To help motorists have the smoothest possible time on a long journey, we’ve names 10 essential accessories that could prove to be more helpful than Nanny McPhee.
10 best accessories for drivers
Car seat organiser
We know you couldn’t have imagined the day that you’d find yourself browsing for the best car seat organiser, but that’s life. It gives the kids something to do, keeps everything to hand and saves you from being asked, where’s my pen/Top Trumps/dummy… we could go on.
Sunshades are important for those in the back. Generally, it’s warmer in the back of a car than the front, as there’s less ventilation, and children can suffer the effects of the sun’s harmful rays, even through glass.
Chargers and Adaptors
Although modern cars feature several 12-volt sockets (cigarette lighter points) and USB ports these days, millions more don’t. But panic not; you can get adapters that are capable of transforming a single 12v socket into one with multiple 12v and USB ports, meaning you can top up phones, run a sat nav, power a dash cam and juice an iPad without arguing over who gets to charge first.
A Change of Clothes
Accidents happen, so if you don’t make a rest stop in time, or a winding road leaves the little ones feeling distinctly queasy, you’ll be grateful for having a change of clothes packed within easy reach.
Capable of cleaning anything, you’ll praise the Lord the moment the time comes to bring out the wet wipes and wipe down passengers/seats/the door bin filled with runny sun cream/etc.
Cut the kids some slack and let them zone out with a movie or two on a long drive. After all, there are only so many times all the family can enjoy a game of i-spy before coming to blows.
Movies, apps and even good old-fashioned travel-sized board games will help them survive a slog up to Scotland or a crawl to the Cote d’Azur.
If they don’t have their own gadgets and gizmos, load up yours with some of the favourites. And remember, the BBC iPlayer means this can be done for free, while there are plenty of apps that are also gratis or cost less than a carton of milk.
A Printed Map
Remember maps? As in those paper things, with colourful lines all over the place and an index of towns in the back? Well, when your phone or sat nav loses signal, you’ll be glad you had a road atlas to hand. And as an added bonus, you can track the progress of your journey – hours of fun for everyone. Maybe.
Blankets and Pillows
Let’s be clear: these aren’t for the driver. But for passengers who could do with resting their weary eyes after the best part of a day in a car, they’ll prove invaluable.
Check the local laws of the country you’re travelling to, but at the least, we’d keep high visibility vests in the car. And in the boot, we’d add a 12v tyre pump, reflective warning triangle, a torch (ideally with functioning batteries, right?) and gloves.
A Rubbish Bag
Have a couple of sturdy, reusable shopping bags handy. Keep one in the boot and tie the other to the arm of a front seat’s headrest. It can be used as a bin and could come in handy should anyone be overcome by travel sickness.