DO: READ UP ON LOCAL ROAD RULES
Whether it’s the lack of speed limits on the autobahn or driving on the other side of the road in England, it is best to research some rules before you get there.While the best way to learn is to do, it is still better to know the basics beforehand to avoid surprises.
DON’T: ASSUME IT’S THE SAME AS AT HOME
Don’t think that just because you can drive at home you can drive anywhere. Every country is different, and while this difference may seem subtle, knowing them can keep you (and everyone driving around you) safe.
DO: TRAVEL OFF THE BEATEN PATH
If you are going to rent a car, take advantage of the fact that you can really go anywhere and everywhere. Make it a point to go to places that you could not reach by plane or train. Find tiny villages, explore mountain roads, and discover hidden sights.
DON’T: STRETCH YOURSELF TOO THIN
It is easy to get carried away and make too many plans. However, you don’t want to spend your whole trip in the car, and you don’t want to exhaust yourself with driving. Try to spread out long trips, make lots of stops, and explore smaller areas more in depth.
DO: THINK ABOUT THE MUSIC
You should never miss an opportunity to give your travels a soundtrack. It can add so much to an experience. Consider the music you will want to listen to on your journey and plan and pack accordingly. Radio is also a great option and can even double as a foreign language lesson (I spent my time in the Alps listening to a classical music station and loved every minute of it).
DON’T: PAY FOR GPS
It can be tempting to pay for the pricey GPS from the rental company, but you don’t need to. You can use Google maps on your phone, and do so without using any (or very little) data. You should also never underestimate a good traditional map. Don’t waste your money.
DO: RESEARCH HOW TO PAY FOR GAS
This seems like such an odd thing to have to research, but when you are running on empty and can’t find a place that will accept your swipe credit card (happened to me), it turns out to be a huge deal. Do your research and make sure you can buy gas easily. A word of advice, if going to Europe, get a credit card with a chip and pin.
DON’T: FORGET ABOUT TOLLS
Tolls can pop up a lot when road tripping, and they can add up quickly. Look at your routes. Consider setting your navigation to avoid tolls all together. It may take a little longer, but it will save you some money. If you will be using toll roads, make sure you have enough money (usually cash) to pay for them.