8 USEFUL ROAD TRIP RULES TO FOLLOW
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR ROAD TRIP AS ENJOYABLE AND COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE
There is something special about heading out on the open road with a car full of your friends. There’s no better place to bond and make great memories than on a long journey with a shared goal at the end. Whether you’re on a winter drive to go and see your favourite band, or planning your summer odyssey across Route 66 in the USA, you should take a look at these essential tips to make your road trip as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.
Don’t get lost
These days, getting hold of a GPS device is easy. With relatively cheap models available from brands like Tom Tom and Garmin, standalone GPS units are more affordable than ever. Failing that, most smart phones have access to GPS and map apps that are just as effective. This means that wherever there is satellite or phone signal, chances are you won’t get lost. However, if you are travelling somewhere new, especially abroad, you should always bring a trustworthy road map for the inevitable moment where technology fails. Do some research before you leave and invest in the most comprehensive map available for the area you are travelling in.
Make sure you are in the know
By bringing a good guide book or consulting a travel app, you can ensure that you don’t miss out on anything special along the way. Keep an eye out for legendary roadside restaurants and attractions — they’re a big part of the whole road trip experience. Guide books are written by people who have been there and done it before, and they are often stuffed with nuggets of information that you’d miss on your own. The Lonely Planet series is very good if you’re travelling abroad and want an insight into the area. If you have a smartphone, don’t underestimate the power of some of the travel apps available. Often filled with honest user reviews and able to use your device’s GPS for extra accuracy, they are great if you are looking for a restaurant or accommodation with a good reputation.
It’s the songs that make the trip
We’ve all got that friend who will spend hours putting together the perfect playlist for your trip. Perhaps it’s good to encourage them to do all of the hard work. Or you might run a more democratic ship and have everyone choose their favourite songs before hitting the shuffle button. Either way, make sure you’ve got a good batch of tunes to sing along too. Think ahead: are you taking your own car, which you know has a USB socket? Or are you hiring a car that may or may not only have a cassette player? Make sure that you’re not left listening to the local radio.
Keep your energy levels up
Everyone has their favourite road trip snacks. The health conscious among us might pack a few granola bars, nuts or fruit, with plenty of water to wash it all down, but some of us prefer to gorge ourselves on junk food and caffeinated drinks when on the road. On shorter trips it may not matter as much, but for longer journeys, especially ones through areas where there might not be many chances to make a pit-stop, be sure to pack enough food to see you through.
Protect your eyes
Sunglasses look cool and they keep the sun out of your eyes. They are an essential driving accessory, and you shouldn’t leave home without them. You may associate them with summer holidays, but the winter sun is just as bright and lower in the sky. Sunlight can also reflect off any snow lying on the ground. Take a look at our list of 10 sunglasses brands you should know if you want some inspiration before going shopping.
Capture some memories
Whether you are snapping away after a few beers or trying to fit a gorgeous sunset into frame, having a camera on-hand is essential. For some, the camera on their phone is more than enough, while others will find the space to pack their full-sized DSLR camera. If you don’t already have one, take a look at TechRadar’s 10 best digital cameras you can buy in 2015 to make sure you get the best tech for your money.
Don’t run out of juice
We’ve already mentioned a few gadgets that rely on a supply of electricity to stay charged. If you are travelling for a few days and are stopping at hotels along the way, you probably won’t have much of an issue in this department. If you’re traveling abroad, you might find this plug and socket types guide from World Standards of use to find out which adapter you will need. If you are not going to be staying at a hotel or somewhere you can charge your devices, consider investing in a decent power adapter that will plug into the cigarette lighter of your car. Autosessive offer a wide range of in-car power adapters that range from single socket to dual and multi socket options. These are ideal if you want to charge more than one gadget at a time.
Prepare for the worst
There is always the chance that you might run into a mechanical problem on the road. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to speed with their auto-repairs, and it is best to think ahead in case anything happens. If you are travelling in the UK, consider joining an auto-club like RAC or the AA. Both of these clubs offer European cover, though you might have to pay more for this extra service. Be sure to take out comprehensive travel insurance if you are driving abroad. It might not be nice to admit, but driving on a strange road system will make you more susceptible to accidents and having good travel insurance will cover any hospital treatment that you may need should you have an accident.