Whether you’re planning a visit to German castles, journeying to French museums, stopping at Italian wineries or embarking on a full-blown Eastern European adventure, planning a road trip to the Continent takes a lot of preparation. Some people might be put off by all the planning a road trip requires, but here at Breakdown Direct we see cars as the perfect vehicle to discovery and freedom. Travelling by car means that you can see much more of a country than you would on a conventional holiday, and it’s often much more economical than travelling by public transport, planes and ferries. If you want to see for yourself, we’ve put together some tips to help you prepare. Here are five key things that we wouldn’t go on a road trip without.
The importance of a sat-nav really can’t be overstated. As quaint and whimsical as maps may be, if you rely on them, you’ll most likely be spending more time unfolding and refolding them to try and find out where you are than you will admiring the scenery and enjoying the drive. You don’t even have to contend with cost anymore, as it’s so much easier to get your hands on a reliable, economically priced model now than it was just a few years ago.
There’s a reason that European roadways are so well-maintained – and that reason is toll money. You’ll be expected to pay tolls in most countries that you visit. The amount you’ll be charged will depend on which road you’re using and how long you’ve spent on it, but as a rough guide, amounts tend to range from 2 to 20 euros. If you don’t have a European bank account and debit card, it’s a wise idea to make sure that you have enough cash to pay tolls as not every machine will accept international debit or credit cards.
Proof of Insurance and Roadside Assistance
Companies might maintain that most accidents happen close to home but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be magically immune from bad luck every time you travel abroad. Always check your car insurance policy before you leave, making sure that you have adequate European breakdown cover, just in case of any unwanted accidents or breakdowns. There would be nothing worse than spending your holiday stranded at the roadside, especially in a country where the mechanics don’t speak your language.
Make sure that your iPod/iPhone/MP3 is well-stocked, as you’re bound to underestimate just how quickly you’ll get through your playlist. Think you have enough songs? Then you’ll definitely need to add some more. If you’re planning to drive for a few hours each day, the radio probably won’t be any good, so your precious iPhone will be your only recourse – and the only way to escape from the endless car games that even the most sensible adults revert to playing. Aim to have at least 1,000 songs if you’re travelling for more than a few days.
Of course you don’t want to spend all of your time on the phone, but it’s always sensible to have it charged – just in case of an emergency! If your phone also doubles as your MP3 player, keeping it charged is even more imperative.
Pack these essential items and you’re guaranteed to have a fun, stress-free road trip. Now all you need to do is decide where you’re going.