How To Plan An Unforgettable Road Trip

June 2, 2021

There are many reasons why you might want to embark upon a road trip. This is due to the fact that it is truly a vacation like no other, where exploration, adventure and freedom meet – creating lifelong memories for everyone involved. However, in order to pull off a successful road trip, you have to be prepared to do a little bit of planning ahead of time.  

With that in mind, here are some tips for planning the perfect road trip! 

Photo by Natalie Rhea on Unsplash

Deal with the boring stuff first. When getting ready to hit the open road, the last thing you want to be doing is working your way through stacks of boring paperwork – but it’s important that you have everything in order before you travel so that you do not run into any problems further down the line. For example, if you were heading to the US, you’ll need to ensure that you have the appropriate VISA or ESTA so that you can travel freely. Thankfully, you can start your ESTA application online – and you can find more info here. In addition to obtaining the proper travel documentation, you should ensure there are no problems with your driving licence and check the insurance requirements of the company you are hiring the car from.

Sort out your budget. The first step towards planning a successful trip is deciding upon your budget (how much money you can realistically set aside to dedicate to your travels). Remember, despite common misconception, there are plenty of ways in which you can travel on a strict budget. For example, you can use price comparison sites to save money on airline feeds, travel insurance and even accommodation. Travelling on a budget means finding a way to cut your expenses, not your experience.   

Choose your route. A well thought out route could be the difference between a boring trip and an exciting one – as it will allow you to tick everything off your bucket list as you drive between different towns and cities, as opposed to wasting time by going doubling back on yourself. Thankfully, you don’t have to plan the route on your own either, as you could embark upon some of the best road trip routes around the world, which are well-tried and tested, meaning they are sure to be a success. 

Book your accommodation. Unless you fancy sleeping in your car, you’ll likely have to find a few places to stay during your travel. Thankfully, there are various cost-effective options for you to consider, such as: 

  • Motels
  • Hotels
  • Campsites 
  • Lodges
  • Hostels
  • Airbnbs
  • Apartment rentals.

Regardless of your preferences, booking accommodation early is a great way to save money as many companies offer discounts for this kind of booking. Furthermore, it reduces the chances of disappointment if the area is particularly busy or popular amongst tourists. 

Get everything sorted at home before your travel. Whether you are planning on travelling for several months or just a few weeks, it’s essential that you can focus on living in the moment and waste any time thinking about life back at home. This means that you need to ensure that you have a plan in place for who is looking after your home while you are away (including feeding pets and watering plants). You may also want to consider installing some kind of home security system for greater peace of mind. Furthemore, if you are expecting important letters in the post, you may want to consider a digital mailbox – which allows you to check mail from anywhere in the world (so long as you have an internet connection). 

Ensure your car is well stocked. While you’ll likely bring along a suitcase (or two) full of your clothes and belongings, you also need to ensure that your rental car is well stocked for the journey. For example, you should ensure you have easy access to items such as: 

  • A first aid kit.
  • An emergency repair kit.
  • Contact details for emergency services/ breakdown services. 
  • Food and drink.
  • Water (and refillable water bottles). 
  • Sun Cream/After Sun.
  • Medication/prescriptions.
  • Portable charger.  
  • Insurance information/details.
  • Necessary documentation (Booking confirmations, flights, etc.) 

Live like a local. If you’re wanting to get an authentic feel for a town or city, whether it be a bustling metropolis or remote countryside location, try to avoid the popular tourist traps you’ll see dotted around the high street. Instead, ask locals for recommendations on things to do or see and places to eat. This also means that you’ll get to enjoy authentic cuisine that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Furthemore, local eateries are often far cheaper than chains or tourist hotspots, helping you remain within your budget. 

Keep your schedule varied. While you may have an ever-growing list of things you want to see or do in each city, try to keep your days as varied as possible. For example, after several hours behind the wheel, you should choose lighthearted afternoon activities that don’t require too much energy, such as dining out and visiting museums. Then, after a good night’s sleep, you can choose something a little more adventurous such as a sports visit. Doing something different every day is also a great way to keep yourself entertained. 

Don’t drive when you are feeling tired. While you’ll likely want to remain on your pre-agreed schedule (especially if you have booked hotels etc.), it’s important that you know your limits when driving and plan around them. For example, you should always add a few hours onto potential travel times to accommodate for the unexpected, such as traffic jams or diversions. Furthermore, you should always be prepared to take a rest as and when you need one. While continuing to drive may help you reach your destination quicker, you could be putting yourself, your family and others on the road at risk by driving when tired. When planning your route, make a note of potential rest stops such as restaurants, cafes or gas stations where you can spend some time out of the car, stretch your legs or grab a coffee. 

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