How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip
Road trips offer the ultimate freedom; just you, the road, and your car. They’re a lot of fun—but can also turn into a nightmare. Here are some easy tips for you to plan your perfect road trip and avoid stress and trouble on the road.
1. Choose your travel companion wisely.
You’re probably going to be stuck in the car for a few hours, days, or sometimes even weeks, and this can be a test for the best friendships. Ask yourself: will you feel comfortable spending so much time with that person? Will you feel okay NOT talking for hours? And do you think you have enough stuff to talk about? And—most importantly—will this person share your taste in music?
Personally, I love to go on road trips on my own. I can stop wherever I want, I can listen to Britney Spears without someone else judging me, AND I actually do enjoy spending time on my own and talking to myself. But this is not for everyone, so choose your travel companion wisely.
2. Choose your car wisely.
When going on a road trip there are some must-have features that I look for in a car before I rent. Most important: I need an USB-Connection to charge my phone and there must be a way (USB or Bluetooth) to connect my phone with the sound system of the car, because music is essential for a good road trip (see #3). Besides this you have to think about which car suits the trip best. Are you planning to do some off-roading? Will you spend most time of the trip on highways? How much luggage will you bring and is there a chance that you might need to spend one or two nights in the car? You should really think about the size, how much power the car has, and how much gas you’ll need in advance. It’s not fun when you realize that, while your car may be fancy, it’s not a good fit for your trip.
3. Choose your music wisely.
It doesn’t matter how long your road trip will be—you definitely always need a wide range of music. Sometimes you’ll need fun music to sing along to (think: CARaoke), sometimes you’ll want the music to match the scenery and sometimes you’ll just want to listen to your favourite song for hours. Personally, I use Spotify and always create some offline playlists before leaving on a road trip. That’s how I can be sure I’ll always have the perfect music for every situation, even when I don’t have an internet connection. You can check out my favourite road trip playlist here. Plus, I always also download some audio books (Sherlock Holmes audio books are my favourites!).
4. Choose the route wisely.
It can be fun to go on a road trip with no intended destination, but that can also cause some trouble. I personally love to take routes where I have many cool photo options and see as much as possible. But sometimes these routes are also full of other tourists, so sometimes it’s good to check in advance if there are better, not so well-known routes that you could take. Keep in mind that on these routes you sometimes might have a problem with finding accommodation. In some countries that’s no problem as you can go camping wherever you want (for example in Scandinavia or Scotland) or sleep in the car, but in other countries (like for example the US) it’s not that easy and you should check if there are hotels available on your route and also check how far in advance you need to book a room.
5. Choose your travel time wisely.
This goes for all vacations: low season is always better! So that’s a no-brainer. But you should also plan the time you’re going to spend on the road each day wisely. I would suggest not to overload your day and leave time for exploring or for some fun detours. If you plan an actual driving time of around 4-5h per day that’s more than enough. Yes, you do want to spend time on the road but you also want to have time to stop, enjoy and explore. The whole route for example I planned for my road trip in Scotland was actually doable in a bit more than 8 hours, but I spread it out over five days so I had enough time to enjoy the scenery and stop wherever I wanted.
6. Know the speed limits!
Especially when doing a road trip in a foreign country or when you’re planning a road trip through several countries, it’s really important to know the different speed limits. It can be fun to speed on the German Autobahn, but even there you sometimes do have speed limits—not to mention the strict speed limits in other countries. You don’t want to ruin your trip with getting a speeding ticket, which will diminish your vacation savings. Plus: you’re on vacation—there’s no need to hurry!
Yvonne is the publisher of JUST travelous, an award-winning travel blog that focuses on unique experiences, adventure travel, and flashpacking. Yvonne surprises readers with unique experiences which show you the world from a different angle—whether she’s falling from a camel in Oman, surviving a cobra attack in South Africa, or getting a tattoo by a Buddhist monk. JUST travelous is written in English and German, and in addition to being one of the best travel blogs in Germany, it’s one of the Top 100 international travel blogs.