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A road trip is often the best way to explore if you’re looking to appreciate the diversity of natural scenery you would otherwise miss from a plane. And it’s an especially good idea if you’re one of those travelers who enjoys the freedom and flexibility to travel at your own pace.

With some truly stunning roads throughout the world, your first decision is planning out where you want to drive. And then you should conduct some research on how to stay safe, as every country will have different road rules, environments and landscapes.

Here are our 5 best tips for a safe road trip experience.

Research Your Roads

Especially in some areas of Eastern Europe and South America, you may run into problems due to streets being closed (protests), or controlled by military forces.

Make sure you keep yourself updated about what’s going on in the country you want to visit, and create a safe itinerary made up of secure streets and areas.

Plus, when researching your roads, make a note of where the checkpoints are if you’re crossing the border into a different country, and be sure to have your passport handy.

The US was made for iconic roadtrips. Anyone with a car can go anywhere, and the nice thing about this mode of transportation is that the journey is the destination in itself – a road trip is an adventure!

Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

The most enjoyable trips are those which flow without stressing too much. So don’t rush things and don’t push yourself too hard! Don’t set yourself unreasonable deadlines which mean you’ll need to speed, and plan a buffer of extra time in case of delays or spontaneous detours.

Get some rest when you need it and plan to make several stops to enjoy the landscapes, and stretch your legs. The essence of road tripping is to take each day at your own pace, so don’t rush things!

Use a (Real) Map!

We all know we have our smartphones but, in several areas (especially remote destinations with wide natural spaces) it can be tricky to find a good connection and your GPS signal may get lost.

Or let’s say your battery dies. Either way, make sure you’re prepared with an old fashioned paper map, just in case. You can mark your itinerary’s main attractions and live the trip in a different and more adventurous way!

City Map

Respect the Road Rules of the Country You’re In

Every country has a different set of rules and their own traffic code you need to adhere to, and ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law!

Make sure you research the road rules of the country you plan to drive in, and that you respect current legislation to avoid unwelcome surprises and unnecessary stressful situations.

Research things like which side of the road you’ll be expected to drive on, whether or not you can smoke in the car, if it’s legal to talk on the mobile phone while driving etc. You don’t want to have to pay an international fine or face jail time.

Rely on a Good Car Rental Service

If you’re not driving your own vehicle, make sure you’ve researched and booked through a good car rental service before you arrive. This will save you both money and time, and give you the opportunity to figure out which car rental companies offer the best service and price.

Check out holidayautos.co.uk to find the best deals on car hire – the platform allows you to search, compare, and save.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    20 Comments

  1. Some good tips here about road trips! Especially important to remember not to get too tired and take plenty of breaks!

    • Thanks Star, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, always important to stop, revive and survive!

  2. Road trips can be so tiring but we love them. Always important to not drive when tired and have a real map in your car in case anything happens to your sat nav or mobile

    • Glad to hear you’re a fan of the road trip too Mellissa! Yes, especially on long drives where the scenery is very similar, it’s super easy to get tired – so important to stop, revive and ultimately, survive!

  3. These are all fantastic tips. I also love real maps so you can study things in more detail and get to understand the location and smaller details and how they all fit in together.

    • Thanks Noel – absolutely, real maps are great for that, and they offer a great insight into the topography, and as you said, list smaller towns and details that you can’t often get from your device when you’re on the go.

      Happy road tripping!

  4. I have to admit I do push myself to the limit sometimes, like recently I drove from the Italian Rivera back to London, UK in less than 17 hours and its about 860 miles! So tired afterwards but was buzzing afterwards. 😀 But more rest was needed I think 🙂

    • Oh wow that’s a lot of driving for one straight trip! Yes, always prioritize a rest if you need it, safety first!

  5. You never know if technology is going to fail on you so having a real map as a back-up is a great idea. Totally agree about making sure that you look after yourself and take time out if you are fatigued. Definitely was drilled into me by all those ads they played in Aus. 🙂

    • Absolutely – my phone battery is shocking of late, so I can never fully rely on having Google Maps. And yes, we definitely have a huge campaign throughout Aus for “stop, revive, survive”! I give the government full props on the road side campaigns they run preaching safety 🙂

  6. Good tips. I always like to have a physical map if I’m on an extended road trip for the same reasons you mentioned. It is great that Google Maps works offline, but if something was to happen to the phone, you would be out of luck. Always better to be safe than sorry! No one wants to drive around not sure if they are heading in the right direction.

    • Thanks Drew! Absolutely re the physical map, my phone battery is shocking and dies once or twice a day now if I don’t have ti plugged in – I need a new one!

      But we’re luckily always prepared with old school navigation for when our technology decides it doesn’t want to work anymore. Nothing worse than being lost with no help in direction!

  7. I’m a BIG fan of paper maps! They have the added bonus of context – you can see where you are in relation to everything else, and you can also see route alternatives and nearby attractions that you might not have factored in to your trip. That’s how we’ve discovered some places we’d never otherwise have visited. Of course your tips apply to road trips anywhere, but research is especially important in Australia where distances between services are so great in some of the more remote areas.

    • Absolutely – it’s so sad that we’ve largely lost our want / ability to use a good old street map – we have one in our car for the State, and a larger one for Australia itself if we decide to go interstate. Sure, we have our GPS, but as you said, you get a lot more context with a paper map, and it’s nice to have route alternatives, and possible detours for nearby attractions on hand – all of which missed when using a GPS!

      And absolutely on your point about Australia – research is so essential if you’re heading through regions with limited facilities. Incredible country for a road trip, but definitely requires prior planning before hand.

  8. That is one area of travel I hope to do a little more of. I have not been on many road trips before. If memory serves me right it is probably one and it was very short. Even on that short road trip I took along a paper map. I just like having it on me “just in case” something happens. Like phone battery dying, etc.

    • Hope you have the chance to work in some new road trips in the future too … They’re so much fun – probably our favorite way of travel 🙂

  9. Those are fantastic tips, Megan. While I do most of the things you mentioned above but I am guilty of not carrying the REAL MAP and almost got in trouble for not carrying it. Recently I was on a solo road trip in the interior and wild part of New York upstate and there was no internet on my mobile. Even GPS stopped working. No person in sight. I was really scared. I just kept driving. I was lucky to reach my destination that day. Learnt an important lesson.

    • Thanks Archana, yes, definitely aim to carry a real map on your next trip 🙂 I think it’s something that most people overlook, but can really save you if you run into a worst case scenario.

      So sorry to hear about your trip! Glad you made it to your final destination in the end though. Scary!

  10. These are all really great tips, especially about the advance research. I’m in Albania now and you need to do your research in advance- the roads here aren’t that great. I have to say I’m really bad about using a paper map though. I need to get better at it. I’m so reliant on technology but you’re right- you’re not guaranteed service when you’re in a remote area!

    • I think a paper map would be a really good idea, especially if you’re traveling through parts of Eastern Europe which are more off the beaten path – I’ve found Google Maps / GPS to be not so reliable in terms of connection in these regions. So it’s nice to know you have a backup 🙂

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