Road trips are the ideal vacation for me: I get around a lot, can discover the world and at the same time I can relax and come down wonderfully. Whether it’s Italy or the Baltic coast, with the right approach, any road trip can be a relaxing adventure where you can both relax and explore.
I’ve developed seven tips on how to make a relaxing round trip work:
1. Do not plan too much
Road trips can be stressful if you e.g. must travel a certain distance in a certain time. For me, it has proven to be the best option to just roughly plan the itinerary and pick out possible activities. But that’s all. This way I can stay a little longer in one place, if I like, because it’s so beautiful or move on quickly if the weather throws a spanner in the works. That brings us to point 2:
2. Book hotels only on the day of the overnight stay
. if possible. Sure, in the peak holiday season you’ll be lucky if everything isn’t booked up 3 months in advance. But in case you’re traveling in the off-season, I urge you not to book hotels in advance. At least not all. On the last road trip I did it so that I often thought on the day of the overnight stay, how far I still want to drive and then chose the destination and booked the accommodation. In vacation regions I have sometimes also for the next 2-3 days the goal and thus the accommodation firmly made. This has the advantage that you can spontaneously react to unforeseen events (bad weather, etc.)!) and get the most out of your road trip.
3. Stay 2 – 3 nights in each place
To get the best out of a place, you need time. Therefore I started to stay 2 nights in each place. So I have a whole day on site, which I can use to explore the surroundings. This is great if e.g. a long hike or an extensive visit to a museum is on the agenda.
It also gives you the opportunity to explore the local gastronomy and really get to know the place.
4. Book activities (guided tours, tours, . ) in advance
With all the spontaneity there is one problem: The great guided tour through the former nuclear power plant is fully booked for the next three days, the icebreaker in Rostock opens only after prior registration. That’s stupid, because I’m there right now and in three days I’m already on the road again. This is stupid. Therefore: research activities in advance and find out if and when you have to sign up for them. And as soon as it is foreseeable when you e.g. want to do the guided tour, sign up for it. In case of need you can adjust your vacation plans accordingly. 🙂
5. Always have provisions in the car
Who does not know that? The more hungry, the worse the mood. That’s why I always have provisions in the car. Muesli bars and chips belong to the standard equipment, if the hunger comes and far and wide no possibility is to get something to eat. I like to pack cut fruit or vegetables. But as an absolute tip has turned out: To take a few snacks with you at the local bakery: Also within Germany a real surprise – while here in Cologne the bakeries exaggerate each other and filled dumplings or elaborate sandwiches are part of the standard assortment, there was in Brandenburg sometimes only cake and rolls. It is worth investing some time in researching the bakery. In Italy, I have also had first class pizza at the bakery next door, which I ate as I went along.
6. Don’t ride too much in one day
Even with treats in the car: I really don’t like driving very much. If it’s the same for you: don’t drive so much in one piece or in one day. For me, 2 – 3 hours of driving per day is quite enough. Also for the train ride I find 2 -3 hours a good value – after that I can’t sit anymore and boredom sets in.
7. Ask locals for their recommendations
With all the research and planning I sometimes become deaf to the recommendations of the locals. But this has already saved me from disappointment in the past (to climb in clouds on a viewing platform on a peak, where you certainly could not have seen anything) and gave me many beautiful excursion destinations. In this case: the weather around another mountain was much better and so I could enjoy cheese fondue and a great view into the valley.
I have quickly developed a feeling for whether my counterpart really has a clue about the recommendation he/she is just making. People who really know about gastronomy recommend good gastro. People who really know about coffee recommend good cafes. For this, you eventually get a feel and know which recommendation to follow.
These are them – my 7 tips for a relaxing road trip where you take in the highlights without getting stressed out.
They can also be transferred to multi-day bike tours or hikes – I will try that out in the next few years. 🙂