Driving is a great way to explore many countries and regions. Offering flexibility, independence and variety it can be done at varying budget levels and there are endless permutations as regards your itinerary. It’s possible to plan everything yourself, or pick an ‘off the peg’ trip from a book or website and follow that.
The key to a successful and memorable trip is good planning. While you’re likely to wish to keep a degree of flexibility and the sense of being a free spirit about things, some judicious planning will ensure you get the best out of the trip.
Where to go?
It may be obvious to you; perhaps there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to discover by road? Maybe a fly/drive trip to America appeals – or a European adventure? It might even be somewhere closer to home – how about a tour of Scotland.
Perhaps a tour of the UK will allow you to explore the wonders closer to home? There’s much to see and do without going to the trouble of organising flights and car hire in the case of a foreign road trip.
When to go
This may be influenced by your other commitments but, if possible, plan to be away at the best time possible to benefit from the best weather, cheaper travel periods and possible events occurring while you’re there.
For example, the cost of flying can vary wildly. Avoiding the summer months in certain places, such as mainland Europe, can help reduce costs, avoid the crowds and excessively hot temperatures.
How to gather information
A good first step is this resource for information on most worldwide destinations. You can start getting ideas and information about where to go, where to stay and useful advice from people who have been to the places you’re thinking of visiting.
The Internet is full of blogs and websites offering road trip itineraries and reflections from travellers of trips taken. You could choose to follow an itinerary already planned and taken by others, or put your own together – picking out good ideas from several sources as you go.
Really spend the time on research – the old saying ‘time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted’ is certainly true, and the tips and advice you’ll benefit from can’t be overestimated.
If driving abroad as opposed to the UK, you must be aware of the rules and regulations pertaining to the specific country or countries involved. Even countries within the EU have their own different regulations, so be aware of them if planning a European road trip.
With differing speed limits, driving on the right and other legislation different to the UK it may seem like learning to drive all over again – but even drivers staying closer to home might benefit from brushing up on the rules of the road using the sorts of resources now available for free online.
For the latest driving information in over 40 countries check here and particularly check your insurance arrangements.
A road trip is great fun and a sociable way to really explore somewhere new. The planning and preparation can be a big part of the enjoyment – make the best of it to ensure you have a trip to remember – but leave yourself enough room to be flexible and explore the unexpected once you’re there.