A life hack is a low-budget, alternative - and often very creative – trick to make day-to-day activities that little bit easier. Whether it’s using your sunglasses as a phone stand, or colour coding your keys with nail polish, life hacks help you carry out everyday tasks in a more efficient and fun way.
But because cars are our thing, and the family road trip season is upon us, we wanted to help you out with some simple car hacks to improve any family road trip.
1. USE A CEREAL CONTAINER FOR AN IN-CAR BIN
If only our cars had a bin to keep all those scrunched up receipts and chocolate bar wrappers from ending up on the floor or down the side of the seats.
Luckily, all you need is a cereal container and a shopping bag and then job done! You have a fully functioning car bin fitted with a nifty lid.
If it slots nicely into the side panel of a door, or another storage space then even better.
2. CHECK YOUR TYRE TREAD WITH A 20P COIN
Who knew the 20p coin in your pocket could tell you if your car tyres are safe to hit the road.
This is a crucial car check before any road trip and according to tyresafe.org, if the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted into the main grooves of the tyre, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth.
If this is the case then make sure you get them checked by a qualified service technician before you set off.
Remember to use the 20p coin to check a variety of spots around the tyre to give them a good once over.
3. USE BUGGY CLIPS TO HANG YOUR SHOPPING
Put your buggy clips to good use during a road trip by clipping them around the head rest of the driver or passenger seats.
With a boot full of luggage, this can be an incredibly useful hack for creating extra storage space.
4. PUT UP A HANGING SHOE RACK FOR LOTS OF EXTRA STORAGE
Talking of using buggy clips for storage, hanging shoe racks can also be the perfect solution for organising road trip essentials. Fill it with games, tech devices, books, car accessories and even, well…shoes.
5. USE AN ICE SCRAPER TO COLLECT AND REMOVE PET HAIR
Once the frosty weather eases up, keep your ice scraper handy. They’re great for scraping off pet hair or dry mud, left behind from country walks.
Once you’ve scraped, just turn it over to scoop up the hair.
6. IN-CAR WINDOW STORAGE
Suction shower caddies or even bird feeders make for nifty little in-car storage units.
Just simply stick them onto a rear window in a place that doesn’t obstruct the driver’s vision. Then fill it with stuff to keep the kids entertained for the long drive such as games, pens and books.
Not only will you keep the kids happy, but you’ll also maintain a clean and tidy car – providing they put it all back!
7. USE A SHOE TO HOLD YOUR DRINKS BOTTLE
Not all cars have enough cup holders to suit a family of five, which can be a logistical nightmare.
Luckily, you can just stick a drinks bottle in a spare shoe. It’ll keep it in one place and prevent fizzing.
You might even have enough room to stick an ice-pack down the side to keep it cool.
We know we’re stating the obvious, but just make sure you use a clean shoe.
8. VITAMIN TUBE FOR LOOSE CHANGE
Never again fall victim of being penniless when it comes to paying for parking. Keeping an empty container, such as a vitamin tube, gives you a great place to drop all your loose change into when you’re out and about.
That way, you’ll always have cash at hand when you most need it on your road trip.
9. DOUBLE UP YOUR PICNIC BLANKET AS A CAR SEAT COVER AND DOG BED
For the many among us who can’t go anywhere without their beloved pooch, fold up one of your picnic blankets and turn it into a comfy dog bed on one of the back seats.
Not only will your dog have a comfy snooze on the way, but it’ll save your car from getting covered in hair or scratches.
Additional tip: mark the side of the blanket that the dog sits on to make sure you know which side of the blanket to place on the floor when you get to your destination - no one likes hair in their sandwiches!
10. CAR VISOR SUNGLASSES HOLDER
Want to know how to easily grab your sunglasses without fiddling with the case or having them rolling around the dashboard getting scratched?
Easy, just wrap a head band or elastic strap around your sun visor and slot your sunglasses in. That way they’re always at arm’s reach.