After months spent inside, many of us are ready to hit the open road.
The interest in car hire for example has increased by 78 per cent over the past month since social distancing measures begun to ease, according to Skyscanner data.
Whether you’re planning a micro-escape to explore the hidden gems in your own backyard or want to go on a week-long trip to the great outdoors, we’ve curated some tips from experts on the Skyscanner team and passionate travellers and influencers to ensure your next excursion is memorable and stress-free.
Map out your journey ahead of time
Though it might be tempting to head out on a spontaneous road trip, taking the time to plan out the stops along the way will make the journey one to remember.
When choosing your route, it’s important to first determine what you’re looking for. If you’re keen on a scenic escape, you’ll want to structure the trip much differently than if you are looking to visit multiple friends in a few days.
Also search hotels for price options in the area. Sometimes you can upgrade yourself to a better hotel for the same price that’s just a street away.
Make a budget
Making (and sticking to!) a budget is one of the most important aspects of any trip. Things like gas, snacks, accommodation — and long evenings out with new friends in new towns — can really add up, especially when you're on an extended road trip.
Once you've mapped out your journey, it can be helpful to make a budget around how much you’d like to spend at each stop. This will ensure you won’t have to survive on gas station peanuts for the last few days of your journey.
Choose local every time
When visiting rural and regional towns, travel influencer Ellie Parker recommends that travellers always eat at places they've never heard of, sleep in hotels that aren't chains and visit quirky galleries and museums. It’s a great way to give back to the locals and discover a new way of life.
Unless you’re planning to rent a large caravan, it’s likely that you’ll have limited space for personal belongings—so it’s important to pack smart. Some of the key items you’ll want to ensure that you have on hand before you hit the road are:
Driver’s license and registration
Car insurance papers
Roadside emergency kit, as well as a spare tire
Reusable water bottle
Travel influencer Pati Rose also suggests taking along your eye mask and ear plugs - these are absolutely essential for any type of travel. You never know what type of campsite or accommodation you could be turning up to - they could absolutely save you if there's noisy neighbours or insects around - not to mention annoying bright lights that you can't turn off.
Prep your road trip playlist
Since you’ll have plenty of downtime, you’ll want to download your favourite tunes and podcasts ahead of time—since you might be stuck without mobile service for part of your journey. You should probably do the downloading at home on your WiFi—especially if you’re going outside the country on your road trip and want to avoid large data charges.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Even on the road, influencer Sonya Lai recommends that travellers eat well and try to stay away from processed foods and carbs while eating in the car since they can really tire you out and upset your stomach. Nuts are her voted choice of snack since they are super healthy and keep you satiated.
While Pati says bringing along a few reusable drink bottles (filled with water of course) will not only keep you hydrated, but it means you can avoid buying bottled water at a service station - much better for the environment and your wallet.
Embrace the unexpected
Even after you’ve planned your trip, set your budget and packed the car, you’ll likely run into some unexpected hiccups—whether it’s a traffic jam or a flat tire.
Though no one wants to be stuck on the highway or lost for hours, the unexpected moments can sometimes make for the most interesting experiences (or hilarious stories after the vacation).