Planning a trip with your extended family? Or hoping to take a holiday with a group of friends?
If you own a minibus, you’ll want to put it to good use over the summer months. But to make sure your road trip is memorable for the right reasons, you’ll need to do a bit of preparation before you set off.
So read on for our quick guide to carrying out pre-trip safety checks, picking the right minibus insurance, and packing your essential supplies. Happy travels!
Before you start loading your vehicle with stuff to make your trip fun, make sure you’ve packed the safety essentials first.
If you suffer any kind of a mishap, these could be the supplies that will keep you all safe and stop your trip of a lifetime turning into a disaster.
As ROSPA explains, your basic kit must include at least one fire extinguisher, or two if any of your passengers uses a wheelchair.
A first-aid kit is another must-have: you can buy them ready made if you’re not sure what they should contain. A high-vis jacket, warning triangle and torch are also crucial in case you break down.
An in-car phone charger will keep your mobile’s battery topped up, so your sat nav can guide you to your destinations. Paper maps are a good back-up, and will also highlight beauty spots and other sites of interest on route.
You should also carry your policy documents for your minibus insurance and motoring breakdown service.
If you’re travelling abroad to get some sun, you’ll need to comply with the road laws of all the countries you’ll pass through.
In France, for example, legal requirements include carrying a breathalyser and putting beam deflectors on your headlights.
Finally, don’t forget a good old-fashioned pen and paper and some loose change. And remember where you store everything!
If you’re going on a road trip, you must make sure your vehicle is in great condition. The last thing you want is to find yourself and your family stranded by a roadside in the rain – perhaps even in a country where you can’t speak the language.
So get your vehicle serviced at a garage, or conduct a few basic safety checks yourself.
Ensure your tyres are in great condition by checking the thread and looking for signs of wear and tear. Make sure the tyre pressure is right for the load you’ll be carrying, which is likely to be higher than usual.
If you have a spare tyre, check it’s in good condition and that you have your locking wheel nut key and a car jack, too.
Top up the oil, screen wash and coolant, and check your wiper blades are cleaning your windscreen rather than smearing it.
Check all your lights. It’s also a good idea to carry spare headlamp bulbs – and learn how to change them!
If it’s been a while since you changed your battery, consider getting a new one before your trip. At the very least, carry jump leads.
Above all, make sure you’ve got minibus insurance and breakdown cover to get you back on the road after any problems.
If any of your passengers uses a wheelchair, then you should have a ramp or an electronic lift to get them inside easily.
If they will remain in their wheelchair for the journey, you’ll need to secure it with straps. The person using the wheelchair also requires a seat belt or harness.
Otherwise, help the person transfer to a regular seat, and fold the wheelchair and store it safely.
For children, make sure you’ve got the appropriate child seats for their age and weight.
Now you’ve made sure that everyone’s safe, you can think about making your journeys enjoyable.
If you’ll be spending a long time on the roads, it’s essential that you pack a few entertainment options. I-spy books are an old favourite, encouraging children to look out of the windows and spot the sights en route.
Travel board games such as scrabble with magnetic pieces will also help the journeys go more quickly. Books are a good idea, too – though beware, as reading does increase travel sickness for many people.
And there’s no harm in relying on screens to keep the little ones quiet for a few miles. Download a few films or games before you set off – and remember to pack chargers and power banks, too, so they don’t run out of juice.
Finally, get together a bag or two of supplies to keep you all sustained on your journey. Boiled sweets are not only a treat to break up the miles, but can also help reduce travel sickness.
Snacks will keep you all going so you don’t have to break early for lunch, and make sure you’ve filled up a few bottles of water – particularly if you’re travelling in warm weather.
A good picnic is something to look forward to. Plan your picnic stop in advance, making sure you’ll all have a chance to stretch your legs and get some fresh air, but have a back-up place in case the traffic’s worse than expected.
Wet wipes and tissues will be useful for mopping up spills, cleaning sticky hands, and cooling you down if it’s hot.
Finally, pack some travel sickness pills and sick bags to keep the journey as pleasant as possible for all your passengers.
A minibus road trip is a fun way to explore the country or further afield – but you need to be prepared.
Taxi Insurer arranges minibus insurance for private use as well as public hire, allowing you to set off on your travels with confidence.
Our specialist team can arrange cover for vehicles carrying 9-16 people plus driver. We will search policies from our trusted panel of insurance partners to find the right cover for your requirements and budget.
Get a quote today, and prepare to enjoy your minibus road trip. Safe travels!