There is no doubt, road trips are great. Whatever country you travel through, Thelma & Louise and Jack Kerouac will certainly play a role in your thoughts. A successful road trip is an experience in a lifetime. The ability to just get up and go and the absolute tension of the unknown. Where are you going to sleep? Where are you going to eat? When will you reach the next stop? It is up to you to choose where you are going, when you go and what your budget will be. In this guide we will share some tips on how to plan your road trip.
That is a great place to start. Enter your starting location and your destination to get an idea how long it will take to get there. Adjust the route and view the different roads you can take and how long they will take in their turn. You can also see if you are only a few hours away from a certain place that you had not thought of at first, but where you would like to go. Make sure you have mapped out a basic route, your A to B, to name it that way, but be flexible in it and do plan every kilometer. Calculate in your travel planner some space for an unexpected detour, for a spontaneous decision and for times when you are curious to go and see something outside the route.
What car will you use?
What kind of car you need depends on your destination, the type of journey and how many people you travel with. Consider how likely it is that you need a 4WD, what the height of the vehicle should be or whether you would rather take a convertible. Make sure you book in advance, choose kilometer-free (unless you are absolutely certain of the length of the trip) and take out insurance! If it is a long journey of a few months or more, then you might prefer to buy a second-hand car and sell it again when you return. Make sure you have a good check of such a car before you close the sale, because the last thing you want is to end up with a breakdown, somewhere in no man's land!
Highways are fast, but then you miss so much. If possible (taking into account the time and terrain), try to take the less busy roads. With this travel advice you will really be able to view many more sights, meet the locals and take roads that you would otherwise never have seen. Do you see a sign with the name of a strange sounding ghost town or a crazy tourist attraction? Go for it! This is your chance. Spontaneity is the motto on road trips.
Choose your accommodation
It might be tempting to stay in a brand new resort, but why not try an unique B & B? Or that kitschy motel down the street? You can book your accommodation in advance, but this gives you less flexibility in your travel itinerary. Depending on your budget - and your vehicle - you may want to consider camping instead of staying in hotels or motels. It is cheap, simple and a great way to meet people. Do you have a camper or a van, you can even sleep in your car at some campsites, or caravan sites. Camping is sometimes even allowed on parking lots of pumping stations.
Yes, Google Maps is great for navigation, but a paper map also has some charm. You'll be surprised how useful they can be - both to figure out where you are and to write down notes during unplanned stops (also think about the nostalgic value of those notes when you get back home).
Check local regulations
Make sure you are familiar with the traffic rules of the country you are visiting. Tips and advice about Europe can be obtained from the AA, about Australia from the official tourist site and about the US (note, since each state has its own rules) from USA.gov. If you are traveling to a country in Asia, check the driving advice for tourists on the website of the government of that country or on the official tourist site.
Take the smaller roads, step outside your own comfort zone and go exploring - but use common sense. Listen to advice, always let someone know where you are and where you are going - and do not take unnecessary risks.A more practical advice is to always have a few liters of water in your car. This can literally save your life. If you have space for it, an extra container of fuel is not a bad idea either (but check the rules of the country or area you are traveling through - sometimes you may only carry a very small amount of extra fuel with you).