Road trips are a fantastic way to see a country. You can take your time and stop whenever you feel like it, and you get to see parts of the country which would otherwise be missed if travelling by plane or train. So, continuing on our road-trip-series around the globe, we thought it will be a good idea to share some great tips so that your road trip becomes more enjoyable. This is a list of things you can do beforehand and during your journey so that it’s an all-round successful trip.
Whether you live in mega metropolitan cities like Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Delhi, London etc., or historical and touristy destinations like Goa, Nagasaki etc., everyone loves to go out for a quick trip during the weekends. It takes us away from the hustle-bustle of regular life.
If you are planning to take these weekend trips post-COVID-19 lock-downs, you need to be careful. Although short road-trips are one of the safest travel options after the peak of the pandemic is over, but everyone still needs to take precautions. Try to avoid crowded places. If you rent a car or bike, don’t forget to wash/sanitise it properly before driving.
Awesome Tips for Amazing Road Trips!
International Drivers License
Having an international driver license depends on the country/countries you plan on visiting. It’s always best to research into this in advance, as the process can sometimes take a few weeks.
Countries which require an international drivers license will often have expensive fines in place for tourists who don’t have one, so to avoid unwanted costs and stress, it’s a good idea to apply for one.
It’s also important to keep this document alongside your original driving license (and other important documents such as insurance and rental details) at hand at all times. That way if you are stopped, you can resolve the issue quickly and continue with your trip.
Research Your Destination and Plan Ahead
Although it might be tempting to wing it and embark on a spontaneous road trip (in some cases it’s a great idea), the chances of things going wrong decrease dramatically when a little pre-planning has taken place.
Understanding a bit about your destination will help you determine things such as the type of vehicle which is suitable for that terrain, the distance you’ll need to drive, and whether you need to pre-book accommodation or find overnight stays along the way.
It’s also a good idea to read through the rules and regulations of your destination, so you know what to expect when driving and parking.
Choose The Right Vehicle
Following on from researching your destination, it’s just as important to have chosen the right type of vehicle for your road trip. If you’re planning to rent a vehicle for your road trip, the suggestions below should help you narrow down your choices.
Keep in mind that some rental companies offer a discount if you book in advance, and airport rental companies can often be more expensive than companies based in towns and cities.
Things to take into consideration are:
- How many people are embarking on the road trip
- What type of roads you’ll be driving on
- The cost of renting the vehicle (and the cost of gas/petrol in your destination)
- The weather conditions of your destination
This is essential for having a smooth road trip. For example, if you’re planning on visiting small towns in the north of Italy, a small car to get around in would be perfect as the roads are generally quite narrow. Alternatively, if you’re planning a road trip along The Great Ocean Road in Australia, you can spring for a slightly larger vehicle as the roads are emptier and wider.
ALSO READ: 5 Gorgeous roads to ride in India
Prepare Your Electronics
We rely on technology more than ever, and if you’re lucky you might rent a newer car with all the bells and whistles such as inbuild GPS and streaming options for music. Either way, having your devices organized can be a life saver in some situations.
Make sure you have a car charger for your mobile, so that running out of battery is never an option. It’s also a good idea to have some local maps of your destination downloaded, including offline maps which don’t require access to the internet.
A tip which can never hurt is to have the local emergency services number at hand on your mobile, as well as your insurance and breakdown details. This avoids wasting time if you’re in an unfortunate situation, as you’ll have quick and easy access to all your important information should you need it.
Finally, make sure you’ve got some music prepared! This links in with researching your destination. For some, downloading popular songs native to their road trip destination can boost the atmosphere and inject some culture into their experience, whilst others prefer to listen to their favourite tunes and sing along.
Take a Map!
Whilst technology is what you’ll primarily rely on, we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve lost signal or battery. Take a traditional, hand held map along with you and you may be surprised at how fun it can be to track your road trip on paper.
If you’re travelling with kids, it’s a fun way to teach them how to navigate using a map and it’s a great skill for them to learn.
Anticipate The Best, But Prepare For The Worst
A road trip is always a great adventure, but spending a short amount of time preparing yourself and your vehicle can help avoid unwanted situations. Whether you plan on driving your own vehicle or renting one, make sure the vehicle is well serviced and ready for a long journey.
In addition, check your insurance options, as most rental companies include insurance and it’s important to know what you’re signing up for.
Some credit card companies offer breakdown coverage which might be more cost-effective than taking out coverage with your insurance or rental company.
ALSO READ: Delhi-Leh Road Trip: one of the most spectacular road trips ever!
Hopefully you’ll come across some great eateries along your road trip, but it’s a good idea to have some snacks on hand in case you don’t! Snacks which are high in energy are a good option, such as fruit and nutrition bars.
You don’t want to stuff yourself as this can make you sleepy, instead have light snacks at spaced intervals which will keep you alert and stave off hunger until you have a proper meal.
In addition, keeping hydrated is equally as important, so keep a few bottles of water in the car at all times.
Clean Your Vehicle
This may seem irrelevant to your road trip, but it makes a big difference. Having a clean vehicle will keep you and your passengers feeling stress free and calm. Clutter can often be distracting, especially if it’s from food wrappers which may leave strong odors.
A good tip is to clean out your vehicle every time you stop at a restaurant, accommodation or service station. This stops any build up and keeps the car clean and smelling fresh.
ALSO READ: Weekend road trips from Kuala Lumpur
Plan for Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks is essential, not only for the driver but for everyone in the vehicle. It’s important to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and take your focus off the road for short periods of time.
Not taking breaks regularly can lead to exhaustion and can easily bring on headaches and loss of concentration. If you are travelling with kids, it’s equally as important for them to have a run around and release energy (a bonus for parents as well), as it will also tire them out so they might sleep better.
Take The Most Scenic Routes
The quickest way is usually the least exciting, as motorway/highway travel can become one long grey blur. Instead, make the most of your road trip (if time permits) and find routes which will expose you to the real and raw beauty of your destination. Check to see if there are any national parks, coastal routes or countryside lanes along your route. They might take longer but they’ll make a world of difference to your road trip!
Finding the most scenic routes might seem difficult during your planning stage, but you’ll be surprised how much information is available online from other travellers. If you’re not having good luck searching for scenic routes online, you can always wait until you arrive at your destination and ask the locals which routes they would recommend.
Although it’s great to plan ahead and be prepared, it’s just as important to allow for some spontaneity and flexibility. Planning is great as long as you keep it to the essentials and you don’t overdo it.
We hope the above recommendations help you organize your road trip and reduce the chances of things going wrong, and most importantly, allow you to thoroughly enjoy your journey!
This guest post was contributed by Kiran from The Great Ocean Road Collective – a website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel, visit – The Great Ocean Road Australia’s website.