Whether it’s a few days taking in the sights of the UK or USA, or whether it’s driving across Europe, the driving holiday has lost none of its attraction for many motorists. But how do you get the most out of such a road trip? startrescue.co.uk has put together seven golden rules for a successful driving holiday.
1. Map out your driving holiday route in advance
While this tip may not appeal to the more spontaneous of holidaymakers, it can mean the difference between seeing the top attractions of your destination, and missing them altogether. Make a list of places you and your co-travellers want to see on your driving holiday, and work out the most efficient route to visit them. It can be tempting to plan your route based on the quickest road/motorway from A to B, but you may be missing out on some wonderful beauty spots and historic sites if you avoid the smaller roads.
2. Book accommodation in advance
After a long day of driving you and your group will be looking forward to a good night’s sleep. It’s a good idea to work out which town you’ll be in each night, and book a hotel, guest house or camping ground in advance. This is especially important if your driving holiday takes place during peak season, as accommodation options can fill up fast. Make sure you bring your booking confirmation print out to help you find your accommodation, and to speed up check-in.
3. Look for obscure attractions
Lesser known attractions can be of great interest, and often cost a lot less than more famous ones. Use the Internet and guidebooks to seek them out before you set off, and build them in to your driving holiday itinerary for a more unique trip.
4. Set your budget, and stick to it
Driving holidays cost money, and working out a realistic budget for each day can ensure you won’t be getting stressed over money while you’re away. Take into account how much you’ll spend on accommodation, and use Internet mapping sites to see how much petrol you’re likely to use each day. Budget for an extra tank just in case you deviate from your plans, or get lost. Think about meals, and about whether you’ll be dining in restaurants or making sandwiches with supermarket ingredients. Ensure everyone agrees on the budget before you go, so you don’t have half your group in fancy restaurants, and the other half eating bread and cheese in the back of the car. Budget for emergencies and souvenirs, too.
5. Plan for your pet
If you’re taking a pet with you, ensure you book accommodation that accepts him or her. If you’re travelling to Europe, you’ll also need a pet passport in order to get through customs. Add in time for walks and toilet breaks, and try not to water or feed your furry friend just before you set off on each leg; top them up with food or water as soon as you stop. Never leave your pet alone in your car.
6. Be economical with your packing
Don’t overload your vehicle with things you may not really need, especially if the car is full of passengers. Pack lightweight clothing that can be hand-washed, and choose colours that can be mix-and-matched easily, such as black, white, grey and red etc. Fewer clothes does mean more washing, so check to see if any potential hotel has laundry facilities before you book – particularly if you think hand-washing won’t be sufficient.
7. Pack a cooler
This can be especially useful if you are on a budget. A cooler allows you to stock up on low-cost supermarket perishables, and make them into snacks as you travel. You can buy ham, cheese and other goods that need to be kept cool, but you can also buy raw meat to be barbecued on public grills at campsites etc. And if you’re travelling in warmer months, a cooler can be invaluable for ensuring you have a cool drink ready for when the day is done!