5 ESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP TIPS
Say that five times, fast…
After making the journey from London all the way to Cesenatico, via Lake Como and then back again via Evian-les-Bains… a round road trip taking over 30 hours, I feel well prepared to offer up my 5 tips for a fun + foolproof road trip! With a bit of planning, this stage can be enjoyed almost as much as the destinations you are trying to reach! Caffeine and a sense of humour, very much required.
- If, like we did, you are setting off at some ungodly hour my advice would be to skip the morning java! Seriously! Now, I know you’re all looking at the screen thinking holy crap this girl is a few sandwiches short of a picnic but just hear me out. No doubt you will shoot up out of bed in a panic and go into crazy last minute planning mode. All that pre holiday excitement and adrenaline making sure you’re up and running at full tilt, well my advice is to use this for as long as possible. You start lacing the coffee into you too soon and you will also feel terrible too soon. We all know (and dread) that feeling when the coffee just stops working, well try and delay that. We were about 6 hours into our journey before the situation got desperate, one double espresso each and we were flying again! In the 14.5 hours driving time to Como I think we made 2 double espresso stops and we actually arrived in Como feeling pretty good, all things considering and minus that awful slightly spaced, jittery feeling.
- Take food with you. Like actual real food, not just Haribo Tangfastics. You can’t guarantee what you will be able to pick up at the service stations and it’s sods law that when you are starving you will be faced with Burger King, a load of sweets and some awful pre packaged sandwiches. They all might seem like a good idea but trust me when I say you will end up grumpy and grouchy and simultaneously feeling like you have eaten EVERYTHING and yet haven’t really eaten at all. That feeling and the resulting mood is most definitely not cute.
- Make a playlist, for the love of god… make. a. playlist. We totally failed at this and despite having an iPod with about a million tracks on it we just couldn’t seem to find our sweet spot. If you do find yourself in such a jam, Kings of Leon always do the trick. Keep your eyes peeled though because Dan (the music man) might be compiling the perfect playlist for you and your adventures very soon! If you prefer a more chilled vibe you could even listen to this 60 minute mix that we created.
- Stop to stretch. I literally spent 15 minutes on the grass outside a service station somewhere near Basel bent up like a pretzel, legs all over the place and it did me and my circulation the world. of. good. I mean, despite our frankly rather amazing physiologies, after about 10 hours of sitting in the same position (ie minimal muscle contractions), it definitely needed a nudge in the right directions! Plus it was pretty lush to stretch out in the sunshine, breathe in some fresh air whilst looking over at the mountains.
- Stay hydrated. We drank about two litres each and still felt a little dehydrated when we arrived in Como. Since people often avoid drinking too much on long journeys to minimise loo stops, dehydration is a very real issue and it will leave you feeling crappy. No way to start your holiday so, accept that you may have to stop a couple extra times and drink up!
And there you have it! If you are tentative about taking a road trip somewhere, don’t be, it’s awesome! There’s something so cool about watching the world change as you drive through it, especially if your route takes you through the mountains at any point! It’s also pretty awesome to just be able to throw things in the car (including the dogs!) without worrying about excess baggage and liquids and customs and so on and so forth.
Passing through 5 countries in one day (England, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy) definitely made me feel like the world was much smaller and more accessible than I had previously thought. Plus when you’ve done it once and realise it’s really not a big deal you will be itching to load up the car and set off every time you spy a gap in your diary.