Are you looking to plan a road trip and not quite sure where to start? Whether you’re a first-time traveler, or just looking for some ideas to turn your trip into an adventure of a lifetime, we’ve put together a list of our top tips for you below.
By Vera Staiger
1) Prep your car
Whether you hire a classic campervan or travel by car, your wheels will be your home during your trip, so make sure it feels like one. Pack blankets, pillows, some battery-powered lights and whatever else you need to add comfort to your temporary abode. Especially if your trip is longer than a few days and you plan to use your van as a sleeper, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be warm and cosy. Life on the road can be more luxurious than you might think!
2) Create a playlist
Road trips are about making unforgettable memories and nothing adds more nostalgic value to a trip than great music to play on the road. Plus, adding songs to a playlist in advance is a fun way to get excited for your upcoming trip. Just make sure to pack a USB wire or speaker to connect your phone.
3) Get lost
Sometimes you find the most amazing things when you’re not looking for them. Got a little time to spare? Why not take a detour and follow road signs for sights and attractions along the way? Get lost and you might find yourself checking out ruins of a historic church, hiking through a nature reserve or having lunch next to a beautiful waterfall. Spontaneity can only add great stories to your journey!
4) Sleep in the car
At least do it once. You might have this on your checklist already, or maybe you want to alternate between camping, glamping and indoor accommodation. Whichever way you decide to travel, don’t miss out on the thrilling feeling of freedom you get when you spend a night parked up under a starry sky in a hidden spot, surrounded only by the sounds of nature.
5) Take a deck of cards
Playing cards have many uses, which makes them a perfect road game essential. As well as keeping you entertained on long drives, they also come in handy for long nights by a camp fire, drinking games and socialising with other travellers or locals you meet along the way.
6) Document your adventure
It might seem obvious, but make sure to get pictures and videos from life on the road. Create something to take away from your trip. Whether it’s a photo book, a collection of souvenirs or videos of the view from the window. Tip: Apps like FindPenguins allow you to create and print your own personal travel book with pictures and journal entries from every leg of your journey.
7) Bring a cool box for the car
You’ll be on the road for a while so sooner or later you’ll get peckish. Pack some lunch and stock up on snacks to avoid motorway service station prices. If you don’t already own one, invest in an electric car cooler. It will be worth it. Imagine being stuck in traffic inside a car on a hot summer day. Having access to cool drinks and fresh sandwiches will feel like luxury. Of course, also make sure to stay hydrated and keep enough water on board.
8) Ask a local
Often, tourist attractions are popular for a reason, but if you truly want to see the heart and soul of an area, get chatting to its residents. Asking a local for their favourite things to see, do and eat in their town can lead you to unexpected treasures.
9) Take the scenic route
Have a look at the route in advance to see your options. On long journeys, motorways can be a fast way to get you to your destination. However, if you have got the time, it may well be worth taking the longer, scenic route. You’ll see more of the surrounding countryside, coastlines or towns and villages along the way.
10) Stay safe & check local road guidelines
Driving abroad can seem daunting at first, so make sure you are clued up on local traffic rules and restrictions before you start. For example, speed limits in most European countries are shown in km/h, many countries like France, Italy or Switzerland require tolls or a vignette on motorways and road signs can vary depending on where you are. You can find information on traffic rules in European countries on the AA website.