How to make your road trip more enjoyable
As some of you may know, I’m half Polish. My mother is from a town called Krosno, in the south of Poland. Growing up, we spent almost every summer, and almost every Easter holiday, until my parents got divorced (when I was 14), driving through Norway, Denmark, Germany and Poland. When I was a child I kind of hated it. The many, long hours spent in the car, feeling carsick, visiting exactly the same countries, and in many cases the same cities, every single year, I wasn’t a huge fan. But it was what my mother wanted. So we did it.
Did this put me off going on road trips as I got older? No, not at all. I just learned to do things a bit differently. Besides, it’s easier to go on road trips with today’s modern technology than with the old fashioned, confusing maps, no hotel booking apps or other essential apps.
Here’s my list of things that will make your road trip more enjoyable:
1. Pause, unwind, stretch your legs. Driving for several hours straight will make you feel miserable and uncomfortable. Unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care and just wants to reach the destination ASAP. Your travel companions, however, might wanna stretch their legs (or need to pee) every now and then.
2. What are the cities/towns/villages between destination A and B? Instead of driving for I don’t know, say 4 to 10 hours straight, if you have the time to make your trip a little longer and you’re not in the rush to get somewhere to do something specific, make detours. Go on Google Maps; Get to know the area. Do some research on the places. Are there any monuments, cathedrals, castles, nice restaurants, markets, shopping malls, attraction parks, anything in the nearby area that can be a fun way to spend some time, instead of spending almost a complete day in the car?
3. Be spontaneous, but within reason. You don’t have to book a hotel in advance, if you wanna feel as liberated as possible without the pressure of reaching a certain destination or doing something specific. You wanna leave everything up to fate? Fair enough. But using apps like Hotel Tonight, might not be a bad idea. At least then you’re sure you’ll find somewhere to spend the night, instead of driving around aimlessly, wasting time, trying to find somewhere that’s not fully booked or overpriced (like my parents did when I was a child).
4. You have friends/family in the areas you’re passing through? Hit them up! If you’re already in the area of someone you know, you might as well text them or give them a call to let them know. They might also give you some local tips, suggest a better route and recommend places to visit.
5. Make sure everyone’s having a good time. Don’t just do what YOU want to do. Your travel companions have different interests, different needs, different wants? Listen to them. They like historical monuments and museums? You like attraction parks? They wanna go shopping? You wanna go to a local pub? Make it a democratic decision. You can easily visit a museum and a monument and go shopping, the same day. And you can also visit an attraction park during the day, and relax with a cold beer in the evening.
I have learned to road trip this way as an adult. As a child I witnessed my parents making a whole lot of mistakes, which inspired me to write this list. Hope it will inspire you to hit the road and travel this summer!
Photo from Luxembourg City – surprise road trip for my birthday weekend!