It’s summertime but you’ve had no luck finding affordable flights out of the country. Perhaps you just don’t want to deal with the stress of travelling through busy airports and you may be thinking about planning a road trip instead.
Planning a big adventure road trip can be stressful, especially if there are others involved. Learn how to organise your trip with our top tips.
1. Decide on a Route
The first step to take on your adventure is planning a detailed route. This step is imperative and should not be overlooked. Not only is driving aimlessly around the country a waste of your time, but the rising prices of petrol and diesel can lead to added costs on your budget.
Deciding on the route as the first stage also allows you to plan for driving time and overnight stops. Google Maps is a useful resource that you can use to save or pin locations. Another road trip planner we love is the Roadtripper app. Similar to Google Maps, you can use this app to create a road trip route.
As part of this step, you should also agree on when and where you’ll start and end your trip. Once that’s decided, it’s time to plan the finer details such as the sights you wish to take in.
Here at Stroll Insurance, we love the idea of driving by the coast to visit some seaside towns and what better way to do it than taking a trip through the Wild Atlantic Way. Starting on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and working your way down to Kinsale in County Cork, this route is over 1,600 miles long. If you wish to complete the full route or only half, be sure to stop off at some of the following places:
- Slieve League Cliffs - Co. Donegal
- Downpatrick Head - Co. Mayo
- Connemara - Co. Galway
- Cliffs of Moher - Co. Clare
- Slea Head - Co. Kerry
However, if you’re keener on remaining in Northern Ireland then we’d recommend the Causeway Coastal Route. This 130-mile drive includes the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Giant’s Causeway - a must see!
2. Create a Budget
It’s always difficult to know exactly what you’re going to spend on any given day so it will be even harder to judge for a road trip. However, once you’ve decided on the length of your trip and the sights you want to see, it’s a good idea to create a budget and estimate how much you’re prepared to spend each day.
You’ll need money for food, accommodation, entrance tickets to tourist hotspots and even some spare cash in case of a breakdown or emergency.
First things first, decide on a total figure in your mind for the duration of your trip. Once you’ve planned your accommodation and the attractions you’re going to stop off at, set aside money for those. With the remainder, you can split it across the length of your trip which can be used for food and other expenses. Revolut is a very useful app for budgeting and splitting costs if you’re travelling with a group.
Some useful tips to save money when road tripping include:
- Travel out of season to avail of cheaper accommodation. The summer months can be very expensive due to high demand.
- Book accommodation that includes parking. Otherwise, you’ll need to spend on car park fees or risk getting clamped by parking roadside.
- Consider self-catering accommodation. Purchasing food in a supermarket and cooking will save you a good chunk of money as eating out is costly.
3. Make Reservations in Advance
Whether you’ll be driving a car or a campervan, it’s always a good idea to book accommodation in advance.
The summer months are the busiest times for hotel, guest house, and restaurant reservations so it’s good to stay ahead. Campsites are also pretty busy this time of year.
It’s not only accommodation you’ll have to worry about, if you’re hoping to visit a popular tourist attraction then it’s a good idea to book tickets as soon as possible.
One big advantage of booking in advance is the opportunity to save money. Last-minute reservations are often more expensive which can eat into your budget.
Read More: Need to get away? It's time for a staycation
4. Prepare Your Vehicle
You may be in for a long car ride so to prevent any breakdowns during your trip, ensure your vehicle is in good working condition by taking it for a service. The garage will check that the oil, fluids, and tyres are in good shape. They’ll also check for broken lights and indicators.
It’s important to have necessary paperwork stored in the vehicle including car insurance, driving licence, and registration.
An emergency car kit
is also useful to have at hand to give you peace of mind in the event of an accident, breakdown, or emergency. Ensure it’s well stocked with a torch, blanket, high-vis jacket, first aid kit, and jump leads.
5. Pack Your Luggage
Many people wonder about what to bring on a road trip. Knowing what to pack is no easy task. You may want to pack a small overnight bag or a big suitcase depending on the duration of your trip and who you’re travelling with.
If travelling in a 5-seater car with a group, it would be wise to pack light as everything will need to fit in the boot. Short trips may only require a small backpack so you can leave your full wardrobe at home. Even if you’re travelling solo and have loads of space to pack everything, think about whether or not you fancy hauling a big suitcase in and out of accommodation each night.
Some road trip essentials include:
- Blanket - for cold nights or to hide your luggage when you wander off to see the sights.
- Mobile phone - for Google Maps or to play music.
- Car charger - it’s likely your phone will get drained from overuse.
- Snacks - helps you save money so you won’t be tempted to stop at a café.
- Water bottle - helps you stay hydrated and alert.
- Runners and leggings/tracksuit - adds some comfort for the time spent in the car but also useful for hikes and walking trips throughout your journey.
- Jeans - for the evening you treat yourself to a pint or glass of wine in the local pub.
- Nice outfit - so you can look good for your next Insta or Tinder pic.
If you plan on bringing valuables such as laptops or jewellery, it’s important to not leave them unattended in the car. If your car does happen to get broken into then comprehensive car insurance
will cover you for damage to your vehicle.
6. Useful Rules to Follow
- Keep to the speed limit. You may be tempted to increase your speed at night on an open road with no traffic, but you can still risk getting penalty points and a fine.
- Don’t leave rubbish behind. Keep attractions such as national parks clean and litter-free.
- Take regular breaks when driving or make out a rotation if going with a group. Don’t forget to stretch your legs often.
- Have roadside assistance on speed dial in case of a breakdown or emergency.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our favourite car road trip tips. Nevertheless, if you’re worried about your trip or want some peace of mind when it comes to your car insurance before you leave, feel free to reach out to us at Stroll Insurance.