Category Archives: Driving in Europe

How to Make the Road Trip with Kids Fun

Being with your entire family in such a small space for an extended period of time can be really fun – but it can also be stressful. If you’re planning a road trip in the car with your kids over Easter or the summer holidays, then you need to be prepared to keep your children entertained, comfortable and happy.

Before You Go

Remember to think carefully about what your children will wear to travel in – it needs to be really comfortable.

Pack the back strategically – put the stuff that you might need on your journey within easy reach. A spare change of clothes for accidents or getting cold or wet, and sunscreen should be easily accessible.

Pack essentials:

-          First aid kit

-          Torch

-          Wet wipes

-          Tissues

-          Bottles of water

-          Plastic bag for rubbish

-          Blankets for sleeping children

If you’re taking food and plan on eating it in the car, don’t eat anything that’s likely to make a lot of mess!

Some people plan their trip around their kids sleeping habits, leaving really early so they sleep during the day, or travelling at their kids’ bedtime. This works if you yourself aren’t too tired to drive – as the driver it is your responsibility to keep you and your family safe.

Entertainment

Give your children a travel bag so they can take their own toys. You can keep them entertained by buying them a new toy, which they have to wait until you’re in the car and on the way to play with – this usually keeps them entertained while you’re driving.

Play games on the way to keep their minds engaged. Audio books and their favourite music are a great way to keep them quiet too!

Colouring books and crayons are good if your children aren’t prone to car sickness.

A map can help stop the “are we nearly there yet?” questions from older children – draw a line for your journey and keep them looking out for signs and landmarks.

In The Car

Don’t feed them sweets – instead choose healthy snacks to prevent hyperactivity! However, bring them something that they like as a bargaining tool.

Planning stops into your trip is essential, even if you’re only travelling for four or five hours. For small children as well as older ones, bathroom breaks and a chance to stretch their legs will save your sanity as well as theirs. If you have young children, stop every two or three hours.

Helpful Advice for City Driving

For many, driving in the city can be quite a daunting experience. This is understandable though when you consider the amount of traffic you often need to contend with. As well as the actual traffic, there are typically more pedestrians around you, and if you’re new to the area, you’ll be unfamiliar with roadways and designated routes. Take London for instance, this busy city is a prime example of an intimidating drive, with statistics suggesting that over a billion commuter journeys are made every day.

A simple solution to this would be to avoid driving altogether, but this really isn’t a practical option. What you’ll be pleased to know is that there are steps and approaches you can take to make city driving a less stressful time. Here are a few examples:

Careful Pre-planning

Before you set off on your journey, there are some pre-planning checks you can carry out to help make your trip more straightforward.

-          Research your intended route online, so you know which way to go.

-          Check the traffic reports for any road closures, this way you know where to avoid.

-          If possible, choose a time to travel that avoids rush hour.

Getting Protection

Along with the above, it’s also worth having some breakdown cover in place. If your car does stop working in the middle of busy traffic, the last thing you want is to be stranded there with no support. Other drivers won’t take kindly to this either, so give yourself added peace of mind by having this protection arranged before you set off on a journey.

Take Your Time and Be Patient

With your pre-planning and cover sorted, next comes the actual driving. One of the best courses of action is to always pay full attention to what you’re doing and take your time. Unfortunately, there will be individuals who will drive aggressively and become impatient; do your best to ignore them and focus on your own driving.

It’s almost worth treating it like your driving test, so always check your mirrors properly and drive in accordance with the speed limits and conditions. Should you accidently find yourself in the wrong lane, try to keep calm. Then, if it’s safe to do so, signal and manoeuvre into the correct one in a careful and steady manner.

So, be sure to take on board some of this advice and soon your city driving worries can be a thing of the past.

European Driving – A Selection of Incredible Roads

Now we have moved into 2015, many of you may be planning your holidays for the coming months. Should you be considering travelling to a European destination by car, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a great way to add a little extra enjoyment to your drive.

Rather than having to put up with looking at the empty fields that can often run alongside Europe’s main routes, with careful planning there’s a number of superb roads you can include in your journey. These can offer you both incredible scenery and a more exciting drive, here are some examples you might want to consider:

Route 500, Black Forest, Germany

Boasting some breath-taking views of the Rhine Valley, as well as the rolling tree-tops of the Black Forest, this road in southern Germany can bring something special to your trip. The roads twist and traverse their way across many miles of Germanic countryside and can provide a gateway into neighbouring Switzerland.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

With the Italian Alps as your backdrop, you can certainly count on there being a rather picturesque view. The road surface is so smooth it’s almost like somebody has carved a perfect ribbon of silk into the mountainside ready for you to drive on. What’s even better is with its 48 hairpin bends you’ll get plenty of chance to take in the scenery as you leisurely drive down this impressive route.

The Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway

If you intend on driving up to Scandinavia, if you can add this particular road into your travels you’re in for a treat. This relatively short section of one of Norway’s cross county roads connects several small islands together over the Norwegian Sea. One of the most iconic features is the Storseisundet Bridge which majestically arcs over the water as you cross the isles.

Back Roads of Provence, France

While not strictly a set ‘route’, the beauty of these roads in the South of France is that you can stumble on something amazing by accident. With a number of relatively quiet options on offer, you could find yourself stopping by in a lovely little French village, or even paying a visit to one of the many fabulous vineyards of this region.

These are just a few of the many incredible roads Europe has to offer, so be sure to take the time to add them into your journey. Equally, the last thing you want is to let anything spoil such a trip, so be sure you have the proper breakdown cover for your vehicle before you set off.

The UK’s Best Winter Driving Routes

During the winter months you often hear news stories about how treacherous driving can be. To an extent this is understandable as it is very important to drive safely and with appropriate Breakdown Cover in the colder and more unpredictable weather. Unfortunately, what often gets ignored is that there are some stunning winter drives out there in the UK.

The UK has some incredible scenery that is often made even more striking by frosts and fresh snow fall, the beauty is, to experience them, all you need to do is buckle up and set off on your travels. If this sounds like something right up your street but you need some ideas, what follows are some of the UK’s best winter driving routes.

Snowdonia

This area is perhaps more famous for its walks than its driving routes, but the few roads in this particular part of Wales can offer you some magnificent views. The rolling mountainsides showcase a range of greens, browns and whites as the landscapes merge with the snowy weather. As well as this, the snaking routes will take you through some quiet but welcoming Welsh villages on the way. Best of all, you also get a great view of Britain’s highest peak, Mount Snowdon.

The Scottish Highlands

For those in the far north of the UK, the Scottish Highlands are another place that only has a small number of roads, but can still offer incredible scenery. One particular stretch referred to as the Bealach Na Bà otherwise known as the ‘Pass of the Cattle’, takes you across the Scottish hillsides to the Applecross peninsula in the west. The road itself is very narrow but along the way you’ll see a backdrop of seemingly endless beauty, as the highlands unveil themselves to you wearing a blanket of snow.

Lincolnshire Wolds

The roads in this part of the country are more commonly known for being some of the straightest and supposedly dullest in the UK. However, a 14 mile route between Horncastle and Louth couldn’t be further from this. You get the initial benefit of a relatively quiet route, but what really makes this special is the Wolds themselves which feature amazing natural beauty and winter wildlife.

Yorkshire Moors

The vast size of the Yorkshire moors means they have a number of different routes you could take. One road from the small town of Pickering up to Whitby cuts right through the centre of the moors meaning you get the best views of the Moors National Park. Furthermore, the higher altitude and lack of pollution mean that you could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights if driving at night.

Former Service Personnel to Complete 8,000 Mile Charity Road Trip across Europe

It all started with a Facebook conversation between two friends brainstorming ways in which they could raise money for their chosen charities. From here, the idea has now grown and grown and has led to an exciting and charitable reality. When Lance Corporal Paul Newland and former Wren Fiona Laing thought up the idea of the “Race for Freedom”, an 8,000 mile trip across Europe for charity, they never imagined just how incredible the support they received in response would be.  Continue reading

European Road Trip Essentials

Whether you’re planning a visit to German castles, journeying to French museums, stopping at Italian wineries or embarking on a full-blown Eastern European adventure, planning a road trip to the Continent takes a lot of preparation. Some people might be put off by all the planning a road trip requires, but here at Breakdown Direct we see cars as the perfect vehicle to discovery and freedom. Travelling by car means that you can see much more of a country than you would on a conventional holiday, and it’s often much more economical than travelling by public transport, planes and ferries. If you want to see for yourself, we’ve put together some tips to help you prepare. Here are five key things that we wouldn’t go on a road trip without. Continue reading

Visit the Home of Conchita Wurst – Places to Visit in Austria on Your Driving Holiday

Popularly known as ‘The Bearded Lady’, Conchita Wurst recently bagged the winning title of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 for Austria with a powerhouse ballad, ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. If you’re inspired to check out Conchita’s home country then there are some amazing sights to see in the beautiful alpine land of Austria this summer. Continue reading

Driving Abroad: Do You Have What You Need?

If you enjoy driving then there’s no better way to visit lovely European neighbouring countries than by road. Not only do you get to experience stunning landscapes and scenery first-hand but it also gives a fantastic feeling of adventure to have the freedom and possibility of exploring almost anywhere you want! But before you jump in your car and whizz away, there are some pretty important details that you’ll want to be sure of before you set off.Here are a couple of the main ones that you can’t afford to skip.

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