The big question that everyone asks themselves when planning a road trip is this:
Should I take my own car or get a rental?
If you’re going to be doing a trip that takes less than 10 days, I’d suggest using your own car. You know your own car better than you would a rental and you are comfortable in driving it. However, if you have a small car, a car which is not very efficient on fuel or if you are going on a long trip, I’d suggest getting a rental. It will give you more space, and it may save you money in the long-run.
If you do decide to take your own car, remember to do the following:
- Check your tyre pressure, your fluid levels (water/oil/windscreen wash) and make sure the car is up to date with maintenance.
- Remember to bring your spare car key (if you have one).
- Remember to bring a spare tyre and jump leads. I’d also recommend buying one of those flat tyre cans which re-inflates a tyre, just in case you get a second puncture.
- If you’re travelling to France remember that they have specific laws in place which states that you’ll need to have headlight converters, a high visibility vest for every passenger, a GB sticker (if you’re from the UK), a warning triangle (which I’d recommend getting anyway), spare bulbs and breathalysers.
Remember to shop around for the best deal for your car rental. Sites like Kayak, Skyscanner and Rental Cars compare deals. If you live in the UK, it might be worth doing a fly-drive, rather than buying your flights and rental separately. British Airways and Virgin sometimes do some good deals, especially if you time it with a flash sale.
When driving remember:
- Don’t push yourself. Tiredness kills. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
- Keep your speed down – You’ll save fuel.
Remember to bring a physical map. Don’t just rely on your smart phone/sat nav. Make sure you check for road closures and incidents before every leg of your journey.
Stay Hydrated – Bring plenty of water! Make sure you bring some snacks too. Sometimes you can get stuck in traffic or travel for a long time before you pass a store or fuel station, so be prepared.
Make sure that you move around. There are plenty of places you can stop along the way. Get out of the car, move around, and take in your surroundings.
Make sure that you bring a first aid kit, which includes pain relief tablets and travel sickness tablets. I would also bring some mini toiletries, such as deodorant, wipes or mouthwash, just to refresh yourself from time to time.
It can get quite chilly on the road, especially when travelling in the winter. Make sure that you bring something warm like blankets, jumpers and maybe even some driving gloves.
Sometimes being on the road can get quite boring, especially if you have to take a less scenic route. Make sure you bring some entertainment. This could be an tablet, for games and movies (remember that you can now download films from the Netflix App), you could bring a book (if you don’t get travel sick), you could download an audio book or you could bring a physical game, such as cards, or a travel board game. Remember to not distract the driver.
I would suggest that you invest in getting a car charger or a portable charger for your phone.
Make sure that when you’re planning your trip, you have checked the average temperatures and weather for the countries your going to visit. This way you can prepare for the elements.