Road trips are brilliant, and if you’ve never taken one – it definitely needs to go to the top of your to-do list. It’s often tempting to just book a flight and skip out on all the scenery, but actually driving somewhere (if driving is possible) is one of the best ways to check out the local culture, the scenery and the landscapes.
I’ve taken a couple of road trips, my favourite ones were always in New Zealand – a place that is so incredibly beautiful, driving around it feels like you’re driving around a movie set (Lord of The Rings to be precise!). My husband and I also recently did a mini road trip around Scotland too, which was lovely – and needless to say, the scenery there was amazing too.
So here are my tips for planning the perfect road trip:
Plan your route (but don’t plan it too much)
It’s important to have a good idea of where you’re going and the route you’re taking. Plan for weather changes, plan for traffic, plan for landscapes and tricky roads such as coastal trails or mountains. Only do what you’re comfortable with (of course) and try and research which routes are the best for scenic views or great stop-offs.
Of course, even with all the planning in the world, you might still stumble across something unexpected you weren’t expecting to find or see. So don’t over schedule your days of driving. Allow yourselves time for exploring, leave a good hour or so for lunch or stretching your legs.
Find the right car
Finding the perfect car for your trip is really important, because the kind of car you’re driving will definitely alter how much you enjoy the trip. In NZ one of our road trips we did on a super small budget – so the car we rented had a tape player (!!) and the worst quality radio known to man. Now, we tend to splash out on a nicer car if we can – I know Pad enjoys driving sports cars.
Stock up on supplies
If you’re planning to drive out in rural places, make sure you stock up on supplies! Pack a picnic and a few bottles of water / juice / etc – to keep you going. In some places you never know where the next service station or shop will be – and you don’t want to be driving when you’re thirsty of hungry (that’s when concentrate flies out the window). Pick things that are easy to eat too (don’t choose messy food).
Figure out logistics
Figure out where there are toilets along the way, where the local pubs and cafes are (for lunch breaks), figure out where the petrol stations are, etc. It’s good to know a rough idea of these things beforehand. It’s even easier now with apps like Google or Siri – as you can just ask them, and they’ll tell you. Saying that though – don’t rely on 4G or 3G, because if you’re headed somewhere super rural, there may not be signal.
Make a playlist
Make a playlist is high on my list of ‘making the journey enjoyable’. Includes songs you both love (the driver and the passenger) and whack a few wild cards in there too. Remember to download the playlist into offline mode too (you don’t want to be streaming on bad 3G the whole time). Spotify and Apple Music are the obvious choices – I use both and don’t really have a preference.
Really nice tips. It is also useful to find some places to relax, enjoy the scenery, eat or have a cup of coffee in advance. Such stops and breaks for at least half an hour can make your road trip even more memorable than just a regular vacation.