Top 7 Tips for Travelers Going on Their First Road Trip Abroad

Top 7 Tips for Travelers Going on Their First Road Trip Abroad

Without a doubt, road trips are a fantastic way to discover a new destination. After all, it makes it easier for just about anyone to take the most awesome pictures, admire the best views and discover great hidden gems given the freedom and ease that it gives.

However, it’s quite easy to get nervous when you decide to go on your first road trip — especially if it is abroad! No matter how long you’ve been driving, doing so in a foreign destination can easily crawl up your nerves. But hopefully, these seven tips will make things much easier for you.

Tip #1: Ask How To Use Your Rental Car

Don’t be afraid of looking silly! Remember that all cars are different and if you are in a country where you don’t master the language, even getting the GPS right can be tricky.

So as the car rental agency guy handles you the keys of your vehicle, ask him how the lights work, how to turn the heater or air conditioner on and off, how to use the radio or MP3, how to turn down and up the volume, etc. Besides, it’s much wiser to hit the road after a few professional tips and a brief lesson than having to learn everything as you drive!

Tip #2: Know Your Way On Toll Roads

Toll roads can be tricky, especially if you don’t have many of them back at home or if you don’t use them regularly.

“Do I need a badge?”
“How do I pay?”
“What if I don’t have spare change?

Make sure you have these figured out before you arrive at a toll booth so that you are not the one to blame for holding up the queue.

Tip #3: Get Car Insurance. ALWAYS.

Going on a road trip without car insurance is a recipe for disaster. If you have your own car, ask your car insurance company if your policy is valid abroad — if it is not, upgrade it as you need. Your car prime will probably be higher from now on, but remember that the expenses derived from a car accident can be difficult to afford abroad.

So once you rent a car, a car rental damage insurance policy is a must. You should evaluate the different options available in the market and go for the one that best suits your needs and expectations. It is very likely that you’ll discover that an independent provider will offer you the best rates and the best coverage possible.

Tip #4: Know Your Route!

Google Maps will be your best friend as you start planning your road trip. Before you set off, always pinpoint your starting point and your destination so that you can explore which route/routes you can take to get you there.

Whenever possible, try to strike a balance between those that offer stunning scenic views and highways and try to avoid those routes that are less traveled. Remember that you only need to have a basic route worked out yet you should also try to be spontaneous!

Tip #5: Know The Rules Of The Road

Apart from the driving laws that you naturally should follow, make sure you are also aware of the unspoken rules that are common in your destination.

For instance, while undertaking can be a regular practice in many countries, people never do so in the United Kingdom. In other countries, drivers pay attention to and respect the red lights while in others they have a more relaxed attitude. Surely, being aware of these unwritten rules will help you feel more confident on the road.

Tip #6: Find A Travel Mate

While road trips and solo travelers seem to be a combination made in heaven, having a partner in crime while on the road is never a bad idea. As long as they are someone whom you can spend lots of time with and share similar likes and preferences, you’ll certainly have someone by your side that you could share the best experiences and memories — as well as help you with any minor issue with your car (and of course, share expenses with in order to save money while traveling).

Tip #7: Book Hotels and Attractions Ahead

It is advisable that you book hotels and attractions in advance. Some of them can be too crowded or extremely popular among fellow travelers; hence, you may have a hard time finding a vacant spot or a room in that hotel you’ve been wanting to visit for such a long time. But if you’re coming during off season, it could be worth the risk to not book anything and just wing it — it’s up to you!

How about you?

  • What do you think of these road trip tips?
  • Do you have any other tips to add?

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  1. Good advice. Particular attention I think should be given to two points - the route and the partner on the road. Itself is boring to go and with a partner it's always more interesting to choose a route. I wish all good travels

  2. Timely post Aileen! I did my first real road trip last week here in New Zealand - South Island - after circling the globe for 7 years. The car is awesome, but different in that it has a parking brake appearing to be a clutch, and the gear shift is to the left of the wheel. I am used to driving on the other side of the road compared to the US from my years of motorbiking in SE Asia but it feels weird in a car, versus on a motorbike. Took me about 1 day to get used to the experience.

    Thanks for sharing buddy :)



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