Road trips are a fun and exciting way to travel around the country with your close friends without breaking the budget. Aside from creating the perfect road trip playlist on Spotify, there are some essentials that need to be organised before you set off. Has the vehicle recently passed its MOT? Do you have a (loose) plan of where you will be going? Although you may be tempted to pack up your things and go spontaneously, it is important to make sure you are fully prepared before setting off. Read our top tips for road trips below!
1) Check Your Vehicle
The most essential part of a road trip is the vehicle you are driving in. A few weeks prior to your trip, ensure that your car undergoes a full mechanical check, particularly if your car is old or secondhand. The check should include inspecting your vehicle’s fluid levels, brakes, tyres and anything else that may cause problems. If you are thinking of purchasing a new car before you begin your road trip, we recommend the Jeep Wrangler for the ultimate off-roading experience.
2) Plan Your Route
Although you may not want to stick to a strict schedule, it is always worth creating a rough plan to assess the route you will be taking. This will avoid you having to backtrack on yourself as you can plan the most logistical journey. It also means that you can book accommodation in advance rather than arriving at a dodgy hotel after hours of searching and having an uncomfortable nights sleep. In general, plan to drive a maximum of eight hours a day, giving yourself time to rest your eyes, stretch your legs and explore your surroundings.
3) Organise Breakdown Cover
This is an absolute must. Sometimes, no matter how much you plan, accidents happen and cars break down. Before you set off, make sure that you have decent breakdown cover to save you from those times of despair. Without breakdown cover, your trip may be put on hold - or even come to an abrupt end - if your car decides to fail. Policies will differ depending on what country you will be travelling in, so make sure to do your research!
4) Bring a High-Visibility Jacket
In the event of an accident or breakdown, it may be important to step out of your vehicle and wait until help arrives. If visibility is impaired or it is dark outside, it is safest to wear a high visibility jacket. If your road trip involves driving across Europe, it is a legal requirement to carry a reflective vest at all times. They are an essential piece of equipment to help protect yourself in hazardous traffic conditions such as breakdowns, accidents and walking after dark.
5) Pack Water Bottles & Snacks
Rather than constantly buying big bottles of water, get a reusable bottle that you can refill every time you stop. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save a lot of waste. It is also crucial to have a stash of your favourite snacks just in case you get peckish along the way!
6) Make a Playlist
Although there are plenty of playlists on Spotify, sometimes you may want to personalise one for you and your road trip partners. Music can really set the tone of your travels, so make sure to make a good one so that everyone’s happy! Tip: Don’t forget to download the playlist before you set off as you may not have signal in some places.
7) Bring an Actual Map
In the event that your phone battery dies or you have no signal, you may need to refer to a map. It is always a good idea to have one of these in the car and they can also be a great way to get your bearings (and pass the time)!
8) Fill up on Fuel
When you get to a petrol station, make sure to completely fill up your tank since you don’t always know where the next one will be. This will be dependent on how fuel-efficient your car is. Every time your tank reaches the halfway point, look out for the next petrol station! This is particularly important if you are travelling somewhere as huge as America. The last thing you want is to be stranded on Route 66!
9) If Something Catches Your Eye, Go For it!
Although you may be sticking to a rough plan, sometimes it is worth making a spontaneous stop if something catches your eye. Begin the road trip with the mentality that you may never get the opportunity again. By refusing to stop, you could be passing up on the most rewarding experience of your whole trip without even knowing it. Begin with an open mind, and who knows what you will discover.
10) Begin at Sunrise, Park at Sunset
By getting on the road earlier, you will beat the early morning traffic and travel a further distance over the course of the day. It also gives you extra hours in the evening to relax and enjoy your surroundings. By finishing your day earlier, it also means that you are less likely to travel when it’s dark when things are more dangerous. Remember, driving can be tiring, so make sure you have somewhere comfortable to stay for the night and catch some rest before beginning your next stretch the following morning.
If you are looking to purchase a new car or van for your road trip, visit Nationwide Cars today. We offer a range of excellent cars at unbeatable prices. If you have any queries or would like to speak to one of our experts about the best cars for your road trip, do not hesitate to contact us today.