We love to road trip. We have lived in the back of a (very small) van for 3 months while road tripping around the States; We have driven through the jungle areas of Costa Rica; And we have road tripped through Europe in the middle of summer.
Road tripping gives you a freedom, which is different to other types of travel. You do not have to follow a set itinerary; you can come and go as you feel like it. Some towns you pass through you will simply do just that; pass through. Others you will fall in love with and extend your time there so you can explore it further.
Some people go with a set itinerary and that is okay too. In fact, if you are thinking of a summer road trip, it might be essential you plan in order to book accommodation during peak periods. Either way, being on the open road is an experience everyone should have at least once in their life.
Before you embark on your road trip there are several things you need to consider. Here I have listed a few of those items you need to think about before getting on the road. These are by no means the most important, just a few that are commonly forgotten when planning the trip.
Music is an integral part of any road trip! The drive can seem awfully long and quiet without some of your favorite tunes pumping in the background. But don’t reply on the radio. You may find yourself in remote areas, not within reach of the radio stations, so make sure to have an iPod handy for those times. Set a play list with your favorite road trip songs and cruise to the music!
This might be an obvious one but lately I have read too many stories about issues with lack of insurance. Your normal travel insurance probably won’t cover your car. Whether it’s a rental car or your own you must have the appropriate insurance to cover you if there were to be an accident. When looking for insurance policies, spend the extra money and get full coverage – It might seem like an unnecessary expense but you won’t think that if you hit a BMW. And even if you are the world’s best driver, you need to be sure you are covered in case someone hits you!
Take Back Road
Whatever you do, don’t stick to the main highways. Some of your best discoveries will be on the back roads you take. Have a look at your map and see if there are any small towns just off the highway and if so, don’t miss out on what could potentially be the best part of the trip. Small towns are often a lot more memorable than the big cities so don’t skip them. We have discovered so many amazing places by getting off the highway for a few miles.
International Drivers License
Some countries want you to have an international drivers license and some are happy to use your regular license, as long as its valid. So my thought is, better to be safe than sorry. Its very easy to get – You just need to call AAA, RAC or whoever looks after your roadside assistance. There is a small fee involved, around $25 USD and its valid for 12 months. I would highly recommend you take the 3 minutes it takes to complete the form to save yourself from a potential disaster down the road.
As the Boy Scouts say – Be prepared!
They are wise fellows those Boy Scouts. There is a lot you need to think about in order to be prepared but some of the main ones are – Have a first aid kit; Make sure you check the spare tire; Have your engine checked before you go; If it’s a rental, make sure all the paper work is in order and all damage on the car is recorded before you leave their parking lot; If you are driving in snow, make sure you have chains; Make sure your registration is covered for the time you will be away; Make sure you know what type of gas the car takes; And don’t forget your phone and/or tablet car charger.
Do you have any Road Trip Tips?