How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip

How to plan a cross country road trip

Hey Owlets,

With COVID still running rampant in many countries, a lot of us are understandably nervous to go back to holidaying abroad. However, after nearly 4 months in lockdown we’re all in need of a good holiday while keeping ourselves and others safe, and a road trip could be the perfect answer!

A lot of people tend to instantly dismiss road trips - until recently it’s been considered one of the most uncool ways to travel, and it’s only in the last few years with millennials converting vans into hipster-friendly mobile homes that it’s become a sought after way to travel again.
Why you Should Take a Road Trip

I love road trips for the exact same reason that I love cruising - you get to explore a lot of different places in a short amount of time. But unlike cruises where you might find yourself running back to the ship with 10 minutes until all-aboard, road trips offer you so much more freedom. You can choose how much time you want to take, where you want to go and how long you spend in each place.

road trip is a very different kind of holiday to the typical “get on a plane and fly somewhere” trip/You need to be one of those people that enjoys the journey as well as the destination because that’s a huge part of the experience - sometimes you might even choose to go down a long and winding lane instead of taking the motorway, just because it’s the prettier route.

When you take a road trip you stumble across hidden gems that you may never have found on Instagram, but you’ll fall in love with that place even more because it’s a place you discovered without the help of social media.

How to plan a cross country road trip

Things to Consider When Planning your Road Trip

Normally I’m all for just leaving and seeing where you end up along the way, and that’s great when you don’t have a time limit, but when you’re going on a road trip as a holiday in between a busy work schedule it’s important to plan your trip so you don’t end up wasting time wondering what to do next.

One thing you need to think about are your non-negotiables. When planning a trip around the UK people often think it’s a small island so they don’t leave enough time to see everything. Even if you’re based in the UK you’ll probably underestimate how much time you need to travel; if there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to see then dedicate at least an entire day to getting there and exploring, because there’s nothing worse than building up your bucket-list location in your mind then only getting an hour to explore.

The second thing you need to think about carefully is your budget and, as part of that, your accommodation for the trip; your accommodation is most likely going to be the biggest expense and your budget if you’re camping compared to staying in hotels every night is going to be wildly different. The important thing is to be totally honest with yourself - there’s no point planning an epic road trip if you are going to spend your entire time feeling uncomfortable and dreading going to sleep every night, so if you’ve never been camping before or you’re not keen on the idea then now might not be the best time to start, and you need to reflect that in your budget. A road trip is a great time to give new experiences a try, so if you want to try camping/staying in a hostel then go for that, but book most nights in a hotel in case you hate it! It’s ok to stay in hotels if that's what you need to be comfortable, but you need to make sure you give yourself extra time to save money if that’s going to be the case. If you need help, make sure you check out my guides on saving money for travelling, and how to save money while you're travelling.

How to plan a cross country road trip

How to Plan a Road Trip

I think this is the point where everyone who’s considering a road trip gets a bit stressed out - I know I’ve definitely been there! When you finally decide to take a road trip it’s easy to panic and not know where to start. Make a list of all the places you’d like to visit around the country, then look at each of them on the map. You could either drop pins on Google Maps, or go old fashioned and print a map out then mark each place with pen. Now you can see where each place is you might be able to figure out a bit of a route. You need to decide how far you’re happy to drive or take a train each day, and from that you can work out if you’re able to travel between each of the places in a day or if you need to break up the journey with another stop. If you need to, you can either plan a stop in the middle, or stop somewhere near to your destination then get up the next morning to do the last of the journey. When planning you need to make a vague circle, so make sure you remember to plan getting back to your hometown if you live in the UK, or end your road trip at an airport if you’re flying home. If you get to the last stop and suddenly realise you have no idea how you’re going to get home/to the airport then your trip will go from relaxing to stressful very quickly! If you're looking for some recommendations of where to visit I have guides on what to do in Bristol, where to go in Bath, and how to make the most of your time in South Wales.

When to Go on a Road Trip

This last point is very much subjective. If you’re camping, you might want to go in the summer months when it’s less likely to rain, and the temperature should be a bit warmer at night. However, it’s the UK so the weather can change quickly and doesn’t really stick to seasons!! If you’re staying in hotels then taking the weather into account is much more of a personal preference. If you love the sun and have images of yourself lying on a beach or walking round a little village with an ice cream then summer is for you. However, you could do an entire road trip exploring how different cities celebrate Christmas, and a winter road trip exploring decorations, Christmas markets and region-specific traditions could be amazing. 

Road trips are a massively personal holiday but they offer so much freedom - you can do what ever you want and if something doesn’t work out you can just go somewhere else, especially if you're camping or have a caravan. If you want the freedom a road trip while staying in hotels then just look for offers with free cancellation. Whatever you do, road trips are meant to be fun so make the most of it, go with the flow and if something goes wrong just remember to laugh at it!

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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