Road trips are a great way to explore the world around you whether it is the local countryside or a completely different country to the one you reside in.
There’s nothing quite like the freedom that comes with knowing you have the time snd the means to explore your destination of choice at leisure with the wind in your hair and the road ahead of you.
However, if you have never been on a road trip before, planning your first one can also make you pretty apprehensive. That’s why I’ve put together a few basic tips for beginners looking to plan an amazing first trip:
Ensure you know the rules of the road
Once you have settled on the destination for your first road trip, it is important that you learn the rules of the road. It may be a long time since you were studying to get ready for driving test day, and you may think that you know all there is to know about driving, but if you are doing it in a different country, there is every chance that the rules and regulations will be different and the more prepared you are for them, the less likely it is you will get into trouble on your trip.
Plan your itinerary
One of the best things about going on a road trip is that you are in total control. You are driving the car, which means you can decide where to go and when to stop and check out that cool and unexpected attraction. So, you could be forgiven for thinking that you don’t need a plan for your travels.
However, it is a really good idea to have an, at least, loose itinerary in place so that you can ensure that you cover all of the miles you want to in the time you have available to you and so that you can book accommodation and events ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to have an itinerary so you can give a trusted friend or family member back home a copy, so should you get into trouble, they will know roughly where you should be when seeking help.
Of course, you can leave a little time free in case you come across an amazing roadside attraction that wasn’t in the guide books and you want to explore but try to have a loose plan in place if you can.
Get the car serviced
If you are taking your own car, rather than hiring one for your trip, then it is of the utmost importance that, before you set off on your journey, you take the time to have your vehicle serviced by a fully qualified mechanic. When you’re spending so much more time on the road, there is more chance that your vehicle will be put under pressure, and therefore break down or become unsafe in some way. Having it serviced beforehand will reduce the odds of this happening.
However, I think that hiring a car for your road trip, if you can afford to do so is a better way of doing things as you can choose a quality car, with more room and apace than your own, which is in good condition to get you around. It makes the whole experience feel safer and that bit more special than it would if you take your own car.
Book accommodation in advance
When you’re road-tripping, it can be tempting to play things by ear and try to find a hotel or hostel or whatever whenever you feel like stopping, but when it’s your first time on the road and you’re in a place you haven’t visited before, it is a better idea to book accommodation in advance.
When you’re spending most of your time in the car already, the last thing you want is to have to sleep in the car because you couldn’t find any place with a spare room to rent. Not only that, but if you plan carefully, you can book accommodation at regular intervals to avoid you getting too tired and driving on past the point of fatigue, which could be dangerous for you and anyone else you encounter on the road.
Choose travel companions carefully
Although solo road trips can be a lot of fun, when it’s your first one, you are probably going to want to bring a friend along to share the driving and keep you company, as well as helping you to feel a bit safer out there. It is imperative that you choose your travel companion carefully.
Why? Not only because being confined in a car for several hours a day with someone who starts to irritate you is no way to have a fun travel experience but also because the wrong travel companion could be dangerous. If they don’t take driving safely seriously or they’re prone to distracting you in some way, it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
So, be sure to choose someone who is fun, easy to get along with, and sensible and you can almost guarantee a great trip together.
Pack the essentials
When you’re travelling anywhere by any means it is important to pack the essentials that will keep you safe and comfortable. When it comes to a road trip, that usually means that you have a first aid kit, emergency blankets, flashlights and jump lights – as well as any tools that will help you patch up your vehicle should you get lost. A GPS is also essential, but you might want to also pack a paper map in case the technology fails you.
Of course, you will also want to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks so that if you cannot find a safe place to stop, you can stay well fed and hydrated, thus reducing your chances of getting into an accident.
As you can see, planning an epic road trip is not as difficult as you might imagine, but it is really important that you do take the time to prepare if you want your road trip to go without the slightest hitch! Have fun and stay safe out there!