Since my student days I have always found road trips to be an exciting and rewarding experience. The one exception being when my Morris 1000 broke down in France and I could not afford the repairs and had to hitchhike home. That is the only misfortune I can report in my many years of road tripping – initially as an individual and now as a family.
Thankfully cars are now much more reliable and I do have a few more pounds in my wallet than I did in those days. Due to cheap flights I can also cover the main distance to my destination without driving at all. I simply pick up a cheap car hire vehicle at the airport and set off from there to tour my country of choice.
Many holidaymakers are now taking the opportunity to do some exploring by road, both in the UK and further afield. Taking a road trip has the benefit of allowing drivers and passengers to travel at a pace that suits them, without the need to keep to strict timetables and the confines of a bus or train; they can stop when and where they wish, and as well as the fun of planning a great journey, travellers can explore many locations and also get off the well-beaten tourist track.
How to organise a perfect road trip
Thorough preparation for a road trip holiday is essential and planning the route carefully and identifying potential stopping places will save time when actually travelling. You can plan to avoid the busy motorways if a scenic drive is preferable, and it is possible to retain spontaneity by allocating a few unallocated days to the journey’s schedule.
Think about the best vehicle to use for your trip. This may well not be the family saloon, which might be costly in terms of fuel consumption and wear and tear. Instead consider cheap car hire that can provide a vehicle exactly suited to your needs whilst providing more miles to the gallon for a reasonably priced initial outlay.
Always travel equipped for a breakdown or adverse weather conditions, even if setting out on a journey where blue skies and sunny days are expected to be the norm. Summer storms can blow up unexpectedly and even the most modern vehicle can suffer a puncture, especially in rougher terrain.
If using your own vehicle it makes sense to pack a toolkit and some spare parts, such as a temporary windscreen and bulbs for headlamps, not forgetting warning triangles and at least one fluorescent waistcoat or jacket in case roadside repairs are needed. It is a wise investment to join a motoring organisation such as the AA or RAC if you are driving in the UK or on the Continent, to assist if you do have car problems.
There are some famous road trips to choose from – none more so than Route 66 in the United States – however there are many other American trips that are enticing, such as the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky; the Great River Road alongside the Mississippi between Minnesota and the Gulf of Mexico; and the so-called loneliest road in America, which takes travellers on a coast to coast route from Maryland to San Francisco.