There’s nothing better than a road trip to explore the world at your own pace. Either with family, friends or even alone a road trip gets you hands one experience with everything a country or several has to offer.
The views you see on a road trip can’t be seen by flying or by train, the people you meet, the overnight stops in towns that otherwise you would have never known, are unique to driving around the country (or countries) and America and Canada are designed for this. The roads are good and well maintained and the signage is clear as well as pit stops conveniently located along the way. Also a road trip in Europe is special since you drive through several countries with their own culture and language in a matter of days or even hours! Driving from France, through Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark all the way to Sweden or even Finland would probably fill anyone with amazing memories. Or from south of Italy, through Switzerland and France to Spain and Portugal. What a feast! Or why not just from one corner to the other of any European country?
All you need is a reliable car, GPS (updated) and a plan.
Road Trip Essentials:
- Have a reliable car. Rent one if needed and settle for the best car in regards to space as per the number of people travelling.
- Make sure passport, driving licence and insurance documents are valid if crossing borders.
- Make a plan and reserve accommodations according to it in good time. Leave enough time to reach the destination and find the hotel. Have a picture of the hotel building in your cell/mobile phone so you know what to look for.
- Research the travel route thoroughly and find out where the gas stations, restaurants and service stations are.
- Have the essentials in the car not in the trunk/boot. Water, snacks, phone charger, sunglasses etc.
- Bring along cutlery, bottle opener and cups, scissors and first aid kits.
- Necessary medication such as painkillers should be handy.
- A cooler, water bottles, a flashlight, batteries.
- Blanket and pillows. Toilet paper. Paper maps just in case, never rely 100% on GPS.
- Jumper cables for car battery if car is not a rental.
- Don’t stop for hitchhikers.
- Let family, friends relatives know where you are travelling from and to. Update daily.
- Make a list with all the attractions on your route, with websites and opening hours
- Have a paper list with all hotels you have reservations for with phone number to call in case you’ll be late or early.
- Book eventual tours online ahead of time, there’s usually a discount for that
- If travelling to countries where you don’t speak the language, download a good translation app and learn some useful phrases ahead of time
- Research the speed limits on roads for your route ahead of time. Many times the speed limits aren’t posted. In US and Canada speed limits vary and what goes in one town may be a fineable offence in another.
- Plug adapter if you’re travelling from North America to Europe or from Europe to North America.
- Since road trips are mainly a summer activity the amount of clothes necessary should not be too big but good planning is essential.
- Always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the car if its a rental before you set off. Some controls vary from brand to brand and also the transmission may be not what you are used to. Automatic in North America and manual/standard in Europe.
There are many ideas for road trips and this is where suggestions are more than welcomed! Leave a comment below with road trips you took or will like to take in the future!