2014 was the year we finally made our first road trip. Based on our experiences, we each give you a couple of tips that will hopefully help you to get the most out of your trip!
Music. When I’m on the road, music is an absolute essential for me. It wouldn’t be the first time people laughed at me while dancing and singing in the car in front of the red light. The perfect road-mix makes everything better. Time flies when you can sing along with your favorite songs. For me personally it also ensures my focus on the road! So make a playlist of your all time favorite songs and make sure you have enough songs so you don’t get sick of hearing the same songs over and over again!
Don’t plan too much in advance. Expectations, the culprit in a road trip experience. Make sure you don’t overplan in advance, leave some extra room for spontaneous adventures. Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler. Discover places as you go! I would recommend not to book your accommodations until you’re sure you can stick with your plan. Conditions can change and influence the plans you had. Like when we had to cancel our plans to go to Austria, due to a snow-alert. Not over planning can save you a lot of money on annulations of accommodations! Make plans as you go and live in the moment!
Be prepared. Pack your travel bag wisely depending on your destination. But always be prepared for different weather conditions or activities. You might laugh when I tell you I pack a beanie on a summer camping trip… But you will be amazed what a difference it makes when you are living outside 24 hours a day! Avoid overpacking, but choose basics that you can combine endlessly and layer up for colder weather conditions. Even in Hungary it gets cold outside on a summery evening and the north of Norway can also have a heat wave! But don’t worry, one day you will master the art of packing!
Bring an actual old skool map. Google maps on your phone and a GPS are super handy when it comes to driving directions. But don’t forget to bring a paper map with you as well. Technology is awesome until it fails in the middle of nowhere. Maps also come in handy if you don’t know a specific address of where you’re going, or if you want to ask a local for advice on places to visit. As a memory to your trip you can trace your route on the map as you go along and indicate the places you visited!
Choose your travel partner with care. If mountain climbing makes you happy, and exploring an ancient city gets you excited, then don’t travel with a friend who wants to work on her tan at the beach all day. Spend your money wisely, and go on a vacation with a friend who has the same interests as you! If you can’t find your perfect partner, do what I did last year and go on vacation by yourself! I went to San Francisco for a month, all alone (boy, was I scared), and came back with a bunch of awesome new friends!
Bring cash and card! Whenever you travel, bring your credit card AND cash! You never know where you end up, or whether your credit card works. For example, some tollbooths on the highway only accept cash. And if you get car problems like we did on our road trip, you need enough money to get it fixed.
Don’t rely too much on travel guides. Nowadays, there are some great travel guides on the market (I’m in love with the ‘100% travel’ guides) which are perfect to learn more about the places you’ll visit and to make some rough plans in advance. But don’t forget to ask the locals for tips! They know the best places to eat, drink and enjoy your vacation. And don’t we all love to brag about how we mingled with the locals?
Variety is important. Just finished a 15km hike up the mountains? Then plan a calm and relaxing day afterwards! Don’t force your body, ‘cause you still want to enjoy the rest of your vacation! I was often exhausted after our hiking trips during our road trip, so I was more than happy to put my feet up during our time out in Italy. Pizza and gelato really helped to get me back on track…
Just enjoy! Don’t overthink it, don’t worry too much, and just enjoy the beautiful things around you! Live the moment, take it all in and you will feel more alive than ever before!
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer!
Do you have any tips for us? We would love to hear them!
Han & Sandy