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Beginner’s Travel Guide To: Planning The Ultimate Road Trip

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There’s something alluring about jumping in a car and embarking on a road trip isn’t there? The freedom of doing things at your own pace, the luxury of playing your own music, visiting more than one place in one holiday and of course the unforgettable memories you will create together.

Here’s how to get started and plan the ultimate road trip!

Over the years I’ve gone on several road trip holidays, when I was 12 my family travelled from Lille to Bergen and then onto Lake Garda stopping at the spectacular snowy Switzerland along the way. Then last year me and my boyfriend decided to take a road trip from Oslo to Gothernburg and back in one day – mental but a lot of fun! This April we have planned an epic Southern Ireland road trip which I can’t wait to share with you over on Elle Goes Global in May, make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss it.

Anyway, enough of my reminiscing you’d come here because Suzy promised you the ultimate guide to planning a road trip, if you are dreaming about hitting the open road but not sure where to start read on to discover my top tips….

Before you set off on the open road, there are a few important questions you and your travel companion need to discuss:

  • What destination will you visit and what are the driving laws and restrictions in this country?
  • Will you take your own car or hire one?
  • How will you split the driving, and will you stop along the way or do you just want to get to your destination?
  • Are impromptu stops okay or is there a schedule to stick to?

Planning a road trip route

As soon as you have decided on a travel destination for your road trip and looked into the driving laws and requirements that that country follows its time for the most exciting part of the planning process.

Consider places you want to spend the most amount of time in as your staying over points these places are where you would like to spend the majority of your holiday and are therefore the priority of your road trip route. Using travel books, good old-fashioned maps and tips from travel blogs make a list of the key things you want to see in your priority places. You can then take a look at potential route options using google maps to discover the drive time between each place so you can plan stopover stays or places to go for a day sightseeing or quick lunch bite along the way.

Top tip: Give yourself time, the whole benefit of a road trip is that you can enjoy the flexibility of keeping to your own schedule. Don’t rush from place to place or spend hours on end driving because you’ll feel knackered and not be able to appreciate things when you finally get out the car after a long journey.

Booking road trip accommodation

There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous, in fact you might want the freedom of hiring a campervan or just pitching up in a tent at different places. But if you are planning to stay in apartments and hotels along the way it’s a good idea to book them at least three months in advance to avoid disappointment.

My favourite place to book accommodation for road trips is AirBnB. They are often very affordable and give you flexible check in and check out times. If you book an entire property to yourself you can make the most of the self-catering facilities and enjoy having your own private space to retreat to after an adventurous day on the road! Make sure you message the host in advance to your stay to get extra tips about the local area.

Top tip: Enjoy £25 off your first stay in an AirBnB property using this code!

Road trip preparation

If you are taking your own car on your road trip, make sure you get a licensed mechanic to look over it before you go just so you are sure there aren’t any problems with it. Whether you are taking your own car or hiring one before you start each journey on your road trip check oil levels and tyre pressures to avoid spending time on the side of the road instead of exploring.

Yes, we are in the ‘digital age’ but it’s always worth taking hard copies with you in case you run out of reception and then find yourself lost. Carry physical old-fashioned maps, multiple in car phone chargers and printed details of your flights and accommodation information. And if you have a Go Pro be sure to film your adventures to look back on in the future.

Top tip: Prepare a themed road trip playlist with all your favourite hits or famous artists from the country you are in. Not only will this keep you entertained but listening to those songs again in the future will remind you of your road trip for years to come.

And there you go planning the ultimate road trip is easy with some preparation and planning before hand! Have you taken a road trip before? If so what are your top tips for the ultimate road trip adventure? Let us know in the comments below and head over to Elle Goes Global for more travel inspiration.

About The Author:

Elle a twenty something food, travel and lifestyle blogger loves sharing inspiration tips, guides and stories from her travels. When she’s not packing her suitcase, you’ll find her planning her next trip, discovering new foodie hotspots or relaxing at the spa. Head over to Elle Goes Global and escape reality with Elle for a little while! 

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  • Reply
    02/27/2019 at 6:13 pm

    Getting the right playlist is essential! I have been really into podcasts lately and it is so good to alternate between the two on extra long journeys. I loved your post on podcasts a while back, it introduced me to My Dad Wrote a Porno and Serial, both amazing!

    • Reply
      03/03/2019 at 2:05 pm

      Yessss makes time whizz by! That’s a really good idea, stops you from being bored by one becoming too repetitive. Aw thank you! I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts!

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    02/27/2019 at 11:26 pm

    I honestly think road tripping might be my favourite way to travel! Two of my best travels were the Canada/US road trip last year and our Australia road trip! And I have a few I wanna do (Italy, Iceland and New Zealand spring to mind…) plus I love driving around Scotland!

    • Reply
      03/03/2019 at 2:06 pm

      Me too! You get the freedom to do your own thing and go at your own pace, plus they’re often cheaper! Ohhh we did a very short Australia road trip, I’m dying to do more! And I’m with you on the Scottish driving, I have many fond memories of family holidays doing just that 🙂

  • Reply
    03/03/2019 at 6:45 am

    Such a good guide for planning a road trip. Me and my friends did one in Scotland not so long ago and it was amazing, such a good way to see a place. I need to get planning my next one and this will definitely help ?

    • Reply
      03/03/2019 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you Kat, Elle did a great job. Scotland is a beautiful place to road trip! Hope to follow along on your next road trip soon 🙂

  • Reply
    06/14/2019 at 10:16 pm

    Rhodes is such a pretty island. One of my best tips for this place would be to look out for the ladies who try to charge tourists to go into public spaces like forts or parks and charge crazy money like €20 and pull at you and demand money ? it was a really bad problem I saw when I visited a few years ago! X

    • Reply
      06/16/2019 at 9:32 am

      Oh I had no idea about that! I feel rather lucky to have avoided any such scammy behaviour. We did have a woman keen to slap a bracelet on us (and I imagine then charge us), so maybe that’s along the same lines! That’s certainly a good tip to be aware of 🙂

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