Going on a road trip whether in Europe or anywhere else around the world is so different than travelling as a backpacker or tourist. It gives you the freedom to reach unexplored areas and all the flexibility you need to enjoy your trip.
Here are some road trip tips, which I have concluded from my road trip in South Island New Zealand to help you have a safe and efficient journey.
# 1 Car preparation
Tip 1: The obvious!
Make sure the car has done a service recently before heading off. Check oil levels, water and tires regularly.
Tip 2: Car Interior
Get yourself a pleasant yet not too strong car freshener.
A rubbish bag will come in handy to keep car clean at all times.
Also avoid eating in the car, last thing you want is smelly and dirty carpets, seats and steering wheel.
#2. The route & Orientation
Tip 1: Download an offline map
Downloading offline maps is the best way to help you get oriented. You can pre bookmark points of interest, accommodation, gas stations etc. This will allow you to get a route without an internet.
Other big advantage is that when u are driving with only GPS (no internet connection needed) you can see where you are on the map. Hence you are never lost! However be aware the offline maps might give you the shortest route, which is not necessarily the scenic one. Do some research beforehand on which route is best to take. Offline maps will also reroute if you have downloaded the map area before.
Tip 2: Plan your trip but don’t be rigid. This is a common tip you have probably heard regardless of the type of travel you are doing. On a road trip this becomes even more important though as there is the factor of the "car", which is your key to freedom.
#3 Spare keys
Having a spare key is one of the most important things on the list. Make sure you put it in a safe place away from the other key and not in the car. If you are travelling with someone you give it to them where they can keep it in their handbag, so that it’s always on you in case you misplace the main key.
#4 Places to sleep
We all tend to sleep at the cheapest places, however make sure that the place is close to the sights you want to visit, because if it’s too far you’ll end up spending them on fuel anyway. Try and get a hotel with free parking, that would save you loads of money.
#4 Fuel refill
Get the cheapest prices to refill. It doesn’t take much. You will be filling up that tank very often, so a 10 cents difference per litre does make a big difference in the long run!
Tip 1: Find page or app with daily fuel prices and possibly cheapest station for the day.
Tip 2: Also some stations have loyalty cards which give you instant discounts. Just get those! Usually it only requires an online subscription and you get more cents off per litre! Then when choosing your next fuel station (tip1) just take into consideration the discount you get when using the card. There is obviously no need for loyalty.
Tip 3: Most fuel stations have a free service to clean your windscreen. Make use of that! Nothing better than a clear view on those beautiful roads.
#4 Car parking
Tip 1: Ensure you are familiar with road signage specific to the country or region (example parking timings or rules around city driving such as no odd number plates on odd days in old cities)
Tip 2: Do not leave bags on the seats, this reduces risk of breaking into your car
Tip 3: Always try to find a hotel/guest house that offers free parking on site. Unfortunately, doing on a road tip can become very pricey when you have to pay between €10 -20 (in Europe) a night to park your car. This tip applies to when you are in cities mostly.
# 5 Phone Battery
Tip 1: Take a car charger to enable charging your phone. Using double car charger is not wise, it takes ages to charge two electronics at once and you won’t do you mobile phone any good.
Tip 2: When in mountainous regions turn mobile to flight mode. There is no reception in those areas, it will kill your battery trying to search for one.
# 6 What you listen to
Tip 1: Make the radio your best friend!
There are some very interesting subjects, stories and facts you will learn about when listening to random radio shows! Allow yourself to grasp the culture and stories of the country or city you are travelling in by listening to local channels (as long as you understand the language.
Tip 2: Prepare offline music
Let’s face it, on long roads you will want to listen to your favourite music and sounds. Make sure you have a lot of music as you don’t want to be stuck with the same song and diverse genres to fit your mood and/or the scenery.
Tip 3: Forget your headphones
First of all driving with headphones is not recommended as it is more prone to road accidents. Secondly you will have enough alone time in the car to listen to talk shows and music. Once you stop driving enjoy the local sounds, especially if you are in the wild. Nature has sounds unique to each place and time. Embrace it.
Tip 1: Keep your camera and (video) always ready. Surprises are common! Capture the moment.
Tip 2: take audio quiz apps or anything u want 2 keep your mind busy
# 8 Comfort
Tip 1: Take a head rest and a blanket in case it gets chilly.
Tip 2: When u take a break make sure you walk a little, stretch a little or even do a few squats to get your blood circulation going.
Important: Never drive tired! You won’t enjoy the drive and you are risking your life as well as that of others others!
Dana Ben Moussa has mixed origins from her parents and hence was lucky to grow up with various cultures and religions. She is now experiencing life outside her comfort zone away from home. Travelling and the secrets in this big world is what amazes her the most. Follow her facebook page Smile it's worth it.