Road trips are an excellent way to see a country, that can leave you with lasting memories.
Popular options among travelers include staying in funky motels along Route 66 in the States, driving around the Balkans or admiring the eerie landscape of New Zealand’s North Island from the seat of a campervan.
After choosing the route of choice, there are a few other things you’ll need to consider for a successful road trip. Here are the top ten.
1. Good company
This is a factor that can make or break a road trip. You’ll need to be with people who have the same travel style as yourself – whether that be a car full of type A’s, or the most easy-going folk you’ve met in your life.
So, choose your company wisely.
If worse comes to worse, just go on your own! There’s a reason solo travel hasn’t gone out of style.
2. A reliable vehicle
The second most important thing to consider is your mode of transport.
If you’re taking a rental car, you need to make sure that it’s a car that everyone can drive. You don’t want to rent a manual, just to discover that no one else can drive stick.
You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the car is legally allowed to drive it. It may seem like a good idea at the time to agree to a two-week road trip around Ireland with you driving, as you’re the only passenger over the age of 25. In reality, it’ll be exhausting. Yes, I speak from experience.
If you’re driving your own, or a friend’s car, be sure to get it properly checked out by a mechanic before hitting the road. Make sure at least one traveler has some basic knowledge of car maintenance, just in case you need to change the oil, or replace a tire at some point in your trip.
3. A playlist
There’s going to be times when you’ll run out of things to talk about or refuse to play yet another game of “I Spy.” In these moments, you’re going to want a kick-butt playlist to fall back on.
Make sure that it’s songs that everyone in the car can agree upon. If one of your travel companions is into slasher music, it wouldn’t be fair to subject them to Beyonce’s Lemonade album in its entirety.
And if you can’t find a playlist that you agree on, it should be driver’s choice of tunes. It’s only fair.
You’re probably going to be driving for long stretches of time without stopping, so it’d be good to have a few snacks to fall back on if anyone gets peckish.
Make sure you throw a few healthier options in there, like nuts and fruits. Sitting in a car seat for eight hours a day doesn’t do much in the way of burning body fat.
5. Sufficient hydration
As with food, opportunities to drink water may be far and few between.
Best to pack a few bottles of water, or even better, fill up a jerry can with water before you go, to cut down on plastic waste.
6. A map
Here’s an opportunity to ditch Google Maps for a few days and hone a rapidly dying skill – that of map-reading.
You should be able to pick up a road map at any gas station, which you can refer to for the duration of the trip. Bonus – it makes a pretty good souvenir for when you reach your destination.
7. A sense of direction
You’re not going to have much luck with that map if you don’t have some sense of direction to pair with it!
If you have no set time frame for your trip, it could be quite fun to go with your gut now and then. It could take you to the most surprising of places.
8. Enough cash for petrol and food
Although many of us live in cashless societies these days, this isn’t the case for many countries around the world.
As the places you’ll be stopping along the road will be mostly unpredictable, make sure that you have a reasonable amount of cash on you, for emergencies – such as if you’re close to running out of gas and the only service station around doesn’t take a card.
9. A first aid kit
It’s best to be ready for every and any situation that may arise on your journey.
Be sure to bring a basic first aid kit. Pack in paracetamol, ibuprofen, bandages, insect repellant, and motion sickness pills, just in case.
10. Sweaters and swimsuit
If you’re covering a long distance on your trip, you should probably prepare for all kinds of weather.
Bring a sweater, or even a jacket, to prepare for sudden drops in temperature at night, even if it’s the middle of summer.