Road Trip How To (Roadtripper’s Cheat Sheet)

The Basics of a Real Adventure (part I)

10 min readAug 15, 2016


Part II: How to Plan Road Trips and Get Full Freedom of Movement?

Most of our Timescenery team love travelling by car. It’s absolutely amazing to have full freedom in movement. And the impressions you get are completely different from those after a package tour or a guided one. While driving from one place to another you can find new interesting spots along the road. Let alone the scenery around you!

You can prefer to travel by your own car, but usually it’s more comfortable and less risky to rent a car upon arrival to the airport or railway station and start your road trip from there. Most of the car rental companies even allow you to drop-off your car in their other locations, but for an extra charge.

Going on a road trip is not just booking a vacation, it’s an adventure! I’ve decided to share some experience and create this cheat sheet of the basics. If you think I missed something, feel free to comment.


Of course, everyone would like to ride a Mustang on a long road in Arizona, but take it seriously.

When choosing a car think of your driving skills and the class of the car. Renting a Smart for mountain roads is not a good idea.

Consider location!



You should respect the privacy of people, the road regulations of the country and the rules of your car rent company.

Do not drive on private territory. Do not go over the speed limit. Do not forget to ask the car rental company about the rules of driving outside the country where you pick-up the car. And make sure you have the visas.

Charge & Charges

If your car doesn’t have the navigation system installed you should have an app for it on your personal device. Remember to take the portable charger with you or connect one to the car.

Most of the navigations apps work offline to save your money and battery life (you just need to download the maps of the place where you are going to drive).

As for the charges: buy a local sim-card or a travel sim, turn-off mobile data while you don’t need it, mind the toll roads on your way.


At first, check the roads you are going to take. You can read about its quality in travel forums. Consider renting a 4x4 if the roads are mostly rough.

Calculate the routes in advance and plan stops for each 2–4 hours. If you are lucky to drive in places like Norway or Iceland, plan your night stops carefully and have absolute freedom at daytime! Enjoy 360° of beauty!


Speaking of Norway and Iceland — it’s not a cheap vacation if you want to see the nature’s heavens. But it’s worth it!

Remember, that getting somewhere is just the first step. You may buy a cheap flight ticket but don’t forget about the prices in your destination country.

Take your credit card, but don’t get confused by foreign numbers.


Keep your car well fed. Do not go to extremes thinking that there will be another gas station soon. Surely you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no fuel.

If you are driving in areas with low population density, plan your routes wisely.


When packing your things for the journey, remember that you will always be on the road. Packing process should be easy. Take minimum, but useful. Don’t forget your personal hygiene.

Gas stations usually have small shops, where you can refill not only your car, but also your bag. Visit supermarkets on your way to buy some food for long road trips.


Let’s hope you won’t need it. But
forewarned is forearmed! Save the emergency phone numbers of the car rental supplier and your travel insurance company. It’s also good to have at hand the phone numbers of lodgings, where you are going to stay for the night. Locals can find help much quicker. If you stuck on the road with no mobile coverage, ask other drivers to get you to the nearest place where you can make a call.


Usually the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) is included for car rentals. It states an amount, which differs depending on the car rental company and the type of car. It’s a maximum sum of money you will pay in case of damage dealt to the car.

Consider paying extra for the full protection. All costs for repairs will be not your headache.


Traffic jams. No matter where you are, there is always a possibility of a traffic jam on your way that slows you down.

It can be a narrow road with a slow motion driver in front of the car caravan or a highway with an accident ahead of you.

When planning your movements, take it into account and include some extra time to your schedule to be on the safe side.



You never know what situations you will face in your adventure. Always take a medical kit with things you need personally and the basics like bandages, disinfection stuff and pain killers.

Apart from meds you might need some tools. Take a swiss knife which has a small knife, scissors and other usefull things.

A flashlight, a repellent and some energetics would be a good addition.


To have maximum comfort, plan your overnight stops in advance. In some secluded areas you might find it difficult to find a place to stay.

Check the map, find hotels or other lodgings along the way and book accommodation prior to arrival to have a place for rest.

You don’t want to sleep in your car, do you?


Try to start your day as early as possible. You get advantage among other drivers and can catch great views as the one on this picture. Let alone the extended time you will have for your trip and stops in interesting places.

Sleep is extremely important in long trips by car, so make sure to go to bed at proper time to have a good rest before next day.


Sitting on a bench with your loved one and checking the map together can be romantic. It works for city walks, but not for road trips.

Remember to get a navigation tool installed. It might be a GPS system provided by car rental company or an app in your smartphone. Some of them work offline so you don’t have to worry about the connection.

Oh my God!

Just a few full screen photos for motivation.

Police? No! Pain in the back.

I am not going to remind you that you should follow the rules of road wherever you are. If you don’t, you might get into trouble with officials.

Sitting in the car for a long period of time is bad for your back. Make stops at least each 3–4 hours to stretch your body, especially your back. Driving non-stop for the whole day might create a gap in your route as you won’t be able to get up from the bed.


Where there are queues on the road? I have mentioned traffic jams and borders above, but I forgot (yeah, ok) that border crossings can also be overcrowded. Google for people writing about the place where you are going to cross the border. You might need to add extra time to your schedule.

And Remember — queue jumping is for losers!


Speaking of the rules…

Even if it’s ok to go over limits in your home country, the situation can be much worse abroad.

Fines can be really high depending on the country. It doesn’t matter if you are a foreigner. You will have to pay the fine. You can even be restricted from traveling to this country in future if you don’t pay.


The majority of countries on our planet drive on the right side, but there are places where most of the drivers get confused.

It really takes some time to get used to another side driving.

Don’t forget to check your travel destination and be super careful for the first couple of days of your journey.



When you book a car for rent, always consider the transmission of the car. And it’s not only about your driving skills.

If you‘ve been driving cars with automatic transmission, you have no choice. Unknown roads are not the best place to start learning.

Mind the landscape. Manual transmission is always better for hills and mountains.


You might feel temptation to open the roof of your cabrio or put your hands out of the window when it’s hot outside. Fresh wind makes you feel comfortable.

Driving fast on the surface of the Earth means nothing in the eyes of the Sun. Covering your head and skin or using the sunscreen is a must!


Have your sunglasses at hand. The angle of sunlights can be annoying. You can also catch a bright flash with your eyes if the sunlights are reflected.

Also it’s better to have your headlights always turned on for others to see you better. If you are alone in the wild, use the high beam at night to see obstacles in the good time. But turn it off if you see a car in front of you.



Humans with their noisy cars are not alone on this planet. Respect other living beings and be careful on the road. Maximum attention in the forests and savannas.

Unfortunately, insects are killed in tens in each road trip. Mammals are bigger, so you can see them. But remember! They might appear right in front of you, so use caution.


X-ray is not connected with road trips, so I decided to list some things you should never do on the road wherever you are:

  • Never leave your car opened, even it’s just a short stop.
  • Don’t drive too much at night. Fatigue is deadly for drivers.
  • Don’t go too far from the civilization without a full tank and, possibly, some extra fuel.
  • Don’t stop to watch a deer or a bear walking by if it’s close.
  • And finally… Don’t be an asshole. Everyone on the road is equal!


You, and only you are the boss in a road trip. You can go wherever and whenever you want. This is what the real freedom is!

Trips can be different. You can love lying on a sandy beach, skiing in the mountains, walking in the cities or hiking in the mountains.

With a road trip you can combine it all in a single journey!


The last but not the least. The real adventure doesn’t have to be dangerous. You can get a priceless experience that will stay with you forever. And remember — zigzags can be amazing!

Part II: How to Plan Road Trips and Get Full Freedom of Movement?

Author: Kirill Khomko




Adaptive Travel Guides with in-car integration. New standard for virtual guidance and storytelling.