If you've followed me on various social media sites, you will know that I can't stay in one spot. I get ants in my pants. In the UK, I have done various road trips going through different regions, such as travelling from north Devon to Cornwall to south Devon. I have driven from London to Isle of Skye. And abroad, I have island-hopped around the Channel Islands, from Guernsey to Sark to Herm Island. I have even travelled to 3 countries in 7 days, simply because I couldn't stay put. You may ask how could I have possibly absorbed 3 countries and learnt their cultures or saw everything I wanted to see. Well, with good planning and focus, you can see as much as you want to see in any country.
1) Pen and notebook
The reason why you usually want to visit a place is because most probably you've seen a photo and it took your breath away, or your friend or aunt wouldn't stop going on about their visit. For example, I saw a photo of the salt desert, Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia on Twitter. It was a photo of man standing all on his own with the blue sky and clouds reflecting on the ground. I wanted to see this place. I wanted to experience what it feels like to stand where that man was standing. The first thing I did was make a note of the place in my travel journal. I would then go on to build my itinerary around this place.
2) Build your itinerary
Once you have established where you want to go, the next thing I would advise is to find out if there are any key interests around the place. I rely heavily on social media. So many cities, countries and national airlines are using social media, especially Instagram, to get you interested in visiting their city or country. For example, the UK region of Dorset, has an Instagram @exploredorset run by 3 instagrammers. They take time to curate and feature all the best pictures posted by locals and other travellers who have tagged their picture with #exploredorset. You will find plenty of inviting photographs under that hashtag with geo-tagging so jot down all the places that catch your eye. By doing this, you are building an itinerary.
3) Use a map
Google is your friend. Or rather Google Maps is your friend. When you have noted all the places of interest, use a map to establish where the attractions are located. Are they in the north? Are they in the south? The last thing you'd want to find on your road trip is that you have driven past a point of interest miles away and missed an opportunity. Have a look below at how I have pinpointed places of interest in south Iceland. You will also see that using Google maps helps me to establish average travel time required from Point A to Point G.
4) Check the weather
It is important to find out what kind of conditions you will be driving in. Will you need a 4x4? Will you need snow tyres? Will you be driving through thick fog? You want to be prepared. I like to use the website www.weather.com because, not only does it forecast to 30 days, but it also gives you wind and humidity levels. I also found that the website was quite accurate but obviously we are talking about weather so anything can happen, but it is still advisable to check the weather.
Once you have established total time travelled between places of interest, remember you need fuel. When we travelled to Isle of Skye, there was a storm which we didn't know about because we didn't check the weather. D'oh! The storm caused an electrical cut off. Fuel stations were closed. If we had checked the weather, we could have filled up before arriving in Skye, we would not have had any problems. So please fill up wherever you can.
But importantly on a road trip, remember your body requires rest and relaxation so get some sleep!
Have I missed any other tips? Please share below.