As some of you might know I`ve done road trips in several parts of the world, and you will notice that there are differences when you travel in multiple countries. Here are a few tips on what to look out for when considering a road trip.
ROAD TRIP AUSTRALIA
Probably the biggest hurdle when you didn`t grow up in the UK is driving on the left instead of on the right. Everything you`ve learned in the past you`ll have to forget for a bit and switch to the other side. The most difficult being roundabouts and finding yourself in locations with not a lot of traffic, making you lose focus on driving on the left. It`s easier when you`re following other cars, you just follow along.
Tip: when you drive on the other side of the road for the first time, don`t hire a car in the middle of a big city like Sydney or Melbourne. Give yourself a smoother transition by hiring it in a smaller town or destination nearby.
Something to get used to: long distances. I know we drive lots of kilometers (miles) when on a road trip in Europe as well. But don`t forget when you drive for 200 km in Europe, you probably crossed another country and we have lots of highways for a smooth ride. Australia is twice the size of Europe, with most of the highlights around the coasts of the country. That doesn`t mean it can`t get done, just keep it in mind when looking at the map and calculating km to put it in hours as well.
Fuel might be expensive in Europe, but again Australia has some fair distances between cities and fuel isn`t particularly cheap here either, so make sure to calculate that into your travel budget.
I prefer having a four-wheel drive here in Australia as it allows you to go off the beaten path. Especially when exploring the Northern Territory it`s nice to have the comfort of a four-wheel drive. A campervan is a great way to explore Australia as well, as you`ll have your accommodation already with you.
ROAD TRIP EUROPE
If you grew up in the UK or Australia you will have the same adjustment problem I had going from right to driving on the left. You will have to get used to driving on the right within Europe. Again, give yourself the opportunity to get adjusted before hitting the streets of capitals like Paris or Rome straight away. (I would even advice against having a car in the big cities as public transportation is usually really good, not to mention the cost of parking a car in the city! Just hire the car to get you from A to B during your road trip.)
The great thing about going on a road trip in Europe is that you will be able to get a taste of different cultures in a short amount of time as you will cross a lot of countries while driving around.
While in Ireland we thought it was great having a smaller vehicle as it allowed us to park easily and gave us the opportunity to explore even the smallest back roads without any issues. Whereas if you have a larger vehicle you might find yourself limited on certain tourist routes.
ROAD TRIP USA
Driving around in the USA is similar to Europe when it comes to driving on the right. If you`re from the UK, allow yourself some time to adjust to driving on the other side. Regulations can be a bit different, like their 4-way STOP sign was something new to me. It`s always interesting to look into this and do a bit of research before you hit the road.
As with Australia, you will cover a lot of km (miles) when going on a road trip through the US. The advantage to Australia is that the fuel is more affordable when driving around America.
Having a larger car in the US gives you a safer feeling in my opinion because most Americans have large cars like SUVs. A campervan for example is a great way to explore the National Parks on the West Coast.
Want to hit the road? Check out these two itineraries for a road trip in Florida.
Some general tips
There are a few tips that will help you on any road trip, the most important one probably being the preparation: planning the route, looking into laws within the countries when it comes to speeding and certain regulations they may have. In Europe it might be different for each country but also in Australia and/or the USA different states have different laws!
A road trip is in my opinion always a lot of fun and a great way to discover a destination at your own pace no matter where in the world. Just follow some guidelines, do some research and go out and EXPLORE!
Which country or continent has your preference when going on a road trip?
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