave a key (and a permission note) with a trusted friend.
If anything should happen inside your home, it’s great to have a trusted friend to call who will zip around and check it out for you. Leaving them with a key means they can easily access your home and the permission note means that if anyone questions what they are doing, they can show your note as proof they have permission to be in your home.
6. Plan your trip and share your itinerary.
Just like the Scouts always say “be prepared”. Plan your trip, plan your breaks and book any accommodation you may need along the way ahead of time.
Share your plan (including dates of travel and intended stop offs along the way) with family and a friend. Part of your plan should also be planning to let people know when you’ve reached your destination.
7. Check the car, the trailer, the boat and everything in between.
It may seem obvious to make sure your vehicle is in absolutely tip top condition before you leave but you’d be surprised how many people don’t give it any thought.
You wouldn’t get in a plane that hadn’t had every safety check under the sun so why do it in a car?
The best advice is to have a professional service and tyre check but if you’ve run out of time (or budget), here’s a simple list to work through:
Check your fluid levels (brake fluid, oil, coolant, washer water) and top them up – read the car owner’s manual to see where and how these items can be checked.
Check your tyres – check the pressure and refer to your tyre placard inside your door frame to ensure they are inflated to the correct pressure. Check the tread depth (the minimum legal depth in Australia is 1.6mm across the full tyre width) and check for any scuffs, cuts or objects lodged in the tyre as these can cause blow outs. If in doubt, or you don’t feel confident checking, make an appointment with your nearest Bridgestone Select tyre store and they can check everything for you.
Check your spare tyre – this again is obvious but discovering your spare is flat on the side of the freeway is no fun at all. Include the spare in your regular tyre check.
If you get a flat tyre – changing a tyre on the side of a freeway (or any road) can be dangerous. Ensure you have a plan on what you will do if you need to stop – make sure you have the right tools to change a tyre on both your car and trailer if the need arises. See your car manual if you’re not sure how to change a tyre and remember safety first- even if you drive a short distance with a flat tyre – find somewhere safe to stop.
Check your towing equipment – make sure the electrical connections are not damaged and are working (connect up what you’re towing and ensure the brake lights/ blinkers and other lights are working on both the car and the trailer), ensure whatever you’re towing isn’t overloaded and that the load is evenly distributed and ensure that you have excellent visibility when your load is in place. If need be, have additional mirrors fitted so that you are in the best possible position to tow safely.
8. Plan meals and snacks for along the way.
As convenient as it is to pull in at every service station along the trip, the food and drinks you usually find there probably aren’t the most nutritious.
Pack a bag full of foods which are easily digestible such as fruit, nuts, vege sticks and some light sandwiches that include a protein filling (chicken and tinned tuna or salmon are great as long as you keep them cool).
Avoid high fat, heavy foods as these may cause tiredness while your body tries to digest the meal and also avoid really high sugar foods and drinks as having your blood sugar levels all over the place isn’t the best idea either.
Don’t forget to hydrate either! Drink loads of water which will help with digestion of food, help with any cramping and also keep you stopping for regular toilet breaks!
9. Rest, rest, rest!
Rest well before you head off – get a good night’s sleep the night before your trip and remember that you should ideally only travel when you would normally be awake. Your body clock is programmed to slow down when you would normally be asleep even if you’re awake.
Double check that any medications you are taking aren’t going to cause drowsiness and definitely stay away from alcohol. Even a small amount can affect your driving skills and make you feel fuzzy and therefore more sleepy.
10. Break it up.
Again, it’s obvious but I’m still amazed the number of Mums I know who let their partners drive for hours and hours on end saying “they prefer to drive”. Break up the drive by swapping every few hours (even if you do 1 hour and your partner does 2).
Break up the boredom by getting a car game going – think I Spy, I went to the shop and bought…, Fruits starting with every letter of the alphabet … or do some car karaoke. It’s fun, it gets everyone involved and it keeps the driver alert.
Take regular breaks. There’s no excuse for not taking breaks. You’ve got service stations and rest stops everywhere and Driver Revivers are always out especially during peak holiday periods.
Oh and I couldn’t resist adding No. 11 – relax, enjoy and make sure you have a few nights where you don’t cook, wash, tidy or fold. It’s your holiday too!
Nikki from the MoM Team x