Written by Nancy Lova
Image by @sel.xo
Whether it’s your preferred method of travelling or looking for a new adventure, road trips have been a long favourite for many. They’re a wholesome way to spend quality time with family and friends and the perfect option see more of a place. With summer fast approaching, it’s pretty much time to plan your next vacation, so for those that will be driving to their destination or jetting off then hiring a car, here are some tips to have a successful road trip.
1) Have an itinerary ready
Having a car on a trip gives you flexibility and access to more. There’s a lot you can see and do compared to relying on other modes of transport. And because of this, it’s best to have a plan of sites you’d like to experience along your drive. My advice is to have a list of attractions in the order of your route and to allocate a set time for each one. Booking attractions or restaurants in advance helps to eliminate the chaos of queues and wait times. Fun quickly fizzles out when you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going.
2) Take the scenic route
You know how people often say ‘it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”? Well this is particularly true in this case. Whilst it’s tempting to whiz through motorways from A to B as quickly as possible, you can also miss a lot. The journey becomes boring and an impatient feeling arises of “are we there yet? When are we going to be there?”.
Sure, some extra time might be added but taking the scenic route allows you to admire the pretty landscapes of a place and makes the drive all the more interesting as you marvel over green rolling hills, ocean views or soaring skyscrapers.
3) Plan your rest stops in local spots
As someone who is constantly hungry and has the attention span of a meerkat, rest stops are a must. They don’t just have to feel like a necessity but a fun way to immerse yourself in your journey. Avoid the tourist traps and eat locally for a more chilled vibe and if you have to rest over night then why not stay somewhere locally too like a unique bed & breakfast or family-run boutique hotel. By doing so, you may learn more about another culture and have a more enriching experience.
4) Pack the essentials
There are items you may not usually consider packing when travelling but when on a road trip, there are a few essentials that are a must to consider.
1. Reusable water bottle to refill on stops and cut back on plastic
2. Healthy snacks for energy
3. An actual map because sat navs and apps are great but it’s good to have a backup
4. Tire repair kits just in case of any bumpy roads
5. Wet wipes, ideally multiple ones for the car, hands and face
6. First aid for any cuts or scrapes
7. A camera or dash cam to capture the memories!
5) Learn the rules of the road
Driving isn’t the same everywhere you go therefore it’s important to familiarise yourself with the rules beforehand. Learning vital driving information of a country like the speed limits, toll roads and how to overtake safely can determine the kind of road trip you’ll have.
For example, in the UK we’re actually quite fortunate to have frequent road signs dotted around but in some places you won’t see a single sign or traffic light for ages. This doesn’t mean there aren’t rules put in place.
Watch out for historical regions. There are bridges, roads, tunnels and entire areas that may not have any indication on whether you could drive through them or not but are in fact landmarks and are restricted to only pedestrians.
Another thing to note is to have change. Whilst we pretty much use cards everywhere, toll roads in numerous destinations still only take cash and only in the correct amount too! So cards and whole notes with the expectation of change won’t work.
Easiest way to conduct your research is to check out official tourism or government websites which give clear guidelines for visitors driving.