Nothing quite beats the rush of excitement to be had from a road trip. This is your chance to get behind the wheel and set off on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with your friends or family. You get to see the world – and see it on your terms. But how do you make sure that your dream trip lives up to the billing?
The right car
You’re not going to get very far if you’ve got a bad set of wheels. You need a car that is reliable – a breakdown will certainly spoil the mood of any holiday – and one that has the right level of performance to handle the driving you need to do (don’t plump for something that will chug along on motorways and waste valuable holiday time).
There are all sorts of other factors that make for the perfect road trip car. Clearly, it needs to be something you can afford but you also need to consider space. A cramped car will only make the passengers get restless.
Also, it’s worth noting that you don’t just have to pick one car and stick with it throughout your entire journey. You could pick up a car to get from one location to another. That’s perfect if you’re looking to stay in a city for a few days to explore it properly and don’t want to ‘waste’ a few days’ rental when you only need a car intermittently.
While you’re exploring a city you can use the services of a car share company and hire the vehicle you need just for the time you need it (check out how GoGet works here).
The perfect road trip should involve shared driving duties. Piling all of the pressure on to one driver isn’t fair – and it’ll mean they can never have an alcoholic drink. Make sure everyone is clear on this (and takes their driving licence with them) before you go so that you can avoid any arguments on the go. Draw up a rough rota if you like (although don’t feel the need to stick to this rigidly).
A flexible plan
The ideal road trip shouldn’t be too rigorously planned. Clearly, you need a schedule, but you must allow yourself the freedom to go off and explore interesting and exciting things along the way. If you spot a cool place to eat or an unusual sight, you want to be able to park up and enjoy it without feeling like you are getting behind. That’s a big part of the fun of a road trip.
Ideally, you need to select where you wish to start and finish each day – and maybe one or two things along the way – and then leave the rest to see where your mood takes you.
Make sure that you don’t just pick the shortest route between destinations either – part of the fun is in taking the ‘scenic route’.
In order to get the freedom to do what you want, you need a reliable map. Google Maps is the ideal app to use since it takes into account any roadworks, accidents or traffic issues that you might want to avoid.
As Momondo points out, this will also help if and when you choose to make a snap decision and go ‘off route’.
There will be times during the road trip when you’re in need of a little entertainment to give you a fun way to pass the time. That’s when you need a good music playlist. It’s probably a good idea to let different people have a turn as ‘DJ’ along the way so everyone gets a chance to listen to their music. It’s best not to fall for the ‘driving songs’ cliché – just listen to what you enjoy singing along to – but if you’re stuck for ideas then this BuzzFeed list could help.
Not only that but it can also be good to have a few games to play. If you’re kids then consider some fun car games, while the world of online games can easily cater for all adults in your party, either on the go or when you stop off for a break.
Written by: Naomi Webb