Today’s #TravelTipTuesday is a comprehensive guide to enjoying a perfect road trip – courtesy of Marek Maslowiec of Oroko Travel. And judging from the number of cars in these photos – Marek has taken a road trip or two!
A road trip can be an amazing way to spend your well-deserved holidays. With a little bit of planning, bit of patience and bit of luck – this can be a trip of your lifetime. Budget or luxurious; relaxing or busy – it is up to you! Follow the checklist below and it is almost guaranteed that you will find your way.
Plan your journey
- Draft your itinerary and select places you MUST, WANT and CAN visit. Do not add too much as you do not want to spend all your time commuting between the cities.
- Check distances between your points and plan accordingly. Remember, roads are not always empty.
- If it is a multi-day trip, prepare plans with notes and maps for each day. This will save a lot of time later during your journey.
- Get your maps ready, your own GPS or pre-loaded maps on your phone!
- Book your car in advance and check different options (loyalty codes, coupons, suppliers). Prices differences can be scary.
- Plan and avoid high extra fees. Check one-way rental fees, required deposit for the car class you book, extra insurance charges, parking & highway fees and of course, required documents.
Be safe & secured!
- Before you travel, make sure you book with a reliable car rental supplier.
- Pre-book an excess waiver insurance and READ the T&Cs (it can save a lot of confusion later!).
- Get your documentation ready! Full driving licence, photo document, sometimes voucher and credit card with the main driver’s name (with funds). Triple check before you leave your home!
- Check your car in detail when picking it up. All damages must be reported (on paper) before you leave the parking lot. You might be responsible for it later!
- During your road trip, NEVER leave any visible valuables (or any items) in your car. They attract bad luck very quickly.
- Drive safely and adapt to local conditions.
- Evaluate your skills and possible stress level on the road. Remember, driving in Nepal is different from driving in the USA.
- Obey local road rules to be safe and police may not be so forgiving!
- NEVER EVER drink & drive!!! NEVER!
- Local elephants may not really like your SUV… Don’t always trust 100% your local guide.
- Few other passengers may be waiting to pick up their car as well. It may not be as instant as you may think on arrival.
- Other road users do not know you are not local – they may not want to adjust to your driving skills (or speed) – car horns can be very loud sometimes!
- Finding parking and the way to pay for it might be tricky – sometimes some research is beneficial.
- Popular tourist spots will be also busy (and probably expensive) to park your car. Be prepared for it. NEVER leave your valuables inside! Lock your car!
- Usually only car class is guaranteed – famous ‘or similar’ can mean a lot. Specific car model & colour is usually allocated at pick-up. Always ask for choice (and travel agent’s free upgrades 😊 ).
Choose the right car!
- Think what you need, what do you want and how much you want to pay.
- When booking, do not book the car on top of your search results! Scroll down the list as more suitable & interesting cars (with similar prices) might be available! Bigger, more luxurious cars may be cheaper than you expected!
- Remember, how many passengers are travelling and how many kms will you be making. Rebooking at the time of pick-up might be pricey or even not possible.
- Baggage must fit too! Convertible is great, but you may need to carry your suitcases on the rear seats!
- Make sure you have sufficient funds for deposit (in most cases) for the car class you booked.
Use your Travel Agent charm!
- Always mention that you are a travel trade professional, and you might be rewarded you with some better options or at least some choice!
- Present your IATA ID card, some suppliers will be more than happy to give you some extras (never guaranteed)!