How to plan a roadtrip

When planning a roadtrip there are so many things that you have to think about. I have already planned some roundtrips/roadtrips all by myself, because I prefer not to book a planned round-trip in a travel agency. For me it´s important to plan the trip on my own, so that I will have enough time for everything that I want to see in each area. I already planned that for my Sweden roadtrip that I did this summer, but also for my Ireland trip some years ago (My Ireland travel blogposts : Travel diary Ireland Part 1, Travel diary Ireland Part 2, Must-see places in Ireland ).


The planned roadtrips at the travel agencies normally have a thight time schedule for all the sights that you will come by, the hotels are all fixed when you decide to book the trip, sometimes most entry fees for sights are included in the total endprice and more. It´s for sure more comfortable to book roadtrips in travel agencies, because that way you don´t have to plan a lot on your own, but for me it was never an option, because I want to decide what exactly I want to see, want to have some spare time, time to stroll around and just relax, be flexible during my trip and more.

It´s absolutely not easy to plan such a vacation alone or with friends/family, because it takes a lot of time, but also because you need to investigate what´s the best route for you, where all the sights are, how much the entry fees are, where you could stay and so on. But as a real travel lover, I LOVE to plan all of this, because it makes every trip unique and special and  it´s perfectly planned just for you.

The route


First of all, I always try to fix the route that I want to see. Sometimes I search for similar roadtrips in the internet and get inspired by that, I also open google maps every time and search for different things in the internet in general, but mostly I use travel guidebooks, which offer all necessary informations in one book.

Picture from my roadtrip through Ireland

I always try not to plan too long distances for one day, because that would be too stressful for me. I want to have enough time to really enjoy the places that I visit and I absolutely don´t want to feel stressed, because I know that it will take some hours to get to the next destination.

Something that I also always try to take care of, is that I don´t plan the route too detailed, so if I spontaneously find a place that I would like to visit, I can also drive to different places which are not directly on my way.

For me, it takes most of my travel planning time, to plan the route, because I want it to be perfect for me/us and then in the next steps I plan the other important details.

Getting there


Where do I want to start my roundtrip on my planned route? Are there any airports? Or is it maybe possible to travel there by car or train? - These are questions that you have to ask yourself right after planning the travel route.

When I travelled to Ireland the car or the train was no option, so we had to take the plane. This summer I also made a roadtrip to Sweden and I also had to take the plane to get there, as all other options would have taken way too long.

My flight to Malmö, where I started my Sweden roadtrip (detailled blogpost will follow)

At first I always find out which airports are close to the places that I plan to visit. The next step is, to search for possible flights to all of the airports which are close to my route. For flight search I like to use Skyscanner.com, because you can see all flight prices for one month. So if you are flexible with your flight dates, this is perfect to see which day would be the cheapest. I compare all the possible flights and then decided, depending on the price and the flight times, which one I book.

Getting around


When doing a roadtrip I prefer to book a rental car. But the train or a bus is also a good option to get around. The reason why I prefer to book a rental car, is the comfort of having enough space for all the stuff that I travel with, but also that I am super flexible with the car and can drive wherever I would like to.

Car rentals are not always very cheap, so I compare the prices of all rental companies that are located at the airport where I arrive and try to find the best deal for me. You also have to take care if you can return the car back at where you want to return it. During a roundtrip, you often don´t get back to where you started your trip and therefor have to return the car at a different place - mostly you will have to pay for that extra (a so-called OneWay-Fee). Not all car rental agencies have offices at all airports, so check if the return is possible, before you book.

View to the hotel surroundings and to the rental car in Sweden

Small cars are of course the cheapest options, but during a roadtrip, where you sometimes have to take a lot of things with you, I prefer to book a middle size car. In Ireland for example I was so glad that we didn´t book a big car, because the streets were partly very small and that would have been horrible with a big car like a SUV.

What´s also very important for me it, that I can book a good insurance for the car, because I don´t want to have an expensive bill at the end of my rental. To come back to my example from my Ireland trip- the streets were so small that the car often touched some trees, as there was just not enough space to drive - and if I wouldn´t have booked the good insurance, I would have had to pay for all the little scratches that the car got during the trip.


Accommodation


One of the most important things to plan for my roadtrip are the accomodations/hotels for the trip. A roadtrip, like I plan it, is not a relaxing vacation - it´s exhausting, even though it´s great to see a lot in a short time, it is also partly stressful. Especially when it´s a stressful day, it´s super important to me to have a pretty hotel room with a cozy bed, where I can relax and calm down, but also to start refreshed into the next day.

As soon as you know your route, it´s time to plan where you want to stay. I am always focusing on a specific area and not on a city, because that way I have more options to find something that I like. When booking the hotels (for my Sweden roadtrip I had to book 8 different hotels to see everything on my route) I always book breakfast too, because that way I can more easily plan my budget for the trip and I also just love to wake up and to know that there is a breakfast buffet waiting for me.


Skanör beach in Sweden

Have you ever done a roadtrip? Where would you like to do a roundtrip?

Yours, Nina


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E-Mail: ninaloveslondon96@gmail.com