Earlier this year I had the pleasure of driving around Ireland on a Roadtrip. Over an amazing 9 days I drove some epic coastal roads, taking in sights such as the Giants Causeway, Slieve League and the Cliffs of Moher. But in order to see all these amazing sights my friends and I had to put in some serious work as planning a roadtrip can get a wee bit complicated at times. First there’s the cost, then there’s the legalities, directions, map, entertainment. I wish it were as simple as just picking a car from an airport and then pressing down on the accelerator, but its not. Check out my top 5 tips for planning your roadtrip.
1. Book in advance and search for discount codes if your’re renting a car
Like most bookings people make nowadays, it pays to book in advance and on line. Booking well in advance will (hopefully) guarantee your booking – my friends and I left it late when booking a car for Croatia and although we paid a deposit via an online booking, we later recieved another email telling us that there were now no cars available and our deposit was refunded. We ended up getting a car at split airport, it cost us almost twice as much.
Another reason to book online is discounts. Like many checkout/basket online ordering systems, its not unusual for the major players in the car rental game to have voucher code boxes on their order forms. Spending 5 minutes searching for a voucher code on google could save you a couple of quid, which is never a bad thing. We saved £25 on our rental with Hertz by searching for a code.
2. Get your route and directions sorted
Unless you want to pay some mega roaming charges by searching directions on your smart phone whilst in the middle of nowhere, its a pretty good idea to research your route and either print off a few directions or if you have a sat nav, download the necessary maps you need.
3. Get you papers in order
This one might sound a bit silly, but for years all I’ve carried around with me whilst driving in the Uk is my drivers liecence card, the paper part had always stayed at home hidden away safely, so safely I struggle to find it whenever I really need it. Anyway, when renting a car abroad you’ll need both parts of your liecence, and your passport, and probably a credit card too. Organising your documents is mega important when planning a roadtrip, you might not be able to rent a motor without them all. Even if you’re taking your own car on your roadtrip, if you get stopped by officials for whatever reason, you’ll need to supply them with every document they ask for or risk a fine.
In some countries, Grenada for example, before you rent a car you need to purchase a tourist driving licence. Thats yet another document think about. Oh, and of course, don’t forget travel insurance.
4. Brush up on the rules of the country you’re driving in
In the UK we drive on the left, most other counties drive on the right. In the UK the pedestrian has right of way, in other countries its the road users. Basically, although the prinicples of driving a car are the same in most areas, mirror – signal – manoeuvre etc etc, each country will more than likely have a couple of rules that are different to what you’re used to. When planning a roadtrip its best to brush up on them or again face a fine … or worse, an accident.
5. In car entertainment (Tunage)
Ok so this one isnt quite as serious as the other 4 points in this list, but whats a roadtrip without an epic soundtrack to accompany? To be honest, roadtrips can on occasion get a little dull, you might have to use a motorway every now and then to save time and/or petrol. This is when it pays to have a backup plan to looking out the window at gorgeous scenary. Tunes, games, munchies anything to keep the happy mood is all part of good planning. If you car becomes bored and unhappy your roadtrip can fall appart pretty quickly.