It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… For many of us, that means packing up the car and getting on the road to visit friends and family.

But before you load up the luggage and pack in the presents, it’s worth considering the safest and most efficient way of doing so.

Here, we’ve gathered our top tips to help you prepare for the perfect festive road trip.

Image of man dressed in Santa hat, getting out of passenger side of car

Pack smart

It sounds simple, but it’s easy to overlook…

Packing the largest and heaviest items first will make life much easier. Don’t forget, most modern cars have additional cubby holes you can use to maximise the space on offer.

It’s also vital to ensure your rear visibility isn’t obscured; if your vehicle has a parcel shelf, make sure it can return to the correct position when you close the boot.


Secure all loose articles!

This is an important one – if you’re carrying large or heavy items on your journey, don’t forget to strap them securely.

In the event of an accident, a loose item can turn into a dangerous projectile.

Consider keeping heavy items under the seat – or, even better, packed safely in the boot or glovebox.

Christmas presents in boot of car

Pack light

If your packing method is usually everything but the kitchen sink, think about which items you might survive without. Remember, lugging around unnecessary additional vehicle weight means your engine is working harder.

If you pack your vehicle full you should check your car weight limits, which will be printed in the manual.

An overloaded car will use more fuel than usual, costing you more at the pumps, and risking an overloading penalty. Driving an overloaded car is a punishable offence by law and the fine can be as much as £300, with three penalty points. Your braking capability will also be affected - far from ideal if you need to stop suddenly.


Check it out

Before any long road trip, its wise to pop the bonnet and do a couple of basic checks.

Start with your fluids – if you haven’t done this before, take a look at your vehicle manual. Topping up your windscreen washer fluid is easy, and always handy on dirty winter roads.

If you’re confident enough, checking your coolant and oil levels can prevent mechanical mishaps.

Finally, check the tread depth on your tyres is legal and the tyre pressures are in line with those recommended for the heavier than normal load.

For more information, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for details on engine oil and coolant maintenance. You can also check out our blog - Christmas motoring pre-travel checklist, for further information on essential checks to carry out before you head off on your Christmas road trip.

Car driving on snowy road

Arrange breakdown cover

You don't want to be missing out on opening presents, or enjoying Christmas dinner with your friends or family. Ensuring you have suitable breakdown cover in place means that help will be at hand, should your vehicle suffer a fault. Get a quote online for affordable and reliable breakdown cover from Start Rescue.