ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPPING EUROPE
Taking a road trip is one of the most exciting things for me; it is my favorite way of traveling. Why? Because there is no luggage weight limit, no securities check in which you have to take shoes and everything else needed off, I can take my dog with me, it is beautiful to see places and landscapes throughout the journey, you can stop whenever you want, there is no fear of flying - for me - to name a few. And if there is something I love, that is road tripping Europe, it is the best way to travel the old continent.
I can't even count how many road trips I have taken only around Europe, and there are many things that I learned from them all. So, thinking of all of you who plan to take a road trip around the old continent, Europeans or not, familiar or not with the rules, here are some essential tips for road tripping Europe:
PLAN THE ROUTE AND TIMES
Even if it's a last minute trip, plan the route and the times, really. I have done both last minute and well in advance trips and that's what I learned with my successful and unsuccessful ones. You need to plan the route because there might be construction works along the way, it might also be that you will have to pass through the mountains - very common in routes passing through Switzerland - or that a certain motorway is faster than the other and so on.
As for the time, of course, everyone wants to keep to schedule, but you never know how much traffic you will encounter along the way - especially if you are traveling during the holidays or at certain times, like between 7:00 - 09:00 and 16:00 - 19:00 in a weekday. You also don't know how the weather will be, which brings us to the next topic.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Depending on the season, which you are taking your road trip, checking the weather is crucial. The weather in Europe is very inconstant, forecasts can vary a lot from one region to the other, and you want to avoid fog, snow, ice and strong rain along the way. Even though the forecast won't change your departure date or your plans, at least it will prepare you for what's coming.
HAVE A MAP OR A GPS
Obviously you will need to know how to get to your destination, and even if you are not a big fan of GPS, I hope you like maps because you will certainly need one. Whether in paper, on your phone, or one that comes in the rental car, find something to show you the way. Since I moved to Europe in 2011, I use Navigon Europe app on my phone, it’s expensive, but if you live in Europe it is totally worth the price.
ALWAYS HAVE CHANGE
Coins will be your best friends on your European road trip. You will use them a lot if you need to go to the bathroom on the motorways. Once I needed to use the toilet on a long journey and had no coins, I had to stop in 5 different places, 4 of them had an automatic machine at the entrance door that would only accept coins. On the 5th time I found a public one for free, which was disgusting and had no toilet paper, since no one is taking care of it.
It is also important to have cash with you in case you need it, because finding an ATM machine is also no easy task depending on the motorway.
If you are renting a car, there is one very important thing you need to know: if you rent it on western European countries and want to drive to Eastern Europe, you will most probably have to pay extra for it. That’s because there are chances of the car being robbed when visiting these countries, so rental companies charge you more and it is advisable to pay extra for insurance.