Going on a road trip for the first time can seem easier than it actually is. Don’t you just have to hop in your car and start driving? Well, without proper planning, an unprepared road trip can easily take a nasty turn for the worst. If you don’t want your adventurous ride to become a nightmare, this road trip guide for beginners will get you covered.
Choose Your Travel Mates Wisely
Whenever possible, choose your travel companions wisely as you’ll be spending many days with them more or less cramped in the same car! If riding with friends, consider each other’s personality, what your expectations are and what your travel style is. Talk about budget and priorities so you’re all on the same page.
If you’ll be travelling with children, make sure to let them know about your travel plans, pack plenty of online and offline games to keep them entertained and include stops and interesting things to do and see to keep them hooked!
Share The Long Drives
Road trips are fun but they can also be stressing and tiresome for the driver. If there’s only one in the team who can drive, he or she can be easily affected by fatigue or miss enjoying the nice scenery because they have to focus on the road at all times.
However, when driving is shared between two or more passengers, the whole road trip becomes much more enjoyable for everybody!
Get Your Car Ready
It is absolutely essential that you ensure that your car is 100% ready for a road trip. Evaluate your tires for tread wear and check with your mechanic if they still provide good traction. Let the professional examine your brake pads, rotors and drums and replace them if needed. Don’t forget to check your vehicle’s air-conditioning system! You’ll need it when the mercury rises and when it drops as well. Check the levels of all fluids, the wiper blades, hose and belt connections, turn signals, tire pressure, headlights and horns.
Make sure the spare tyre is in perfect working order. Remember that having one doesn’t mean it’s fine!
And If You’re Renting A Car…
If driving your own car is not an option or it is not as comfortable as you’d need it to be for such a travelling experience, renting a car is always a good option. In that case, investing in a serious car rental damage insurance policy is important. There are many options available in the market so it is advisable that take your time to look into them and purchase the one that is the best for you.
Mind The Law!
Whether you’re road tripping locally or internationally, one of the most important tips we can give you is to carefully review the driving laws for the country where you’ll be driving. If you’re going on an epic US road trip, bear in mind that there not only are national laws but also state laws you must stick to. Road laws can vary greatly from one country or state to the other and spending some time looking into them beforehand can save you some embarrassment, frustration or worse in the long run.
Practice Driving on Challenging Roads
We don’t want to doubt of your driving skills, but it’s advisable that you practice driving on difficult, challenging and twisting roads, across valleys or over difficult terrain before the road trip itself. You will encounter all kinds of roads, not all of them will be in the best condition and your driving skills will be tested over and over again. You’ll feel more confident if you have driven challenging roads before.
Plan Your Trip Carefully. Really Carefully.
There’s so much to consider when going on a road trip that planning is essential. You not only need to consider where you’ll start and finish your trip but which roads you’ll choose, the places and attractions you’ll visit, where you’ll stop and where you’ll sleep during overnight stops or where you’ll stay if you plan to do some sightseeing along your trip.
Even though road trips are adventurous experiences and you need to leave room for the unexpected and/or for exploring the unbeaten path, there are some essential issues you need to get covered beforehand as they can really ruin your holidays.
Look into the roads you’ll be driving carefully. Highways are fast and they are almost always in good driving condition but they don’t usually offer scenic views or the scenery around them is less attractive. As you’re planning your road trip, strike the balance between main and scenery roads so that you combine fast lanes and great views.
Planning stops is also important. They allow you to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air and explore your surroundings. There are probably many interesting cities and attractions to visit during your road trip, not to mention the fantastic and surprising unexpected scenic places that you find as you drive and that invite you to stop and take some time to enjoy them.
Overnight stops are the ones that have to be planned more carefully as they usually imply booking a hotel where to spend the night. Don’t take this lightly as finding rooms available in popular locations or on high season can be very difficult.
Do a thorough research before starting your trip. Look into all the places and cities you want to see and mark them in a map so you don’t miss it!
By the way, let your parents or a friend know about your whereabouts. Whether you’re travelling alone or with friends or family keep somebody else informed about where you’re spending the night and where you plan to go and the route you’ll take on the next day. In case anything sketchy or weird happens, you’ll be glad to have a record of where you are.
Don’t Forget Your Maps!
Take this tip from the experts and download an offline map before you go. Google Maps allows travelers to do this with their app. It’s one of the most reliable apps. You just have to go to the area you’ll be travelling to and download it to your phone. What’s great about this is that you won’t need a WiFi connection to navigate it and it will be saved in your phone for 30 days.
Pack A Cooler!
Pack car-friendly food and drinks for your trip. Having them in a cooler is a great idea as it allows you to keep everything at the right temperature. It allows you to include healthy snacks and fruit for the trip, thus making it easier for you and the other passengers to have nutritious food to eat as they please. Of course you’ll include traditional snacks, sweets and all those tempting snacks that you just need to have while on the car! But knowing that there are healthy options also available will give you more to choose from!
Audio guides, music playlists, podcasts or audiobooks are all great options for road trips. You can listen to them individually without disturbing other passengers or you can enjoy them with your travel mates. You can have lots of them in your tablet or smartphone and use them as you please. However, remember to download them and save them to your phone from a Wifi zone beforehand or you’ll be using your stream data on the road!
Screens are great helpers to keep children and teens busy and avoid hearing the so much dreaded “Are we there yet?” over and over again.