Are you thinking of taking a road trip this summer? The freedom of the open road can be addictive, but it’s wise to think ahead. Planning is vital to a successful road trip – here are Mundana’s best travel tips for road trips.
Plan ahead – but don’t over plan
When planning a road trip it’s a good idea to give some thought to your route beforehand. Use a trip planner tool such as that found on Google Maps to estimate how much time it will take to drive between two points. Add in time for coffee stops, unexpected roadworks or other delays, time spent looking for a parking space and so on. Now think about how much sightseeing time you’ve allowed for, and whether that’s likely to be sufficient. Most important of all, build in time for unscheduled stops. You might pick up a tip from someone you meet at a petrol station or the concierge of your hotel. If so, the last thing you want is to be in so much of a rush you’d have to pass it up.
If you’re travelling as a group, think about who’s best at what. Some people are great drivers when it comes to the long boring stretches; others keep a cool head in city traffic. You might have a family member or friend who’s a whizz at navigating. Another might have a real talent for finding that special restaurant for dinner or a hidden gem of an attraction the rest of you would have missed. Work to your strengths.
Think about the rental car you’ll need
Before you arrange your rental car, think about the kind of vehicle that will be the most suitable. You might be planning a scenic coastal drive, and if so, it might sound like a great idea to rent a soft top. Double check how large the boot space is or you might need to ditch some luggage along the way. If there’s a group of you, consider renting two smaller vehicles. That way, you have the flexibility to go out separately. For travelling together, think about the comfort level of the car you choose. Is there enough legroom for the passengers in the back, for example? If you’re going somewhere that requires a 4×4 to access some or all of the route, book well ahead to ensure you secure a vehicle before they sell out, particularly if you’re planning to travel at peak time.
Check out the scenic routes
It’s all very well getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Indeed for our daily commute, that’s probably all we think about. But for a successful road trip, you’ll want to get off the main highway and slow the pace a little. Scenic byways will add time to your journey, but they become part of the trip. Throw in the odd mountain pass, a few cliff top switchbacks and some single track country lanes and you won’t regret it. Research ahead of schedule which routes are worth the extra time. Don’t forget to factor in national park fees if they apply. But have a plan B: if time is ticking on or one of your group is feeling travel sick, you’ll be glad you worked out how to get back to the straighter, faster main roads.
You might find it difficult to get a reliable mobile phone signal or internet connection while you’re on the road. Pre-booking accommodation takes the stress out of your overnight stays. But to remain as flexible as possible, use a website or an agent that can facilitate free cancellation deals. That way, if you decide you like somewhere enough to stay an additional night, you’re not going to waste money on accommodation you haven’t used. Consider booking hotels from the same chain if you hope to accrue loyalty points. You’ll be surprised how quickly the points add up and you might be able to score some free nights along the way.
Be prepared with these travel tips for road trips
It’s easy to think about the big picture and overlook the little things that turn a good road trip into a really great road trip. Before you set off, sort out a playlist so that you have a soundtrack worthy of the scenery you’re passing. Buy plenty of snacks, drinks and other treats. Plan a few roadtrip games, such as i-Spy – they’re not just for kids. Set challenges – can you spot number plates from every one of the States if you’re roadtripping in the US, for instance? If applicable to your route, carry plenty of cash to pay for tolls. Make sure you have roadside assistance in case of emergencies. And always carry a spare key – but make sure it’s not the driver that looks after it.
We hope you use these travel tips for road trips to have the holiday of a lifetime. And if you’d like us to help you plan it, we’re just a call or an email away.