Taking a road trip is one of the most independent and freeing ways you can travel. It allows you to see far more of a country than you would if you relied solely on public transport, and it gives you the flexibility to be a little spontaneous with your itinerary. Perhaps you’d like to spend longer in one place than you previously thought, or maybe you’ll decide to change your route along the way because of the weather. If you haven’t driven abroad before the prospect can be a little daunting, but with a bit of pre-planning and awareness, you can ensure you’ll have an incredible road trip and might just fall in love with this style of travelling.
We’ve done several road trips all over the world, so have picked up a few top tips along the way on not only how to survive, but how to thrive. So, here’s what we think you should consider when planning your very first road trip:
Route & Navigation
You might like the spontaneous prospect of a road trip, and perhaps don’t want a rigid itinerary to follow, but it’s always a good idea to have a general idea of routes, roads and potential overnight stops so you’ll be less stressed when you’re out there. Plan your route on a map before you leave home, and work out driving distances and times so you can decide how far you want to travel each day.
Remember to consider the road size and condition too, as often what looks like an easy stretch on a map can turn out to be much more arduous than you expect in real life. Also think about how the weather might affect your route, especially if you’re travelling at higher altitude in the mountains, or during winter.
Whilst these days it’s relatively simple to navigate using smart phones and sat nav technology, it can be useful to have a good old paper map to hand too, just in case the batteries fail or you lose signal. Plus it’s kind of fun doing it the old fashioned way sometimes!
Comfort & Style
You might be road tripping in your own car, or you could decide to hire a vehicle for that extra bit of comfort. Remember you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the car driving along those long and winding highways, so it’s important you have something you’ll be comfortable sitting in, and that has enough space for your luggage too.
Depending on the destinations you’ll be visiting and where you’ll be staying along the way, you might want to really up the luxury and arrive at in style, in which case classic models like Jaguar Cars will give you a real taste of classy road trip life. And to make things run as smoothly as possible, you can find good spare parts for your Jaguar here EUspares.co.uk. You just never know when you might need to do a running repair!
Before heading out on your road trip adventure you should always make sure you have adequate insurance to cover both you and the vehicle just in case something goes wrong. Accidents do happen, so take the worry out of the experience by knowing you’ll be covered if the worst happens. If you’re using your own vehicle, you should already have insurance, but do check the policy to ensure it covers your destination if you’re heading abroad.
If you’re hiring a car, it’s a good idea to buy excess waiver insurance cover, but we recommend you purchase this online rather than directly from the rental company as you’ll find it much cheaper yourself.
You’re going to be driving long distances, so it’s advisable to have an idea of where the service stations and fuel stops are along your route. This is especially important if you’re going to be travelling through remote and rural areas during your trip, as sometimes it can be several hours between filling stations and you don’t want to run out of fuel half way around.
If you’re self-catering or camping then make a note of larger towns and supermarket locations so you can stock up on supplies at the cheapest places. Another great tip is investing in a small car fridge, which works just like a cool box but plugs into the dashboard to keep your fresh produce nice and chilled. This is ideal for picnics enroute too!
Local Traffic Laws
If you’re driving abroad, the chances are the rules of the road will be somewhat different to what you’re used to at home. So it’s important to read up about road law in the destination you’re visiting to make sure you’re complying with the regulations whilst you’re travelling around. An obvious one is which side of the road you should drive on, but there are lots of others including different traffic light patterns and signals, unusual right of way rules at roundabouts, and use of headlights throughout the day.
If you follow these 5 simple tips you’ll be off to a great start on your road trip.
Have you been on a road trip? What top tips for first-timers would you add?