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Preparing for a bank holiday car journey

Your bank holiday starts the moment you close the front door behind you. Here are some tips from Highways England to help you prepare. If you take time to plan the journey as part of your holiday you reduce the risk of arriving at your destination tired, grumpy and stressed.

On the busiest days of the summer holidays it can seem as if everyone is on the road at the same time and all heading in the same direction. After saving up, packing suitcase, buckets and spades, kids getting excited, everyone wants to arrive 'in the holiday mood'. The last thing you want is to spoil it with a horrible journey.

There are several things you can do to remove stress and have a happier start to your holiday

· Plan your route and journey timings

· Prepare for keeping passengers comfortable on the journey - and the little ones occupied

· Check the weather forecast and adjust your plans as necessary

· Keep an eye on the traffic situation

Allow time for your journey

When you calculate the time to drive from home to you holiday destination allow for a break at least every two hours. On all-day journeys planning a proper lunch break at a mid-way tourist attraction or picnic spot will break the travel into two more manageable, comfortable halves. This is especially true if it means giving young children a chance to stretch their legs and work off some steam after they've been stuck in a car for a few hours.

On some days and some of the busier routes, such as those from major cities to the seaside, there is no escape from the crowds. You might try leaving earlier or later, but if you can't then at least allowing for traffic can remove some of the frustration.

Try your best to leave on time

It can be easier said than done, but having worked out what time you need to leave, try and stick to it! If you set off late you might be tempted to skip a break in the journey, rush your journey and spend all day worrying about whether you'll arrive on time.

It really is worth doing as much packing as you can, picnics made and other preparations ticked off the night before.

Travel disruption

Even though the police, breakdown companies, Highways England patrols and others will be working as hard as they can to clear up anything, even one small incident can have quite a knock-on effect when the roads are so busy with holiday traffic.

Listen to traffic bulletins on the radio or a passenger can check one of the mobile services while you're on the move. There are also Highways England digital information screens at most motorway services.

Traffic information services

· Highways England

· Transport Northern Ireland

· Transport Scotland

· Traffic Wales

It's a good idea to make a note of the phone number for your destination, whether it's a hotel, campsite or even if you're staying with friends or relatives. Then if you are delayed you can phone ahead and warn people you might be late.

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