Last summer a guy mate, my borfriend and I took a Roadtrip around the West Coast of America, you can read about the adventure here. But the reason the trip was so successful was from planning and everyone getting along. Here are my top 5 tips:
1.Shop around for Car Rental
Hunt around everywhere, ring as many different companies as possible, be flexible by a day or so on the dates and make sure you drop off in the same place you pick up from. We spent over a week researching prices and in the end got it $200 cheaper than the first quote I found. Every company I looked at charged a huge fee for dropping off in a different city so it made sense for us to alter our plans a little to avoid this fee.
2. Plan the route and Buy Maps
We spent many hours planning our route, changing the direction we were going to drive in several times. Making sure we included places everyone wanted to go and deciding how much time we wanted to spend in each place were big factors of the planning. But the hardest thing was knowing how far we could drive in a day, this wasn’t the UK – distances were huge and driving condition were very different. We got hold of local maps as well as buying a GPS so never once got lost and our planning was that successful we often drove further than planned and ended up with a free day or two.
3. Book Accommodation Ahead
Sounds silly when you say it out loud but this is one thing we didn’t do well and got caught out by nearly every time. It’s hard to book ahead when you don’t know where you will be spending the next night, but just a simple phone call as soon as you do might save a night’s kip in the car, or having to beg people to pitch your tent on their space.
4. Have a kitty
The first day we got the car and put in gas we made a kitty, this brought group meals and gas. Meaning that everyone one paid the same amount in and no one fell out about someone not paying their fair share. We even used our kitty to pay for campsites and fire wood. Not once did anyone moan about money being unfair.
5. Keep an open mind
Not everyone will want to do the same thing and you are not going to get to do everything you dreamed of, once you accept that it will be fine. Each of us a one or two places we wanted to go the rest was open for discussion. We never once argued or fell out, we made decisions together and even when something went wrong we laughed instead of falling out.
6. Car Insurance & Documents
I know it’s expensive especially if you are under 25 but driving without insurance is asking for trouble. It’s like travelling without travel insurance, you just wouldn’t do it. It’s not just the car insurance that is important, make sure you have your license (card and paper part), your passport and credit card to rent the car without these chances are you won’t be able to rent.
The music for the car isn’t serious but you would be lost without it let’s be honest, we had a digital radio and fancy system in our car so the music got played to the max every day. The driving and scenery might be awesome but there is only so much conversation you can make when driving for hours upon hours.
The only other thing I would say is to make sure you know the road rules and which side of the road you are driving on!