Blog

Get ready, set and go — Your complete checklist for the ultimate road trip

As John Steinbeck famously said ‘people don’t take trips, trips take people’ which is just one of the many reasons why the lure of the open road appeals to so many holiday makers. Taking a road trip is a great way to experience every aspect of your holiday, and making the most of the journey — rather than focussing purely on the destination — means that your adventure starts the very moment you put your foot on the pedal.

As with all types of holiday, a little bit of pre-planning can make a huge difference to the ease and enjoyment of your trip. This handy road-trip checklist will help ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible…

Get roadworthy

When it comes to road trips, the difference between the trip of a lifetime and the holiday from hell depends largely on the condition of your vehicle. Giving your vehicle a bit of TLC before hitting the road can help prevent any nasty surprises.

☐   Check that all vehicle documents are up to date. Ensure that your road tax, insurance and MOT are valid and will not expire while you are away.

☐   Book your vehicle in for a service. Don’t chance it that you will get a last-minute appointment, reputable garages are often booked up in advance.

☐   Roadside assistance. This could turn out to be invaluable if you break down in the middle of nowhere. It is often inexpensive and the cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind it offers.

☐   Consider hiring a car. Especially useful if your car is prone to being unreliable. If you have problems with it at home it is highly likely that it is not going to last the length of your trip.

☐   Prior to leaving, double-check the following:

☐   Tyre pressure

☐   Windscreen wash

☐   Engine oil

☐   Petrol

Plan your route

Getting lost can sometimes lead to the best road trip adventures, ‘sometimes’ being the operative word. Knowing where you are going and how to get there will eliminate stress and most certainly reduce the chance of navigational disputes!

☐   A recently updated Sat-Nav can be a godsend when travelling through unfamiliar areas.

☐   A trusty map is worth its weight in gold if you lose GPS signal, or if you want an overview of the wider area.

☐   Plan your route via the scenic route. Detouring from the motorways can open up some stunning scenery and views.

☐   Research guest houses, hostels and camp sites along your route in case your plans have to change for any reason.

Pack smartly

How much you pack depends on three elements: how long you are going for, the size of your car and the number of passengers. Packing everything you need while maintaining passenger comfort can be a tricky balance to strike, but the right equipment can definitely help.

☐   A roof box will free up space inside the car and is perfect for storing lightweight yet bulky essentials such as sleeping bags, camping chairs and clothing. It is worth noting cars become considerably less aerodynamic when fitted with a roof box, which may negatively affect petrol consumption.

☐   A protective boot liner fitted to the exact dimensions of your car boot will help prevent the car’s interior from being damaged when packing and unpacking bulky luggage. It will also protect the boot from the mud, sand and wet that inevitably gets transferred into the car whilst out and about.

☐   Pack smartly and make sure that your actual bags and cases aren’t adding on unnecessary bulk to your luggage. Handles and wheels can take up valuable space so think about lightweight alternatives, especially if your luggage is staying in the car or going straight from the boot to your accommodation. Consider using laundry bags for clothing. Stackable, clear plastic boxes are also great for organising general belongings, especially when camping.

In case of emergency

It’s always worth preparing for all eventualities so keep a box of emergency essentials tucked away. If possible, include:

☐   Emergency breakdown triangle

☐   Hi-vis vests

☐   Torch (with working batteries)

☐   Spare tyre/puncture kit

☐   Water and snacks reserved for emergency use

Get comfortable

Sitting in the same position for hours on end can become uncomfortable, so it is important to make regular stops to visit the loo and stretch your legs. Maximising in-car comfort will help make long stretches of the journey more bearable.

☐   Lightweight blankets can make driving at night cosier for passengers and will reduce the need to crank up the heating — which can cause tiredness due to dry eyes, not to mention burn more fuel.

☐   Supportive neck pillows can help passengers catch forty winks while in transit.

☐   Sharing the drive will undoubtedly ensure that all parties enjoy the journey. Make sure all drivers are insured on the vehicle prior to departing.

☐   Do not underestimate the power of snacks. Stock up on snacks that are easy to munch on the go, plus water bottles to keep you hydrated. Insulated flasks are great for keeping hot drinks warm, and they can be re-filled at service stations throughout the journey.

☐   In-car entertainment such as portable DVD players, tablets, guessing games and a few good playlists will help while away less scenic stretches of the trip, especially if you are travelling with children.

…and hit the road

A bit of smart planning can make a huge difference to the success of your trip and ensure that the journey is every bit as fun as the destination. So get prepared, get packed, get comfortable and get going!

The new Hyundai boot liner is here for the Hyundai Ioniq

A Hyundai boot liner that goes with your new Hybrid Ioniq

A new Hybrid hits the road

‘’ Time for a little competition’’ the Koreans said. Although the Toyota Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid car, the Koreans have taken on the challenge and brought their own to the road, the all-new Hyundai Ioniq. The car comes in three versions of electrification: the pure electric vehicle(EV), the hybrid model with a petrol engine combined with an electric motor, a plug-in hybrid – that’s basically the same as the hybrid but with a bigger battery for more range that you can charge externally – and a pure electric vehicle (EV). These three convenient vehicles have a one thing in common, the Hyundai boot liner for the Ioniq will fit them all.

What you will notice with the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, the performance is pretty good as the petrol engine and electric motor work together. This makes both model versions quicker than a Toyota Prius, but on the other side slower than, say, a Volkswagen Gold GTE. The Ioniq has been set up to handle urban areas well with light steering that’s easy to manage. However. if you want to use the Sport mode - this adds too much weigh.

Relax in style in the Hyundai Ioniq

Passengers in the Hyundai will have no trouble getting comfortable, as there is room to adjust on offer, however, when it comes to the back-passenger area, the Hyundai Ioniq offers some space, but there isn’t quite as much room for adults as there would be in the Kia Niro or Toyota Prius. If you are over six-foot tall, you will likely find yourself with your head close to touching the roof and knee room to be a little tight. On the other hand, if you need to be able to carry up to three kids in the back, you will see that there is plenty of space.

Plenty of space in the Ioniq's boot

The Hyundai Ioniq boot should not be underestimated - with its 443 litres you can easily fit the pram, the dog and your shopping in the boot. Plus, if you’re thinking of heading to the top, then you can easily store heavy loads in the boot, as the boot opening has quite a large opening. The seats also split 60:40 split, which comes in handy when you need to transport both passenger/s and very long items.

A Hyundai boot liner for the new car on the block

Hyundai boot liner for the Ioniq

For all the Hyundai Ioniq car owners we are happy to announce that there is a Hyundai boot liner available to protect your boot. Come choose one of our seven colours for the right fit for your Hybrid, along with the choice between a Standard boot liner, a Rear plus and a Rear Split option. The latter two options are ideal if you want to be able to fold your rear seats down. All of our boot liners come with an array of other Ioniq accessories so you can customise the perfect Hyundai boot liner for your lifestyle.

Take a look at our Skoda accessories for both the Karoq and Kodiaq

You can keep your car boot staying in style with our Skoda accessories

The perfect mat for your Skoda

Our boot liners are not only handy to have after beach walks with the dog, but also following a hike. Here at Hatchbag we offer the perfect Skoda accessories to give you the full protection for your boot. Plus, at the same time offering a comfortable place for your dog to ride in.

Control the odours in your Skoda car boot

Skoda accessories - Odour Control pet mat We offer an array of Skoda accessories for your Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq. Not only do we offer a boot liner for each model but also the choice of one of three mats for both you and your pooch. One of our mats we offer is the very special odour mat. After-all, as much as we love our dogs they do get very dirty and smelly after all the fun activities. So, with this in mind, we have developed a quilted blanket style mat which contains activated carbon to absorb and eliminate bad odours. These are tailored to fit inside a Hatchbag Boot Liner. Plus, the Odour Control Pet Mat has a special finish to repel hair and dirt.

Give your pooch some comfort with one of our Skoda Hatchbed Mats

Skoda accessories - Hatchbed Mat The second mat we offer is the Hatchbed Mat, which comes in pairs. This way whenever one is in the wash (washing machine and tumble drier suitable) you have a spare one ready to go in the boot. The second great feature is the top section is about 25 mm deep of carpet - very comfortable for your pooch! These mats are designed and tailored to fit inside your boot liner and come with a unique non- slip rubber backing. Plus, our Hatchbed Mat is recommended by Vets and Pet Care Professionals.

Protect your Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq car boot from heavy loads

Skoda accessories - Rubber Mat Last but not least is the Rubber mat. This one is very handy for customers who use their boot for heavy use such as, carrying tools or heavy loads. The mat allows objects to move across the surface without ‘’snugging.’’ Thhe mat is also anti-slip, so will prevent both the mat and objects from sliding all over the place.

No need to fluff up the carpet

For the Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq we offer a Frequent Use Tabs kit, available on our skoda accessories page. These tabs act as a sandwich between the liner and the carpet, to prevent the carpet from fluffing up. Each kit comes with thirty-two tabs, so you have more than enough to protect your car boot's carpet.

Skoda accessories for you

When it comes to these two models, there are a number of car boot floor variations on offer. For the Skoda Karoq, we offer one floor version and for the Skoda Kodiaq, we currently offer a liner for both the 7 seater and 5 seater version and for the latter we offer two but soon to be three floor versions. Make sure you check out each boot liner page to see if we offer the version for your vehicle. However, if we don’t then make sure you contact us, as you never know the version your after may be the next one we do.

Hatchbag car boot protector for the BMW X3, VW T-Roc, Mercedes CLA now available

Keep dirt from your brand-new vehicle at bay with a Hatchbag car boot protector

Hatchbag introduces the BMW X3 2018 boot protector

BMW X3 New Hatchbag Car Boot Protector Get ready to have a new driving experience & Hatchbag car boot protector that will fuel any of your ambitions, especially with all the space that is available. This car gives passengers in the front enough head room and most importantly leg room, making it a very enjoyable ride. It is no secret that the BMW X3 is among the best large SUVs in having so much space at the front. In addition, the BMW X3 has an impressive family boot that can carry up to eight suitcases. Plus, if you need more space for loading bulkier items, the rear seats split in a 40/20/40 configuration, giving you more flexibility and space within the boot. For those who like to go bike riding, or hiking (or just a walk on the beach) we have a new car boot protector for the two floor versions the BMW X3 has to offer. We also offer a version with a net on the nearside, which is ideal for those who like outdoor activities in keeping your boot clean, and at the same time have access to the net to store any equipment. The second option is for cars that have no net on the nearside. This will give you a bit more space as there is no net and the recess is a bit deeper.

Keep your VW T-Roc boot tidy with a Hatchbag car boot protector

VW T-Roc Hatchbag Car Boot Protector Volkswagen has again proved that they know what to bring to the market with the new VW T-Roc, a car that will make you stand out from the crowd. Whether you are looking for a car with a red roof and a white body, they have something for everyone. The car also comes with an optional 4MOTION, to give you the opportunity to tackle almost any terrain. What is also very interesting about the VW T-Roc is its driver assistance systems, which will assist you on long journeys, making sure that you stay alert and avoid accidents. Here at The Hatchbag Company we have just what you need to accompany your long journeys: a VW T-Roc new car boot protector, available in 7 colours and with various optional extras. We have designed two boot liners to fit the two floor versions the VW T-Roc has to offer:  a raised floor version and a low floor. With the low floor version, there is more space in the boot for to carry heavy equipment or to give your dog that bit more comfort in the boot. If, however you don’t need all that extra space, the raised floor is ideal. Please look at our Vehicle Identification document before placing an order on the website, to make sure you are buying for the correct version.

Protect your Mercedes CLA Shooting brake with Hatchbag

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake Hatchbag Car Boot Protector The new Mercedes CLA Shooting brake is very stylish yet very practical, which makes it an exciting and alternative family car. This Mercedes has extra space, so ideal for whoever has a dog or needs that extra space for leisure. The boot has enough space for that trip you would like to take and any suitcases or a buggy. And should you wish to fold down the rear seats, your space will be boosted going from 495 litres with the rear seats up to 1354 litres with them down. This is a very easy process as the seats split 60/40, and they pretty much lie flat, offering you as much space as possible. At the Hatchbag Company we did not want to miss out on bringing you a Hatchbag car boor protector. Our selection for the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake has two versions, for those who have a net in the boot nearside and would like to keep using it. This can be used to store some drinks when you go hiking with your pooch, or to store small equipment. For those who don’t use it, we offer a liner to cover the net part. We have seven colours to choose from and some interesting optional extras, such as a bumper flap to give your pooch the chance to jump out of the boot without leaving marks! Our hatchbag car boot protector will keep your boot clean with all these new adventures the new BMW X3, VW T-Roc and Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake are going to bring you. Not only do you have a choice between seven colours, to find one that will nicely match your car, but there are also many other extras you can choose from.

Hatchbag welcomes a new family member - the Peugeot 3008 boot liner 2017 onwards

Choose the perfect options for your Peugeot 3008 boot liner

Peugeot 3008 – a great family car

The new Hatchbag Peugeot 3008 boot liner has been launched to coincide with Peugeot, who have upgraded their previous Peugeot 3008 so that they can bring a more stylish and sleeker SUV to the market, in order to compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and Seat Ateca. Plus, not only is the Peugeot 3008 a great car for drivers but, also for passengers, which makes it a great SUV for families.

The benefits of the boot space in the Peugeot 3008

One great feature of the Peugeot 3008 that will benefit the whole family as well as their pooch is the boot space. The inside of the boot boasts of 591 litres - this means plenty of space for your four-legged friend(s) as well as transporting suitcases, picnic baskets, fishing rods etc. To make it even better - if you would like more space in the back for your dog or need to take a load to the tip, then fold down all the backseats to enjoy a car boot volume of 1670 litres.

How a Hatchbag Peugeot 3008 boot liner can help keep your car boot clean

And having all that boot space available, you will want to keep your new car boot clean. Luckily here at Hatchbag, we offer a boot liner and options to suit your needs. In addition to this, the Peugeot 3008 also has two floor options, a raised or low floor, so you can set the floor to the needs of your family or your dog. And here at Hatchbag, we have taken this into consideration and designed two Peugeot 3008 boot liners, to accommodate both floor versions. This way you can take your dog to the beach or go hiking, without having to worry about cleaning a big boot afterwards. For more information and to see the options and colours we offer please click here

Why a boot liner is the perfect accessory for your lease car?

You've got a new lease car, but, you need to protect your boot when transporting your dog, pram, fishing gear, DIY tools, bikes etc. Here is where Hatchbag steps in with our array of boot liners in seven colours. Plus our boot liner extras such as, bumper flap, rear seat flap, tailgate cover and a choice of three mats; rubber mat, hatchbed mat and odour mat. All of our boot covers act as a second skin to your car boot and will prevent your lease car boot’s interior getting covered in dog hair, scratched or damaged. And you may be thinking this all sounds great, but, if I use self-adhesive tabs to attach the boot liner to the car then will this damage the interior? The answer is no. If your car boot is made from carpet and is self-adhesive tab friendly then you will not have to attach any self-adhesive tabs to your car. You may want to consider our frequent use fitting kit, which consists of thirty-two double-sided adhesive tabs. These tabs act as a sandwich between the liner and the boot carpet, so that when you remove the liner the carpet does not fluff up.
Cleaning your lease car boot
If your car boot is made from plastic, you will need to attach self-adhesive tabs to the boot. Before you do that, we recommend the following cleaning procedure: - Take two lint free cloths and Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover. - Soak one cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the sides. - Take the second cloth and dry the sides to the point the cloth is dragging across the surface. - Test a piece of self-adhesive to see if it adheres to the plastic. If yes, continue attaching the remainder tabs. If not, please repeat the above steps. When you come to remove the boot liner and self-adhesive tabs from the boot, we recommend the following procedure: - Take Autoglym Intensive Tar remover and a cloth - Soak the cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the plastics to remove any residue. - Then take any valeting product and valet the sides of your boot If you return the car after your lease is up then the car boot will be in the same condition as the day you got the vehicle.

33 top tips for taking the stress out of camping with kids

There's no doubt about it, having children makes you do things differently – holidays being a prime example. Unless you have unlimited funds, foreign jaunts invariably go on hold when there's a young brood to cater for, presenting the question of how to find a cost-effective yet fun holiday to suit all members of the family.

One great family holiday option that ticks all of these boxes is camping. Not only is a brilliant way to escape from reality, it's the perfect way for kids to connect with nature, develop some valuable life skills and ultimately let loose and simply be kids.

The benefits of camping with kids

Far from being Enid Blyton idealism, camping really does put a different spin on spending time together as a family. We are all guilty of wasting too much time on our electrical devices – children included – so getting away from our screens and back to nature is a welcome change for many families, as numerous studies carried out by The Camping and Caravanning Club highlight:

  • 98% of parents said camping makes their kids appreciate and connect with nature.
  • 95% said their kids were happier when camping.
  • 93% felt that it provided useful skills for later life.
  • 4 out of 5 parents believe that camping had a positive effect on their children's school education.
  • Almost three quarters of parents think social media is affecting children's ability to interact and engage with others.
  • 64% of campers believe that taking their children camping improves social skills and mental health.
  • Over 50% of campers felt cooking when camping had a positive effect on their children's learning.

Despite these facts, camping does not appeal to everyone, not least parents of small children. This is no surprise because for first-time campers the idea of sleeping under nylon and cooking over coals can sound pretty daunting. With this in mind, we have compiled a 'camping must-have' guide, complete with 33 useful tips to help camping newbies work out what to buy, pack and prepare for a stress-free family camping trip.

33 top tips for stress-free family camping

Where to start?

  1. One of the best ways to venture into the camping world is to talk to – or even tag along with – friends with children who have camped before. Learning from other families' camping successes – and failures – is a great way to get a realistic view of what to expect.
  1. Before investing in all of the camping gear it is worth trying to beg, steal and borrow as much equipment as you can to see if you actually like camping. More often than not, seasoned campers will have refined their 'must-haves' and worked out what gear is necessary, which will give you a good idea of what to buy if you decide to commit to tent life.
  1. There are a wide range of campsites available, all offering different amenities and attractions, so think about what you want out of your holiday. Very basic sites are great for 'wild' camping but they may be a little ambitious for first-time family camping. In most family-friendly sites you can expect to find showers, toilets and pot-washing facilities; many also have a small shop in case you have forgotten any essentials. Some sites have playgrounds and arranged activities, while farm sites often allow children to interact with the animals.
  1. Another benefit of choosing a family-friendly site is that other campers will be sympathetic if your little darling decides to throw a midnight wobble. The camping community is generally a friendly bunch, who will have most likely experienced exactly the same with their own children at some point or another.

Choosing the right equipment

  1. Before going wild in your local outdoor store, consider the size of your car. Although most camping equipment is designed to fold down flat – even a large tent can pack away into a pretty compact holdall – it will still fill a car boot pretty quickly. Investing in a roof box for stowing lighter belongings may free up valuable space inside your car.
  1. When selecting your tent think about how you will use it in regards to your children's ages, sizes and needs. Tents with individual sleeping pods positioned around a living area are especially helpful in bad weather when the whole family has to be inside the tent in the evening, or if toddlers have daytime naps. Families with older kids are also likely to benefit from the additional privacy these extra compartments offer.
  1. Everything is better after a good night's sleep – not least dealing with small children – which is why it is worth investing in good-quality air mattresses and sleeping bags. Unless you are hiking to your campsite, roll mats aren't really advisable and they may take the concept of 'connecting with nature' a step too far for family camping!
  1. Plastic storage boxes are a lifesaver when camping for keeping belongings dry, clean and insect-free. Use separate boxes for food, cooking equipment, toiletries etc. so that everything can be easily accessed then stacked neatly away to maximise space in the tent.
  1. Camping with little ones will undoubtedly be easier if you have an electric hook-up. Not only will it make heating up bottles – or making a well-needed brew – much easier, it is also much less stressful than constantly monitoring boiling pans of water on the stove.
  1. An electric cool box is another reason why you may want to invest in an electric hook-up. It's a great way to ensure that food stays fresh throughout your whole trip, not to mention keeping drinks ice-cold for essential BBQ refreshment. If you prefer a traditional cool box, double up on freezer blocks as many campsites have facilities for refreezing.
  1. Boot liners are invaluable for protecting the interior of your boot from mud, water and damage from lugging bulky equipment in and out. They also transform your car boot into a storage area for muddy boots, wet-weather gear and play equipment – basically everything that you don't want cluttering up your tent.
  1. Tent carpets may sound like a gimmick but they really add to the cosiness and comfort of the tent, especially if children want to play on the floor. Alternatively, as a cheaper option you could use a few plastic-backed picnic blankets to cover the tent floor.
  1. Even in the nicest weather the grass is likely to be wet with dew in the morning so don't rely on picnic blankets as your only seating method. Telescopic canvas chairs and camping tables will certainly make meal times and child entertainment easier.

Cooking and eating

  1. Preparing food whilst camping doesn't have to be daunting – realistically it is just a simplified version of how you would cook at home. You will only need basic cooking equipment such as a stove, BBQ, kettle, frying pan, saucepan, plastic or tin crockery, cutlery, utensils and a chopping board.
  1. The key to eating well on a camping trip is to keep it simple. Think picnics, BBQs and easy-cook staples like baked beans or pasta. Cooking outdoors on the BBQ or gas stove is one of the best parts of camping, but it is certainly not the speediest way of putting food on the table. With this in mind, make sure you bring plenty of snacks and nibbles to keep everyone going between meals.
  1. Don't forget a washing-up bowl, cloths, tea towels and washing-up liquid. Get the kids involved in outdoor pot-washing, making the most of the fact that camping crockery is practically indestructible! The washing-up bowl can also double up as a splash bowl for toddlers.

Practicalities

  1. An absolute must-have for any camping trip is a first-aid kit. Stock up on plasters, bite and burn cream and antiseptic wipes, as well as kiddy-strength paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  1. Trekking across a field in the middle of the night to take a small child to the loo isn't ideal so don't forget a potty – or a lid with a bucket – plus lots of loo roll to facilitate night-time toilet trips.
  1. Although most campsites have shower facilities, wet wipes are a godsend for keeping little ones – and big ones – clean and fresh.
  1. Insect bites can sometimes be a nuisance when camping so it is well worth stocking up on insect repellent spray and lighting a few citronella candles to keep bugs at bay. Seasoned campers swear by putting a bunch of sage on the campfire as an additional deterrent.
  1. Torches and lanterns are also essential, both for lighting the tent at night and finding your way to the amenities after dark. Low-light night lights or battery-operated fairy lights can be helpful for comforting young children at bedtime as there will invariably be unfamiliar noises during the night.
  1. If you are able to park your car close to your tent it is a good idea to leave the bags containing clothing inside the car and take items out as and when you need them. This will prevent clean clothes from getting unnecessarily damp or muddy.
  1. Modern tents come complete with many useful features, but blocking out early-morning daylight isn't usually one of them. Being forced awake to entertain small children at daybreak can be pretty brutal so investing in sleep masks for the whole family might prove to be a real sanity-saver. Obviously sleep masks aren't advisable for babies and toddlers but you could try positioning a portable blackout shade by their cot to reduce the glare.

Weatherproofing

  1. Always check the weather forecast before you go and be realistic about whether camping in gale-force conditions or 30-degree heat is a good idea! If in doubt, pick a site that isn't too far away – worst-case scenario, you can always pack up early and come home.
  1. Although there is nothing better than glorious sunny weather for a camping trip, it is easy to get sunburned without realising when you are outside all day. Make sure you pack some high-factor sun lotion and sun hats and, if possible, create a shady play area for the kiddies so they can escape the fierce midday rays.
  1. Extra blankets always come in handy on a camping trip. Aside from being great for snuggling up in around the campfire, they also double up as makeshift sun shades, pillows, picnic blankets or even play dens.
  1. Wet-weather gear is also worth its weight in gold if the heavens open. Drying sodden clothes can be a real chore in a tent so prevention is definitely better than cure here. Dress kids in lightweight waterproofs and they can enjoy the great outdoors regardless of the weather, whilst keeping clothes dry underneath.
  1. Even if the weather is glorious in the day, temperatures can plummet at night so take plenty of layers to wrap up in. It's also advisable to pack a hat and gloves just in case. Fingers crossed you won't need them but it's better to have them unused in your bag than not at all.

Entertainment

  1. Don't forget to pack some games suitable for playing outside the tent – balls, skipping ropes, bubbles, Nerf guns, boules etc. can provide hours of entertainment. Calmer activities such as board games, colouring books and playing cards also provide welcome entertainment in the evenings or if rain stops outdoor play.
  1. Windbreaks can be handy for cordoning off a play space for children whilst obviously providing protection from the wind.
  1. Another great way of containing tiny tots who may be prone to wandering is to multi-task their travel cot as a play pen.
  1. Research the area and see if there is anywhere local that could provide a family-friendly outing. While away the walk by creating a simple scavenger hunt, challenging the kids to tick off sightings of streams, flowers, wildlife and landmarks.
  1. Finally, don't forget to bring a couple of home comforts such as favourite toys or special blankets to help your little ones settle into the unfamiliar environment.

Bad weather ‘most stressful part of UK car holidays’

Over a third of Britons find the poor weather in this country the most stressful part of driving to UK holiday destinations, research shows.

A survey carried out by boot liner manufacturer Hatchbag asked members of the public ‘What is the most stressful thing about driving around the UK on holiday?’.

More than a third (34.4%) named ‘bad weather’ as the most stressful element of holiday trips around the UK.

Despite the unpredictable UK weather patterns, the popularity of ‘staycations’ has rocketed among Britons in recent years. Research carried out by travel marketing group Sojern shows that last summer saw a 23.8% rise in UK holiday bookings compared with the same period the previous year.

Claudia Finamore, the commercial manager at Hatchbag, said: “More and more Britons are choosing to holiday in the UK – regardless of the weather – making the most of the stunning scenery and coastline that the country has to offer and increasingly embracing the great outdoors. And why wouldn’t they, Britain has some of the most beautiful landscapes found anywhere in the world.”

Camping, glamping, and idyllic forest-style retreats have put a new spin on domestic tourism. Increasing numbers of Britons are turning to the less expensive — and environmentally friendly — UK-based option and away from the hassle and inflated costs associated with holidaying abroad.

The shift has led to a significant boost in the UK tourist industry, with market analysts Mintel predicting that the caravanning and camping market will be worth £3.2 billion by 2020.

Another issue associated with UK holiday road trips was ‘space management’, with one in five people admitting to finding packing and unpacking the car vexing.

This was particularly true among 25 to 44 year olds — the demographic most likely to be holidaying with children.

In fact, cramped conditions and mess created by mud and sand brought into a vehicle were cited by 17.9%  as a point of stress.

Claudia explains: “Unfortunately the car journeys to and from British holiday destinations can be stressful, particularly for young families who are likely to fill every bit of space in the car with holiday necessities.

“One way to help make car journeys more pleasant is to fit a wipe clean, protective bootliner into the car. Aside from reducing the amount of mess that is brought into the car, bootliners also help simplify packing and unpacking luggage and equipment. Bespoke configurations also allow flexibility with different seating configurations, ultimately increasing passenger comfort on the journey.”

According to Tourism Alliance statistics for 2017, almost 20 million UK sightseeing trips were taken by car.

Is your lifestyle reducing the future value of your car?

As the costs of motoring increase, fewer people are now in a position to buy a new or nearly new car outright. Instead, many motorists choose to opt for the tempting Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals offered by car manufacturers.

Unlike a hire-purchase agreement — where the customer owns the car once payments are complete — PCP allows motorists to pay lower monthly instalments over a shorter period of time. Then, at the end of the contract, they can simply hand the car back to the dealer and swap the expired deal for a fresh one on another new car, or purchase the car at its agreed Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV), which is specified in the initial contract.

As with all seemingly ‘win-win’ situations, there is a catch. Namely, how guaranteed this future value price actually is. Because it has been known for motorists to be financially penalised if their lifestyle subjects the vehicle to more wear and tear than the T&Cs allow.

To find out more about what motorists assume will affect the GMFV price on their car, boot-liner manufacturer Hatchbag ran a survey asking the UK public “What parts of a car do you think are likely to cost you money at the end of a lease?”  

Here’s what the survey revealed:

The results

As expected, motorists were most worried that damage to the bodywork would affect the GMFV when they returned the car to the dealer. Bumper scuffs, interior and window damage were also cited as being potential costs.

Surprisingly, the area that attracted the least amount of consideration was interior boot trim — the area of a vehicle that arguably receives the highest amount of daily wear and tear. With only 14.7% of respondents expressing concern, it highlights that the remaining 85.3% are at risk of facing financial penalties due to the state of their car boot.

Why is the boot such a key area for damage?

The primary purpose of the car boot is to transport larger bulky items, such as luggage, pushchairs or sports equipment. The very nature of these items means that they’re likely to rattle around in transit, potentially knocking or scraping against the interior of the boot and tailgate, not to mention the potential damage to the bumper that could be caused getting them into the boot in the first place.

The boot is also used to store items that might otherwise permanently stain the upholstery in the main seating area of the vehicle — such as muddy boots, wet coats and bags of food shopping— despite the fact that these items are equally likely to soil the interior of the boot. This also presents the additional risk of mould spores that become ground in to the boot lining if wet items aren’t removed immediately.

Boot damage can be a problem in any leased car; however, it is more of a risk in cars belonging to young families, pet owners and sport lovers.  Here’s why…

Families

More often than not, the primary requirement for a family car is size. It’s not rocket science to discover that larger cars generally come with a larger price tag, making families the ideal candidates to opt for a budget friendly PCP option.

Unfortunately, young families are also the sector who are most likely to subject their car to an excessive amount of wear and tear — possibly jeopardising their chance of receiving the car’s full ‘future value’.

This is because the car is often used for the following purposes:

Family holidays – A time when the boot is invaluable for storing lots of luggage and possibly camping and outdoor equipment. Factor in sandy buckets and spades, deckchairs, wind breaks, muddy tents, dirty walking boots and the obligatory wet swimwear and towels, and you have a boot full of items that are likely to deposit dirt, sand and water. There is also the added risk that a boot packed with assorted holiday items could scrape the interior walls and tailgate.

Kiddy gear – Young children notoriously come with a lot of equipment, from every-day items such as prams and strollers to activity equipment like bikes, scooters, roller skates and football kits. All of this gear has one thing in common – dirt, be it mud, grease or oil.

Shopping - Although this isn’t a problem exclusive to families, multiple shopping bags accelerate the risk of delicate items becoming damaged in transit and subsequently spilling out of their packaging. A leaked bottle of olive oil, juice, tomato sauce or red wine can wreak havoc on the boot interior, which no amount of scrubbing can completely remove.

Dog owners

Cars with larger boot spaces are also popular with dog owners, and are often used to transport dogs to and from muddy countryside walks. Inevitably, pet hair and mud will quickly become ingrained in the fabric lining of the boot, something that is difficult to prevent even with the use of dog cushions and blankets.

There is also the consideration that pets may become travel sick or have an ‘accident’ in transit. These stains — and their subsequent odours — can be particularly difficult to completely remove from a fabric boot lining. Some dogs also like to chew or scratch at the boot interior, causing irreparable damage.

Sport lovers

Larger cars aren’t exclusive to those who need to transport additional people or pets; sports lovers often opt for a car with lots of boot space to carry their equipment back and forth. It’s not unusual for boots of the neatest looking cars to be filled with golf clubs, fishing equipment, mountain biking and climbing gear, alongside football and general gym wear. Again, many of these items can create muddy or oily stains, plus scratch and scrape against the boot interior and possibly even rip the fabric lining.

Damage limitation

As there is such a grey area around what counts as ‘normal’ wear and tear on a vehicle, it pays to take precaution and protect your car from any potential damage where possible. External scratches to bodywork are often unavoidable; thankfully it is much easier to prevent internal damage. 

It is relatively easy to valet the front and back seats and footwells as you go to prevent stains appearing; with boot space it is generally better to take a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach.

One great way of ensuring that your boot is not subjected to damage is to fit a boot liner. Rather than throwing down a protective sheet — which is likely to bunch up or slip around, leaving areas of the boot lining unprotected — it is possible to purchase a wipe clean, padded boot liner designed specifically to fit the exact measurements of the make and model of your car. This secure fit means that every inch of the boot lining is protected from any potential damage.

By protecting the boot lining — and inside tailgate if necessary — there is no need to worry about how your lifestyle may be affecting the future value of your car. Instead, you can maximise those family outings, muddy walks and outdoor activities — the very reasons why you may have chosen that particular car in the first place.

The Best Ways to De-Ice (and Other Winter Car Care Tricks)

As the winter months draw in, the prospect of curling up by the fire with a hot chocolate, an outing for a crisp winter countryside walk, and a host of other winter activities may excite. Sadly, a host of less car-friendly weather conditions also approach, with one of the more arduous ones for car owners being that morning ritual of having to de-ice your frozen car before you can set off on your commute to work. The team here at The Hatchbag Company are familiar with that ordeal ourselves, so we went in search of the best ways to de-ice our cars, which we thought we’d share with you, as well as one or two other winter car care tricks that you can employ in the upcoming months. De-Bunking the Myths Before we recommend the ideal ways to de-ice your car, let’s get rid of a couple of unhelpful, but commonly used, methods for de-icing our cars. Namely, using a hot kettle for melting and a credit card for scraping. Hopefully you value your windscreen – and your credit card – too much to scrape the ice away with such a less than precise tool, given the scrapes it can cause, but we’d venture a guess that many of us have probably resorted to a boiling hot kettle to shift that windscreen ice when we’re in a rush to get on with our day. The problem is, the drastic and sudden temperature change can cause your windscreen to crack, and just because it hasn’t happened so far, doesn’t mean it won’t. We’d definitely favour being safe over sorry when it comes to your windscreen. Preparation is Key The method we’ve found to be the number one to share with you can be done in three different ways, but relies on the same key scientific fact; freezing temperatures. Basically, rather than introducing intense hot temperature to melt ice on your windscreen, get a step ahead and cover your windscreen with a solution that freezes at a lower temperature than normal water. Soak a towel in the solution and leave the towel on your windscreen overnight. There are three ways to make the solution:
  1. Saltwater Solution: mix up a saltwater solution and soak your towel in it, with saltwater helping to melt the ice.
  2. Alcohol Solution: if you don’t have salt, you can use a (two parts to one part water) alcohol solution instead.
  3. White Vinegar: there’s also the option to use a (three parts to one part water) white vinegar solution.
If you forget to leave your towel out overnight, you can make up a saltwater solution that you can then wipe or spray onto your windscreen in the morning, but this will obviously take a little while to get to work, and you’ll need to be careful to keep it targeted to the windscreen, as the saltwater may not agree with your car’s paint job. Other Tricks How to Melt Your Frozen Car Lock: This is one of our favourite little tricks, and it involves using a daily household item to solve the problem of a frozen car lock. That item is hand sanitizer. The alcohol contained within the gel will help to melt the ice, so just put a couple of drops on your key, or around the lock, and watch the ice melt away. How to Deal with a Foggy Windscreen: This advice comes in three parts. To prevent unnecessary moisture, never leave a bottle of liquid open in your car overnight. To wipe your windscreen without leaving marks, use a chalkboard eraser, while to suck moisture out of the interior of your car and prevent fogging, you can fill a stocking or a cloth bag with either rice or cat litter, both of which deal with moisture brilliantly.   We hope these tips will prove useful to you this winter. For more on protecting the interior of your car with one of our stylish and durable handmade custom boot liners, browse our range here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners