Road trips are such a liberating way to travel; no limitations, no time restrictions.
Travelling by car is one of my favourite ways to see a new place, and if I book at the right time, it can be cheaper and far more convenient than relying on public transport.
Don't get me wrong, experiencing the local transport is still important and can be eye-opening at times. Some of my fondest travel memories are of the uncomfortable, squashed up, bumpy, overnight bus and train rides throughout Southeast Asia. Those vehicles certainly aren't made for tall people.
Looking back on those rides, I'm impressed with every single trip I got through to save that extra money, but I now also know that I don't do well without sleep so it's not worth trying to save money on transport. They make for some great travel stories and new memories, but now that I’ve been through my share of them I can happily say I'll take a rental any day.
Here's why I’m obsessed with road trips and why I think you should be, too:
You can go wherever you want
I was so glad to have a car while travelling through Israel because the availability of public transport going to some of the main sites was almost non-existent. If there was a bus going to where I needed, it only ran a couple of times a day and at an inconvenient time.
Public transport can limit what you get to see when you don't have a whole lot of other options. Having a car means you can go to lots of different places on your own time, whether it be visiting a Couchsurfer, going to unique spots for sunrise and sunset or travelling at all hours without having to rely on a timetable. Which brings us to our next point...
You can choose your route
Whether it be the highway or the slow coastal route, you get to choose the way you go. It’s awesome being able to decide how long it’ll take you to get somewhere, within reason and speed limits, of course. If you’re in a massive rush, you can pay the tolls and take the highway, or if there are things you want to see you can have an early start and make some pit stops along the way.
As my husband and I were driving from Split to Zagreb in Croatia, we decided to take the coastal route the whole way up because we’d never been to that section before. It was a stunning drive, one we compared to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, and we felt lucky to have had the time and vehicle to try a new route. Though we've both visited Croatia multiple times, not once had we taken that road because we were always more limited on time. Having had the whole day to spare, the smooth, slow drive meant we saw a new section of the Croatian coast.
Image: Taxi in Morocco courtesy of The Lunar Surf House
You don’t have to lug your bags around everywhere
This is secretly my favourite reason for taking road trips! When you have a car, you can throw all your stuff in the trunk without having to roll up and pack everything tightly every time you move. When you get to your accommodation, you only pull out the bits and pieces you need so your room stays clutter-free as well.
The more you live out of a suitcase, the more appreciative you become of any moment you don’t have to carry everything on your back. Make the most out of this time and enjoy the freedom! Or simply become a master at packing light 😉
It can save time and money
The time factor is a clear one because having a car available to drive whenever you like means you’re never waiting around in transit for public transport. Leave early, arrive early or leave late, arrive late. Either way, you’re not wasting the day because it’s all on your own time.
The money factor isn’t always the case, depending on the country, but sometimes it certainly is. For example, you can save money when you have a fair amount of ground and sites you want to cover. Another time we were in Croatia, there were a few smaller towns we wanted to see right along a particular section of the coast. These weren’t all linked by public transport so we would have had to catch various rides and taxis going to each town from the closest larger towns. In this case, paying for the car was absolutely cheaper.
You can have some petrol costs covered by picking up travellers
Companies like BlaBlaCar allow you to enter the route you’re driving, list a price and allow travellers to pay you to take them for a section of or the entire journey. If you have two spare seats, two passengers may book in and potentially cover the cost of your petrol. As a bonus, you get to meet some cool new friends as well.
Just keep in mind that travellers have backpacks so be sure to list whether there is room for their luggage or not if you've hired a tiny car!
Why Your Next Getaway Should Be a Road Trip #travel #roadtrip
You can book in advance and cancel if you need
Depending on the company you choose, many will let you book your trip well in advance then cancel for a full refund closer to the date, so long as it's within the timeframe of their booking terms and conditions. This is great because you get to lock in a lower price early but have the option to cancel if you find a cheaper way to do it in the meantime. I usually use rentalcars.com and have up to 48 hours before pickup to cancel and get 100% of my money back. This is a huge pro because with budget flights, once you book, that’s it.
I hate being locked into a leaving date; it feels so constricting. Maybe that’s why I love driving so much; I get to be sporadic and free.
It makes you more adventurous
Having a car available makes you want to drive and explore more. Since it’s so easy to throw in whatever you need for the day like snacks, drinks and beach gear, you become more adventurous and spontaneous in your activity choices.
You can visit so many different places when you have a vehicle, and by knowing this, you’ll do more research into the secret spots where the majority of the other tourists will never go and get excited by visiting the hidden gems. And did I mention it’s so easy?? Setting out on a day of adventure doesn't seem like a massive task because you really can just throw everything in and drive off without a whole heap of planning.
What do you think, have I convinced you to go on more road trips?!
Let me know in the comments below if you love them as much as I do and if you have any tips of your own.
Image sources: pixabay.com, unsplash.com & The Lunar Surf House