How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip
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How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip

April 10, 2024 Share

The road trip is the ultimate holiday, in many ways. The freedom of the open road, the freedom of choice as you travel, the myriad views you get to enjoy between well-researched destinations – all these and more are reasons to switch up your holiday plans for something more involved. But planning isn’t something to be taken lightly. What should you do ahead of the ultimate road trip?

Image courtesy of Julentto Photography

Upgrade Your Vehicle

A road trip is truly made a road trip by a number of factors, from the routes you take to the people you bring – or don’t, for that matter. However, there is a lynchpin to the road trip, which cannot be ignored – and which can make your road trip all the smoother for being engaged with early. That lynchpin is, of course, your car. Many road trips have been undertaken with old bangers, barely-road-legal scrapheaps and hand-me-down hatchbacks, and, fun as they may have been, they also invited a shedload of risk into the equation. 

If you are of even the slightest belief that your car might not be up to the journey (and this includes if your car isn’t the most comfortable to sit in for extended lengths of time), you should consider upgrading it. Even a simple hatchback like a used Vauxhall Corsa can be reliable enough to facilitate your travel, without it costing you the earth in the process.

Plan Sooner Than Later

Generally speaking, your planning should be undertaken as soon as reasonably possible. Thorny issues relating to accommodation and, in the event of international travel, potential visas, are issues best-solved with months between you and your setting-off date. Advance planning also gives you the opportunity to properly shape your road trip in your ideal image, getting to grips with unfamiliar routes and deciding on rest stops along the way.

Pack Smart

Road tripping is also an exercise in ‘car jenga’, or optimised boot-packing. If you’re bringing others with you on your trip, you cannot be content with simply shoving your luggage in the back seat. Indeed, road trips aren’t about bringing everything but the kitchen sink; you should be able to procure most things you need as you travel, and hence should pack light if possible. Your fuel tank will thank you, too!

Be Realistic

Lastly, a simple but essential point that needs to be made: be realistic about the scope of your trip. Road trips are maximalist adventures, in which a great many things are possible. It is perfectly natural, then, to want to cram as much as you can into each day. This, however, is untenable – and especially so if you are the sole driver on the trip. 

Your safety should take precedence at all times, and you should prioritise rest and rehydration over any giddy attempts to make the most of each day. After all, the real fun is found in the journey itself!

This article is a collaborative piece.
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