16 tips for organizing the road trip of your dreams: You will remember all your life from your road trip. It’s a unique experience to get up in the morning wondering where you will be able to go, what you will visit, where you will choose to stop to sleep and eat etc.
It’s up to you where and when to go, depending on your budget. Here are 16 tips for organizing the road trips, regardless of the country. They are kind of the Bible to organize a perfect road trip!
16 tips for organizing the road trip
1. The interest of Google Maps
A good start. Enter your places of departure and destination; this will give you an idea of the time it will take to hit the road. Adjust it, try different options, add or delete places according to the time and your desires, of course. Draw the main route, without it being fixed. Let yourself be able to modify it according to your wishes and what you will discover on the way.
2. How to choose your car?
The type of car depends on your destination, the kind of trip, and the number of people accompanying you. Will you need a 4 × 4, an SUV or a convertible? Book in advance, opt for unlimited mileage (unless you are sure how many miles you will cover!) And take the necessary insurance.
If you are going on a long trip, for example, over two months, it may be worth buying a second-hand car that you will see at the end of the trip. Just be sure to check it before closing the sale, it would not be a problem in the middle of nowhere!
3. (good) music
Who says road trip, said music, indeed! And you’ll have plenty of time to listen to it, so remember to download playlists to your smartphone before you go (and do not forget your USB cable). You can also put the radio, a way to discover local tastes and titles that you may not be able to listen to later.
4. Get off the beaten path
Taking the highway is faster, but you miss many points of interest. If possible and if you have time, take the less-traveled routes. You will see many more things, you will meet locals, and you can venture into places never seen before. Same, do not hesitate to make detours! Did you know this sign indicating a ghost town or a fantastic tourist site? Follow him! It is spontaneity that should guide your road trip.
5. Eat and sleep locally
Make the most of local food, even if you do not always know what you are eating. After all, you may never have the opportunity to taste it again. Same for accommodations: Rather than sleep in this well-known chain hotel, why not indulge in that little B & B or kitsch motel on the side of the road?
The “Close to me for tonight” tool can help you find this type of housing by selecting the ones available around your location (on iPhone and Android).
6. Take a cooler
Who knows when you will find a place to eat? Take a more relaxed; there are even some that you can plug into the car. Put in drinks and snacks for those moments where you’ll want to snack (or those where you’ll be lost …).
7. Camp (even in the car)
Depending on your budget and your vehicle, camping can be a more exciting option than hotels or motels. It’s cheaper, it’s simple, and it’s an excellent way to meet people. With a big car or a van, you can stay in some campsites, and sometimes even on the parking lot of some service stations and those of Walmart in the USA.
8. Going alone or with others?
Road-trips can reinforce or destroy a friendship. There are plenty of cool sides to travel to, but still think that you will be locked together in a car for several hours in a row, the worst being when the GPS does not work, and no one can read a map. Do you have the same interests? If you want to see historic sites and them, only bars, it could be challenging to manage.
Go with a person who looks like you, who can support you or supplement you (knowing to read a map or speaking another language, for example), and someone who can help you at any time during the trip.
9. Buy a GPS
Do not rent it, it would be too expensive at the end, and you can also use it on other occasions.
Yes, Google Maps is excellent, but the paper maps (you know, those things we sometimes see hanging out behind taxis or in the parents’ car) have something special about them. They are useful, already to find where to go, but also to note all those little things that you will find en route. They become a real logbook, which we like to re-read with nostalgia once returned home.
11. Book in advance
The entrance to some sites, such as Alcatraz or the Palace of Versailles, must be booked months in advance. If possible, determine the main attractions and plan your trip around them. Ditto for some hotels located in popular places.
12. Respect the rules of the road
Take note of the laws of the road in force in the country you are going to visit. You will find tips about Europe on the AA website, rules in Australia on the site of the tourist office, and for the USA, on USA.gov (be careful, the rules are different from state to another).
And if you are going to an Asian country, check the advice given to tourists on the government website or the website of the country’s tourism office.
13. Buy a SIM card
If your phone is unlocked, purchase a local SIM card to minimize costs while remaining reachable. There is always Skype or WhatsApp, but this can be useful in case you need a wifi connection or 3G, for example.
14. Service stations
Gas stations can be a bargain. The larger ones have toilets, food and coffee, and all kinds of treats for the weary traveler. Some might even allow you to use their facilities and park overnight in their parking lot.
15. Stay cautious!
Get out of your comfort zone and off the beaten track, and explore while remaining cautious. Listen to advice, make sure you always know where you are, and take no chances.
From a practical point of view, keeping a few liters of water in your car can be a lifesaver. If you have room, have a petrol jerry can in case it’s a good idea too (but check the rules of the country or zone where you are traveling, some only allow you to move with a small amount of fuel ).
16. Download the right apps
Boost your smartphone with the right apps. You’ll find better apps to go on a trip.
Chances are you will cross a few cities during your road trip, so download city-guides.
You now know the basics of a successful road trip. All you have to do is book your car to find the best deals. On the way!