As the last Bank Holiday of the summer approaches, millions are gearing up to set off for staycations, to attend festivals or to visit friends and family and make the most of it.
But British Airways, Network Rail and the Civil Aviation Authority have put a spanner in the works, announcing planned strikes, works and disruption: BA cabin crew will be striking for two weeks including the bank holiday; Network Rail announced that thousands of trains will be either cancelled or delayed as engineering works close some of Britain’s biggest stations; and the Civil Aviation Authority revealed that 43% of flights this month are likely to be delayed or disrupted.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Staycations are now more popular than ever, with almost half (46%) of us choosing to take a holiday in the UK this summer, shunning the stress of airports and flying to take a family break in the British Isles. And can you blame them?
With a bit of clever planning, you can hit the road this summer and enjoy exploring the place we call home. As many brace themselves for a busy weekend on the roads, preparation is key.
According to research from Halfords, 44% of Brits ensure they have everything they need for a trip a week prior to setting off. But a whopping 30% leave it until just the day before. Fewer than 10% think it’s important to make sure our cars are in check before setting off for a road trip. Lack of preparation can lead to unnecessary stress, and so Halfords has compiled a number of easy steps drivers can take to help avoid stressful situations and make your car journey a breezier experience:
- Set off at an unusual hour: Delays are cited as the number one reason for stressful journeys (63%). Timing is everything: leave earlier or later than planned to avoid the masses and for added peace of mind, listen to traffic reports before you head out
- Plan your route: You might also think carefully about using your sat nav. Figures from the Department for Transport suggest that about half of drivers rely on a navigation device to plot their route, with many using traffic information data that can spot the queues ahead and divert drivers around them, so make sure you are making best use of your device
- Pack well: Over-packers rejoice. A staycation means you’re not bound by luggage restrictions or just one hand-luggage bag. And if you’re driving, it means you can pack even more. That doesn’t mean cramming in everything but the kitchen sink, but it does give you some wiggle room to pack for a variety of weathers and occasions; roof boxes make the perfect packing device
- Don’t be a stranger: 37% of us say that travelling with a companion would make car journeys more enjoyable. Rather than sitting in silence, make the journey valuable time to catch up with family and friends – it’s the ideal time to chat
- Take the scenic route: 32% of us say car journeys are more memorable with scenic views. Plan your route so that you are passing through more picturesque places – make the journey part of the adventure, and stop off and explore interesting locations you’ve never visited before
- Keep entertained: Make sure you have your favourite gadgets with you to keep entertained – with hours of films and games downloaded, these are also ideal for keeping the kids happy
To help make sure journeys aren’t further disrupted over the holiday period, Halfords is calling on motorists to get their cars checked before setting off.
Ella Colley, Motoring Expert at Halfords, said: “When it comes to car checks, not everyone has the knowledge or time to check their cars themselves before they set off – sometimes we’re so busy trying to remember everything else, that checking their car slips down the ‘to do’ list.
“Given the huge number of cars on the roads, drivers and road-trippers will come under a certain amount of stress. But good preparation and planning can help avoid traffic, reduce stress and give added peace of mind.”
This summer, Halfords and Halfords Autocentres are offering free of charge summer car checks (this includes checks on oil, wiper blades, bulbs, batteries, air-con, screen wash levels and a free top-up, as well as checking for any windscreen chips) over 700 sites across the UK with no appointment needed.
For further information please contact Halfords@z-pr.com or 020 7896 3404.
For more information visit www.halfords.com or www.halfordscompany.com