It’s official, I’m a Road Trip Addict! Having driven two epic routes in the past four months I have learned a thing or two when it comes to the basics of booking a road trip. So naturally, now it’s time to share my tips with you guys.
Whether you are in the planning stages of a big trip or you are simply thinking about maybe one day taking on a drive this guide should help! So I’ll start at the very beginning 😉
Decide where you want to go –
There’s so many amazing places in the world to see so make your road trip count, research your destinations and choose a road trip where it’s worth the drive! Sometimes it’s far easier and more scenic to jump on the train, or catch a boat or plane to your next destination so make sure the drive is worth it and you’re not going to be spending hours of your time driving through wasteland!
Plan the amount of days you have to travel –
Something so simple that actually makes a big difference before booking a road trip a this is not a usual holiday it will involve some planning! If you know you have a certain amount of hours to drive and a certain amount of stops along the way you can then plan your time accordingly.
If you book a road trip for seven days and then discover you are going to have to drive solidly for five of them it’s not ideal!
Book your flights –
Remember this won’t be a usual return flight, you’ll be travelling to and from two seperate locations. First look at single flights and then also check return packages from each of your planned locations. Return flights can sometimes work out cheaper so make sure you check both options just incase. For example when we flew to Chicago to drive Route 66 the single fare back from LA was more expensive than a round trip.
Hire your car –
This for me was the easy bit because (excuse the obvious pun) I used EasyCar. Easycar is an online comparison service working with a number of different car hire brands all over the world. I used them twice last year and they were fantastic, the operators are so helpful and work through your trip with you ensuring the pick up and drop off times are right as well as finding you the best price.
In most cases a one Way journey will include a surcharge from the car dealership as they will need to return the car after your journey ends but Easycar also factored this in. I know you can compare and book online but my recommendation would be to call them and speak to an operator. The number is 0333 250 2647.
Choose the right vehicle –
As appealing as aesthetics can be, choosing the right car is not about looks ladies and gents, the right car is very much dependent on your destinations during the trip. For example, if your drive involves getting in and out of the car often then you’re probably not going to want a lowered vehicle, if you plan to hit the beach during the day and drive through the night then consider getting a car with a big back seat so you can get changed and hang out your towels to dry, just a few examples. All common sense choices I know but trust me it’s so easy to fall for the attraction of a sports car and then spend 10 hours on the road with a suitcase jammed by your feet through lack of space 😉
Create a loose schedule –
Before traveling on each road trip I personally created a schedule for the drive. How many hours from one destination to the next and which attractions, hotels etc were on the way.
This plan was like a sheet of gold in both cases! It allowed us to know what we were potentially missing out on if we stayed in one location longer than originally planned and also kept us spending our time in all the right places. If we knew the following Town was pure city and we wanted more beach we decided to drive overnight rather than waste a day at the beach and at the same time if we fancied getting somewhere earlier than planned we knew where to make up the time on journeys.
Book hotels for the first and last night of the trip –
Book a night’s accommodation at the beginning and end of your trip, that way you won’t feel like you have to move on too soon from a location you love. I had every hotel planned out as a rough guide but didn’t book until the day. This worked out really well for us and we ended up staying in a few Air B&B’s on the way which was a great way of meeting new people and getting some local knowledge of the areas. With most hotels you can negotiate a price with them if you are booking last minute too 🙂
If you are too anxious to not have a hotel booked you can always look for rooms that don’t charge a cancellation fee or you can be more strict with your driving schedule but the fun of the road trip is mostly down to that care free attitude so I would suggest winging it 😉
Take your own Music –
The radio stations in other countries are so unpredictable and if you are driving some distance there will be a lot of gaps on the road when it comes to signal so make sure you have a CD handy! Our car wouldn’t connect to our phone whilst we were in Australia so we learnt this the hard way, don’t juts rely on your mobile else you’ll be listening to fuzz for the majority of your journey!