Top travel bloggers share tips for the perfect road trip

The perfect road trip involves three people, covers 190 miles and is accompanied by rock music, new research has claimed.

The study of 2,000 adults found the ideal drive should take place in a Volkswagen camper van, Range Rover or Ford Mustang.

There needed to be at least one toilet stop every 100 miles, good weather and a reliable sat-nav. Although, one in three Britons said getting lost was the fun part of a road trip.

The study was commissioned to mark British Airways’ new route to the South African coastal city of Durban; the gateway to national parks, African plains and safaris.

It also found the music played on a road trip was more important to some than the final destination.

Andrew Sim and Emily Gough, who write the award-winning travel blog Along Dusty Roads, shared some of their top tips for going on a road trip, including planning a realistic route, familiarising yourself with local driving customs – and accepting you will most likely get lost.

They said: “We’ve gone on road trips in many countries and it’s easy to get caught out if you aren’t prepared.

“The car and location is something everyone thinks about, but the smaller things, such as the music or the people you are with can really make or break it.

“And don’t worry if you do end up lost – not only will you see parts of the country you may not have been planning to, but you’ll have a great story to tell for years to come.”

The study also named TV presenter James Corden as the celebrity Britons would most like to have in the passenger seat followed by Tom Hanks and Stephen Fry.

Researchers, from OnePoll, also found 57 per cent of Britons liked the idea of a “fly drive” holiday and 35 per cent would happily drive in a foreign country, even if they had not before.

However, of those who did not want to drive abroad, 48 per cent worried they would not be able to get used to driving on the other side of the road and 39 per cent feared they would not be able to read or understand road signs.

Andrew and Emily’s top tips for the perfect road trip

1.     Make realistic plans

A rookie mistake on road trips is wildly overestimating how much distance is possible, or desirable, to cover each day.

Although it is tempting to think you can tick off large chunks of the country, it is vital to remember that you do not need to, or want to, be driving every single day of your road trip.

Schedule in days with no driving, set a realistic mileage cap for each day and remember that you will not want to rush your road trip of a lifetime.

2.     Renting a car

Language and cultural barriers can cause issues when collecting a rental car and standards of what counts as “damage” can vary wildly. 

When picking up your rental, before you sign any paperwork, do a full inspection of the car and take photos and video of the vehicle, including the windscreens. This evidence can be vital when returning a car.

3.     Navigation

The biggest source of arguments on any road trip? Directions. 

It is inevitable that, at some point, a turn will be missed or a wrong shortcut suggested, and all hell will break loose between driver and navigator. 

If you are a couple on your first road trip, then know that you will get lost and you will argue with each other.

4.     The car is usually the least important bit

Although we have been lucky enough to road trip in our dream car, it is important to remember the vehicle type is often the least important element of a road trip. 

Sure, you need something which does the job and will not break down, but you really do not need to have anything flashy or top of the range to enjoy a road trip. 

5.     Local driving customs

Driving on the wrong side of the road is usually one of the biggest fears people have about road trips in a foreign country.

The truth is, after a few hours on your first day, you will find yourself pretty well adjusted to opposites.

The biggest challenge will be adapting to locals’ driving habits and customs, which can be a constant source of hilarity, frustration, stress and sometimes more serious concern.

6.     Fuel filling drama

Far too often we have played a game of chicken with the fuel gauge, skipping on petrol station after petrol station in the hope one further along will give us a much better price per litre even when the tank is close to empty; it is really stupid.

On long road trips, try to never let your tank get below a third full and if that day’s route is taking you out into long stretches of back-country wilderness, take a note of where the petrol stations are going to be so you do not end up stranded.

7.     Staying in cities is stupid

A big reason we love road trips so much is because they allow us to experience a country outside of its cities. 

Without your own wheels, doing this is incredibly difficult, which is why so many itineraries just go from city to city.

On any road trip, avoid repeating that mistake (because driving in cities can also be really stressful) and take the opportunity to stay in remote countryside settings, travel along roads less travelled, visit places spontaneously and allow the road to show you the way.


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