Road trips are one of my favourite forms of travelling. Just grab your friends, pick a destination, have a killer playlist and get ready for those deep conversations. Luckily enough I manage to do a road trip from Copenhagen to Amsterdam (return). It was such a blast observing different landscape, going on the autobahn and getting that strange feeling of crossing different borders, it must be an Australian thing! While road trips are meant to be fun and spontaneous, there are a few things you should plan out and do before it turns into a living nightmare. Here are 5 things you should know:
Obviously, you need a car to begin the trip. Nevertheless finding a car can be tricky especially if you want to keep it under a certain budget. It is true that the majority of Europe drives manual, however, there are automatic cars with a higher price tag. Another issue is if you are under the age of 25, some car companies will limit your choice to smaller cars due to “inexperience” drivers. In turn, also expect to be paying higher rates and higher insurance.
If you are planning to do a return trip, figure out where you are going to park your car. It most cities you would need to pay for parking and it can get quite expensive, so look for long-term parking areas. If you are lucky enough your accommodation might give you free parking.
#2. Physical Map
Physical map? YES! Make sure you have a physical map with you! Usually, we would be relying on our GPS or our phones as a map. With phones, it can be problematic as you are either going to be paying for international roaming when crossing borders (it will be expensive, especially the Danish phone companies) or your phone will not be picking up reception or it is dead. On our way back to Copenhagen from Amsterdam, a section of the autobahn in Germany was blocked off due to some incident. Hence we took a detour away from the autobahn but getting ourselves completely lost and landed in the German countryside, with cows and green paddocks.
#3. Driving Conditions
Research what driving conditions you will be driving in. From the weather to terrain and to the speed limits on the freeway/ highway. Understand what conditions you are driving because safety is the key. Make sure to have breaks and stopover to be able to stretch, eat and walk around. It is also a good idea to look up road rules or laws if you are entering multiple of countries. To people who likes to nap, make sure one person is awake to keep the driver company and help them with directions when needed!
#4. Road Tolls/ Ferry Crossing
Be ready to pay for road tolls and ferry crossing. Research what type of tolls or ferry crossing you will be using and estimate how much they would cost. Some of these are not cheap. In Denmark in particular crossing bridges are quite expensive, so be ready to pay $$$. Using the ferry crossing it depends on the type of car and the number of passengers in the car that determines the pricing.
5. Stop Overs
Make sure you have regular stopovers for toilet and food breaks. Have an idea where you would be stopping over and this includes filling up the car for fuel/gas. In my opinion, it would be ideal to stop over any cities, towns or villages along the way to get the most out of the road trip. Or anything that seems interesting to you. Heading from Copenhagen to Amsterdam we stopped in Hamburg for the night and took the next day to explore the city before heading off to Amsterdam.
Till next time, -M