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Preparation tips for a road trip with kids

Whether you’re going on a day trip, taking a staycation or driving to the airport for a holiday in the sun, bringing children along for the ride can be a challenge. From cries of ‘are we there yet?’, to requests for snacks, to car sickness, there’s a lot to deal with when you’ve got little ones in the backseat. But you don’t have to dread your next road trip with the kids. Follow our tips for a smoother car journey and happier memories.

Check your car seats

When it comes to kids, safety should always be the first consideration. Remember that until children are 12 years old or 135cm tall, they must be strapped into a car seat. Before you set off, make sure you have an appropriate car seat for each of your children and check that they’re fitted securely. Ensure that seat belts aren’t twisted, harnesses aren’t too loose (you should only be able to fit one or two fingers between the harness and the child’s chest) and if you’re using an Isofix seat, make sure all the points are connected properly.

Pack sensibly

To avoid ransacking your car looking for your toddler’s favourite toy or having to stop the car to get nappies out of the boot, pack in a way that means you’ll have what you need to hand throughout the journey. For example, keep a changing bag (with essentials like nappies, wipes and a change of clothes), a snack box and a busy bag full of toys and activities close by so you can keep your kids comfortable, dish out nibbles and drinks and rotate the sticker books, sorting puzzles and rattles whenever you need to.

Plan breaks

Little kids are likely to get very irritable if they’re made to sit still for too long. To avoid sibling squabbles and fretful tots, plan in some pit stops along your road trip. Allow your children to get some fresh air, stretch their legs and burn some energy by stopping off at playgrounds, parks or other open spaces along the way.

Motion sickness

Unfortunately, car sickness is common in children from the ages of 3 to 12. Taking headrests that will prevent your child’s head from moving too much or putting acupressure bands on their wrists might be a good idea. You should also encourage them to look at a stable object such as the horizon or close their eyes if they’re feeling unwell. Calm music may also help your child to relax. If your children struggle with motion sickness, you may need to give them medication before you set off. Ask a doctor or pharmacist for more advice.

Protect your car

If you’ve been on a long road trip with kids before, you may be familiar with their ability to transform a pristine vehicle into total chaos. While you’re bound to get the odd crumb on the floor, you can do some damage limitation with a few simple tricks. Firstly, always ensure you have a bag for rubbish in the car. You should also take a packet of surface wipes so you can mop up spills and reduce the risk of stains. Lastly, don’t neglect your boot. If you’re transporting prams, bikes, trikes, scooters or roller blades, you’ll want to ensure you have a boot liner that can protect your upholstery and keep your boot clean.

Keep your Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid permanently tidy with our Hatchbag boot-liner

Toyota are well-known for their hybrid cars with the Toyota Rav 4 being the latest model to join the Toyota hybrid family. The latest Rav 4 model is bigger than all its earlier models and is an easy-to-drive and comfortable car. The Rav 4 cars are the perfect vehicle for packing up the whole family for an outdoor adventure. Plus, there's enough space in the boot for your furry friends to make themselves comfortable for the drive.

And, with the added hybrid version joining the latest Rav 4 family, we have been busy bees in Hatchbag HQ coming up with the perfect accessory for your Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid boot; our very own tailor-made boot liner. There are some slight differences between the hybrid and normal Rav 4 boot, which is why we have come up with a fresh design for the hybrid version. But, as with the original Rav 4 boot, the hybrid version is available in 7 colours, as well as a bunch of optional extras such as, bumper flap, rear seat flap and tailgate cover.

So, without further ado, customise your boot-liner today here.

Don’t forget to take some pics of your hybrid boot liner on the road, as we just love seeing our products especially if there is a pooch on board. You can send them to us on Twitter @thehatchbagcompany, or on Instagram @thehatchbagcompany or via Facebook.

One liner for two cars – the all new Seat Alhambra & Volkswagen Sharan boot liner is now available

We are proud to present one liner that fits two cars: The Volkswagen Sharan and sister model, Seat Alhambra, which are both seven seater models competing with competitors such as, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max.

What makes the Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra special is that they allow seven adults to sit comfortably in the car, should the occasion arise. Plus, the car boot offers 375 litres of space with all seven seats up, which is enough space for your shopping or, a reasonable size boot with five seats up, or a whopping 2297 litres with just two seats up, making it bigger than some vans space.

Here at Hatchbag we have taken both options into account and have created a boot liner with the third-row seats upright & useable, as well as a liner for the third-row seats permanently folded & unusable so that you can choose the perfect protection for your boot’s needs.  So, regardless of whether you need to transport seven 6ft tall adults or want to give the maximum space for your pet pooch, we have the perfect protector for you.

All our boot liners come in an array of 7 colours, along with a number of optional extras including, the bumper flap, rear seat flap and boot liner extension, so that you can further customise your liner to suit you and your family’s needs. So, if it’s your Volkswagen Sharan you want to protect then click here. For the Seat Alhambra, click here. 

Don’t forget to share your snaps with us. Tweet us your pics @thehatchbagcompany, or Instagram your pics @thehatchbagcompany or send them via Facebook.

Stay stylish in your Seat Ateca with a Hatchbag boot cover

The Seat Ateca (2016 on) is a comfortable SUV for both the driver, passengers and furry friends. It shares a lot of similarities with the Volkswagen Tiguan but at a fraction of the price. The SUV category has grown in recent years and the Seat Ateca takes on rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

The Seat Ateca doesn’t disappoint in terms of boot space with 510 litres available with the second row seats upright, the space also expands with the second row seats down, meaning you have enough space in your boot for dogs, sport gear, hiking gear, luggage and general day-to-day items such as shopping bags and school bags. So, with all that space, you will want to make sure you protect your boot from general day-to-day activities and here at Hatchbag, we have the perfect solution with our Seat Ateca boot liner.

You can customise your boot liner to suit your personal needs whether it be with the rear plus option, which allows you to fold your backseats down altogether with the liner in situ or the rear split option, which allows you to fold your backseats down individually or all together. Or, maybe you wanted to protect your bumper from muddy paws and pram wheels with our bumper flap etc. Whatever you need to protect your boot from, we are sure to have the solution. Create your tailor-made boot liner here.

Don’t forget to share your snaps with us. Tweet us your pics @thehatchbagcompany, or Instagram your pics @thehatchbagcompany or send them via Facebook.

Maintain your Mercedes E-Class boot in top condition with a boot-liner

One of our most popular boot liners is the Mercedes E-Class 2010 – 2016 model, so, when we heard that the new model had been released, we knew we had to get our hands on it. And, now, we are pleased to present the new Hatchbag boot protector for the Mercedes E-Class 2016 on.

The Mercedes E-Class Estate rivals models such as the Volvo V90 and Audi A6 Avant. It has a boot space of 640 litres with the second row of seats in the upright position and 1820 litres with the second row of seats folded flat. You also have the option of splitting the seats 40/20/40 meaning that the Mercedes E-Class Estate boot is versatile to suit your needs. Plus the load room area with the second row of seats lies flat making the boot a very practical space indeed. The boot comes with a powered tailgate and more legroom space than earlier versions of the model.

So, with all that space to be utilised whether it is packing up the car with luggage for a family holiday, or, providing room for the family pooch as you drive to your favourite walking destination, you are going to want to make sure that mud and dirt remain at bay. And the Mercedes E-Class boot liner does just that. The liner is made from reinforced material and is tailor-made to fit the contours of your boot to not only provide protection but to also keep your boot looking stylish. Plus, with a choice of seven colours, we are sure you will find one that matches your car's interior. So head over to our Mercedes page now to customise your boot protector.

Don’t forget to share your snaps with us. Tweet us your pics @thehatchbagcompany, or Instagram your pics @thehatchbagcompany or send them via Facebook.

Keep mud at bay in your Fiat 500X boot with our brand new boot protector

With its retro design and improved space compared to the original Fiat 500, but smaller than its sister the Fiat 500l, the Fiat 500X is the perfect vehicle for young families and fashionistas alike. The car comes as a standard 5 door hatch and is a perfect city runaround.

The boot comprises of 350l with the row 2 seats upright and 1000l with the row 2 seats folded flat. Plus, the boot comes with a removable floor meaning you can either opt to have a raised/flush boot or a deeper boot. And here at Hatchbag we have taken this on board and designed two boot-liners so that you can choose which one is most suitable to your needs. So, whether you are taking your four-legged friend, or loading the boot up with shopping, the Hatchbag Fiat 500X boot liner is the perfect accessory for keeping your boot clean but also looking stylish.

All our boot liners come in 7 colours so that you can match your boot protector to your car’s colour. Plus, we also offer an array of optional extras such as a bumper flap, rear seat flap and tailgate cover. Customise yours today here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/fiat-500x-2015-onwards

We would love to see our Fiat 500X boot liner out and about, so send us your pics at @thehatchbagcompany on twitter, or @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram or via our Facebook page.

Another new boot-liner to join the Hatchbag family - the Lexus RX (2016on)

The Lexus RX 2016on comes in two variations, the normal version and the hybrid version and here at Hatchbag, we have come up with a pattern which fits both variations. The Lexus RX 2016on version is the largest RX to date and is ultimately one of the biggest SUVs on the market, competing with the likes of the BMW X5 and Audi Q7. And even though it is so big, it is also a comfortable car, so great for both the driver and passengers.

The boot offers 435l of space with the seats upright and 924l of space with the seats folded flat, so a good amount of space for your pooch to get comfortable as you drive towards the walking destination of the day. If you want to offer your furry friend some more space then you can either fold the seats flat 60/40 or all together. In some of the models, there is also a powered tailgate cover, which means, you can open the boot by hovering your hand or elbow over the Lexus badge, as long as your car keys are in your pocket.

So, with all those journeys to be made, you will want to keep your boot clean and the Lexus RX 2016on boot liner offers the perfect protection. It comes in an array of 7 colours with a number of optional extras, meaning you can create the solution that suits yours and your family needs. Click here for more information: Lexus RX 2016on

Remember to send us a photo of your Lexus RX boot protector in action, as we love seeing our product on the open road. You can tweet us your pics at @thehatchbagcompany, or send us via Instagram @thehatchbagcompany or via our Facebook page.

Keep your Peugeot 308 SW 2014on boot in tact with a Hatchbag boot-liner

The Peugeot 308 SW is bigger than its sister hatch version, providing more space for passengers, furry friends and luggage alike.

With a number of competitors in the estate category, for example, the Volkswagen Golf Estate, Seat Leon ST, Skoda Octavia Estate and Ford Focus Estate, the Peugeot 308 SW does well to boast of one of the biggest boots in the range. So, with all that extra room both in the boot and for passengers, the Peugeot 308 SW is a great all-round family car.

There is a total of 660l of space in the boot with the seats upright and once the back seats are folded down then there's a whopping 1775l of space to be utilised. Plus, the back seats fold down completely flat making the space more practical to use.

So, with all that space offered, you will want to make sure your boot remains in tip-top condition and a Hatchbag boot protector offers the perfect solution for keeping dirt and grime at bay. And with the extra space with the seats folded flat, why not opt for either a Rear Plus or Rear Split version.

The Rear Plus allows you to fold your backseats down altogether, whereas the Rear Split version allows you to fold your backseats down altogether or individually. So go on and customise your boot protector here: Peugeot 308 SW

Don’t forget to send us a pic of your Peugeot 308 SW boot liner in action either on Twitter @thehatchbagcompany or on Instagram @thehatchbagcompany or via Facebook.

6 Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

If you’re a regular visitor of our blog, you’ll know we’re somewhat enthusiasts when it comes to our four-legged friends. After all, like Frederick the Great of Prussia once said, “a dog is a man’s best friend”.

But, did you know just how much a dog can benefit from activities carried out with us humans?

There are many activities that can help a dog. For example, dogs that regularly exercise are less likely to become bored. Dogs that suffer from boredom are more inclined to carry out destructive behaviour in the home or worse still, suffer from mental issues.

At Hatchbag HQ, we’ve shortlisted 6 great activities you can enjoy with your pet pooch.

You can also check interesting pet articles on Petz.

Dog parks  

Parks that allow dogs to roam free are becoming increasingly popular, especially in cities or built up areas. For the most part, parks are securely fenced, have safety signs posted with park rules and require you to pick up after your dog if it makes a mess, so be sure to carry doggie bags with you.

Dogs that are sociable enjoy meeting other dogs, and you might even make some new friends too? 

Doggy Day Care

If you work long hours or if you have just one dog that often spends long periods of time on his/her own, it might be worth looking into a doggy day care service.

Doggy day care can best be explained as a short-term boarding service for dogs. Usually, dogs will stay for the day, and the whole experience differs from kennels and boarding facilities. The whole day is centred around play, activities and exercise, keeping the dogs entertained rather than simply providing accommodation.

Fetch 

Playing fetch is a win-win for your dog. After all, dogs love both playing and pleasing their humans, and playing fetch involve both of these things.

Some dogs instinctively understand how to play the game, realising the need to retrieve the ball in order to run again, however, some don’t. So, you might need to do a little training with your pooch.

Here’s a great blog post that can help you train your dog to be a fetching pro.a dog sitting on the beach

Hiking

From moorland to canal towpaths, coastal walks to mountain peaks, the UK boasts a variety of stunning walks to enjoy with your four-legged friend. Better still, if you come across a National Park, you’ll more than likely come across rare wildlife too.

Check out the National Parks website to find a great route near you.

Holidays 

Gone are the days when you’d need to banish your beloved pooch to the kennels when you go on holiday. These days, dog-friendly hotels are aplenty, with some even offering pet services such as walking & playtime, just for dogs.

Go for a drive

For some dogs, a car ride can be the highlight of their week, however, not all dogs love the car. For some dogs, a car ride is one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences that leaves them shivering and tense.

If your dog does love the car, then be mindful that they might appreciate the ride if you’re just planning on going for a short drive.

Note: Please don’t ever leave your dog in the car alone and make sure you bring water, food and their lead just in case you do end up needing to stop anywhere.

Whatever activity you end up doing with your doggies, we would LOVE to see. Send us a snap or tag us in your picture by finding us on @HatchbagCompany on Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram and The Hatchbag Company.

The UK's Best Bank Holiday May Festivals & Parades

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on May 1st. It is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures, with dancing, singing and cakes usually making up a part of the celebrations. With the May Bank holiday fast approaching, we’ve shortlisted the best celebrations to get to this weekend.

Jack in the Green May Day festival, Hastings

The Jack in the Green Festival is an annual event that takes place in various parts of the seaside resort. Attracting thousands of attendees each year, the festival spans a total of four days, and, if the residents of Hastings are anything to go by, it truly is an event not to be missed.

The long weekend promises to deliver music of all genres and dance performances, as well as numerous activities to keep the whole family entertained. The weekend is topped off by the main event on the May Bank Holiday Monday with the Jack in the Green parade itself.

Setting off at 9:45am from the Fisherman’s Huts on Rock-a-Nore Road, you’ll see traditional folk dancers and music throughout the afternoon. The festival finishes with the slaying of Jack to release the spirit of summer for this year.

Sweeps Festival, Rochester

Sweeps Festival is a modern mix of music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris performances and entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival.

The festival began back in 1868 after the Climbing Boys’ Act 1868 made it illegal to employ young boys to carry out the trade of chimney sweeping. During the days of underage chimney sweeping, the boys were allowed one holiday per year which was May 1st.

The festival year on year promises to recreate the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps from April 29th – May 1st with multiple dance performances.

At the festival, expect to find a jam-packed programme with The Mayor of Medway officially opening the festival with a dance showcase at Guildhall Museum Forecourt.

Full details can be found here.

Festival of Fools, Belfast

The Festival of Fools promises to be a festival like no other with daredevil street performers, fast paced acrobats, heart-stopping Hip Hop dancers as well as laugh out loud comedy acts.

With more than 120 performances taking place across the streets of Belfast City Centre and Cathedral Quarter, you’d be crazy to miss this.

The line-up won’t disappoint with world class acts coming from all over the world including Poland, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, USA, Canada, Ireland & Holland.

If you live in Belfast, get ready to gather up your loved ones and come join in for the best weekend of the year.

Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh

Celebrate the first signs of summer with the Beltane Fire Society which marks the changing season with a wild mix of drums, fire and physical theatre.

According to the festival organisers, “as darkness falls and the fire torches are lit, our drums will thunder and the May Queen will awaken. Across the night She leads her court around the hill and through great arch of fire; the Green Man will be stripped of his winter guise and reborn, and together they will light the traditional Beltane bonfire.“

To find out more or to buy your tickets, visit the website here.

Whatever activity you end up doing this weekend, we’d love to see what you get up to. Send us a snap or tag us in your picture by finding us; @HatchbagCompany on Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram and The Hatchbag Company on Facebook.

Happy May Bank Holiday!