Road trips are like a rite of passage to many, and they are a great way to view various destinations while saving on transportation costs. However, if you’re new to driving, or have never been on a long road trip, then you may have some apprehensions or misconceptions about what to expect. Being unprepared for long road trips will make matters worse if you happen to get in trouble in another country, and you could end up in a nightmare in some cases. Here are some important things to consider before embarking on a road trip.
get the right car and insurance
If you’re going to be doing some long-distance travelling, you have to make sure that you shop for the right car and the right insurance. If your vehicle is getting old and unreliable, then you should consider buying a better vehicle that will be more reliable and will have more recent emission ratings, which will allow you to save on petrol.
When it comes to insurance, you can reduce your costs if you shop around. Now would be the right time to start searching so that you can save on insurance and your travel expenses. Services like CompareNI.com who provide car insurance in Northern Ireland will allow you to check quotes from over 70 insurers and get the best quote on car insurance you can find. You can also look for travel insurance on their site once you’re there and get a great deal on that too.
Know that you may need to carry a green card if you intend to go into EU territories if no Brexit deal is struck by the 31st of October 2019. This will serve as proof that your car is insured in the UK.
make a plan
While road trips can be more free-flowing and leave room for change, it’s important that you plan and try not to veer too much from your initial itinerary. Some jurisdictions and even cities can have completely different rules, and you might end up being in violation without even knowing. And don’t rely solely on your GPS either since they’re not infallible. Make sure that you have a proper map and a list of all emergency numbers wherever you’re intending on going.
make sure your car is road ready
A long road trip can take its toll on a vehicle, and the last thing you want is for it to break it in the middle of nowhere, far from home. This is why you should perform a thorough check-up before you leave.
There are some things that you can check yourself, like your coolant and oil levels. You should also check your tyres’ tread depth. If you spot any issues with the car, no matter how minor, it would be better to have it fixed now before you leave.
The car’s MOT should be valid for the entirety of the trip and also make sure that you carry some emergency essentials with you. Make sure that you bring a good pair of jumper cables, flares, screen wash, oil, and a spare wheel. You also have to know which items are mandatory in certain jurisdictions.
For instance, while carrying a warning triangle is not obligatory in the UK, it is in many EU countries. If you want further tips on what is required depending on the country, you can check out this page on traveling across Europe.
prepare for tolls
While toll roads are few and far between in the UK, the situation is much different in other regions. It’s not uncommon to pay up to €30 on certain roads, so make sure that you take that into consideration when building your itinerary. Spain, Portugal, Italy and France have a particularly high number of toll roads, so make sure that you’re prepared if you’re going to or through any of these territories.
understand rules in specific countries
While many rules will be universal, some jurisdictions will have their quirks that you’ll need to be aware of. For instance, the speed limit on certain motorways in France can differ depending on the weather. If you’re going to Germany, know that the autobahn isn’t a free for all, and some areas will have some speed limits. And don’t attempt to wear your flips flops, or even worse, drive barefoot while you’re Spain. All these rules need to be respected, and don’t expect to get off the hook simply because you’re a traveller. Some officers might be more lenient, but don’t count on it.
Going on a first road trip can be an enriching and exhilarating experience, provided that everything goes right. If you want to get the best out of your first road trip, make sure that you’re thoroughly prepared and have a clear plan in mind before you leave.