09 Jul Top Tips for Planning Your Dream Road Trip
The hashtag #RoadTrip shows up 37 million times, which is just one reflection of the resurgence of this adventurous mode of travel. Travel and marketing agency, MMGY Global, has found that around 39% of vacations taken by Americans is by road, with the ability to stop as one desires being a primary reason for this type of travel. Additional reasons include the ability to take pets along, to stay as long (or as short) as you would like in one place, and the sheer freedom of moving through a country at your own pace. The picturesque nature of road travel is another benefit; in countries like the UK, for instance, there are a plethora of scenic sites to take in from the front or back seat of your car. These include the dreamlike Snake Pass in Peak District, England; the serene Black Mountain Pass in Wales, and the lush, green Abergwesyn Pass in Wales. If you are psyched about taking your next trip at your own pace and being in command of your own vehicle, keep these handy tips in mind.
Choosing the Right Vehicle
A quick weekend getaway is not the same thing as a month-long trip through various climes and terrains. Your vehicle should be sturdy enough to withstand rougher roads, unless you know for certain that you will only be driving on well paved roads and highways. An ideal vehicle for a four-person family should have enough luggage space for at least two large suitcases and two hand-carry-size bags. An SUV or minivan is ideal if you will be away for more than a couple of weeks. If you will be setting forth for a month or for various months, then your vehicle may have to fulfill the function of your accommodation as well. A travel trailer can contain sleeping space, storage space, and key technological features. However, if you prefer to camp or stay at hotels along the way, a trailer might still be useful if you wish to travel in comfort, bringing creature comforts such as strollers, chairs, additional suitcases with clothing, etc.
Maintenance is Key
Check when your vehicle’s next check-up is due. If you are likely to go over the recommended number of kilometres, opt for early action. It may be useful to change oil filters, spark plugs, or brake pads, for instance. This will prevent you from having to rely on the services of emergency (or pricey) mechanics because your trusted supplier is simply too far away. Also check that oil, water, etc. are at full level, so you don’t have to worry about top-ups along the way. Finally, spare tyres, jacks, and other materials should be in usable condition in case you break down in a quiet or rural area.
Enjoying the Ride
You won’t always be gazing out at scenic views, so ensure there is plenty of fun to be had within you car. Make sure that all family members have designed a fabulous playlist for the journey, and make a list of games you can play during dull moments. Games can be very simple and require little to no planning at all. For instance, everyone in the car might wish to share one thing that nobody knows about them. Even if you are travelling with family members, this is a fun way to discover new things that can help strengthen your bond.
Using Technology to Your Benefit
Even if your car doesn’t have cutting-edge features like automatic braking or autonomous driving, you can make the most of technology by downloading driving safety apps. Some of these include LifeSaver (which stops you from using your mobile phone while driving), Drive Safe.ly (which turns text messages into audio messages so you can keep your eyes on the road), and iOnRoad, which uses augmented reality to ‘see’ other vehicles on the road. iOnRoad uses a combination of GPS, smartphone, and accelerometer tech to measure distances between you and other cars on the road and to let you know when you are getting too close for comfort.
From packing loads of snacks to bringing well crafted song playlists, going on the road requires weeks or even months of planning. Safety should always be the primary consideration, so ensure your vehicle is well maintained. It should also be spacious enough to carry all your needs and little luxuries, so that the interior of your vehicle is uncluttered and exclusively for the use of your passengers.