Everyone wants to do it before they hit 30, right? Even those who can’t drive – and there’s always one who’ll tag along. Yes, I’m talking about a road trip! Driving down the long and winding roads, with the wind in your hair/beard/bald head (sorry), you can go where you like with only the speed limit and possibly the width of your vehicle restricting you. But before you set off like an excited firework, it’s worth keeping these tips in mind:
Plan where you want to go…
At least have a vague idea! There’s nothing worse than assuming there’ll be somewhere to stay, only to discover that the weekend you’re there is the annual bow-tie tying contest and all the hotels in the local area were booked up months ago. So try to map out the places you definitely want to visit, where you’re likely to stay, and what sites you want to see.
…but make allowances for unexpected stops
See an interesting landmark you want to explore? Do it! Feel the need for a cooked meal in a sweet roadside diner? Listen to your stomach! Bored of the planned routes and fancy a detour? As long as you’ve got enough in the tank then go for it – this is a once in a lifetime trip after all!
Choose your travel companions carefully
Remember how much time you’re going to have to spend with these people in a confined space. So if Jonny’s jokes annoy you just a bit when you’re in the pub, think how grating he’ll be when he’s making wisecracks about your terrible driving, coming up with puns about every city you go through or reading out every sign you go past.
Use a reliable, spacious vehicle
It’s no good taking an old, beautiful banger on a road trip if it can’t hold your baggage and it’s going to break down after 50 miles. Consider renting out a van, or maybe even buying a new or second-hand one if you think you’ll get the buzz and end up doing it again! If you have a good credit rating, you could consider taking out a loan, than trying to work it all out yourself.
Take turns to drive
It goes without saying that driving for too long is dangerous, but it can also get boring just staring out the window too. So make sure that you switch driver every couple of hours, and that you get a chance to stretch your legs. Don’t forget to make sure that all the drivers are insured on the vehicle too.
Listen to your dad – take a paper map!
Apps are great, but what happens when your mobile runs out of battery, or you can’t pick up GPS? Maps are great and they’re reliable (assuming they’re up to date!), and also help to give you a better overview of your route than scrolling across a tiny smartphone screen.
The bottom line is, enjoy it and don’t break the law!