There are plenty of modern movies which deal with the idea of a road trip turning into a disaster. Whether it’s Dumb and Dumber, Road Trip (aptly), Little Miss Sunshine, Due Date, Thelma & Louise, or Easy Rider, there’s a consistent theme of carnage going on – clearly, hitting the road has more than one meaning in the world of Hollywood.
They’re enduringly popular as holidays, however, and although it may seem like an unusual time of year for a road trip, why not? With some winter tyres fitted and a sense of adventure, the autumn and winter months ahead offer beautiful scenery and Christmas cheer into the travelling next. To be on the safe side, here are a few tips on how to make your wintery road trip a sublime experience.
- Deck your car out properly
Depending on where you go, you’ll want your car to be properly decked out to handle the type of weather or terrain you’re heading into. The chances are it will be cold where you’re going, so consider some winter tyres to deal with the cooler temperatures. Failing that, fresh compounds would simply provide high levels of grip so you stay safe and mobile.
You may also want to consider some run flat tyres, no matter what time of year it is. In the event of a puncture, these fill with a substance so you can drive to a nearby garage to have a new tyre replaced. No more getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, in other words!
- Do or don’t prepare
There are seemingly only two types of road trip – ones where you prepare for it, and those where you don’t. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but sometimes heading out with no real clue of what you’ll get up to at a certain destination is what makes a road trip such an adventure.
For those of you with the beat generation spirit, a read of Jack Kerouac’s brilliant On the Road will be enough to inspire you to head out there with nothing but your car, a map, and a whole host of dreams.
Alternatively, large amounts of preparation can make sure everything passes swimmingly and you can enjoy the trip for what it is – a chance to see the world in greater detail and mix up your usual daily routine.
- Leave your smartphone behind
Almost everything most of us do these days involves a smartphone – many of us struggle to turn our minds off from them. A road trip would actually be an excellent way to break your smartphone habit (this link is to a handy guide on other ways to achieve this!) as there would be so many other activities to get involved with.
If you have to take a phone, take a basic and cheap model which you can throw around and use for emergency texts and calls. The rest of the time, you can use one of those cheap disposable cameras for picture taking (or a digital one, why not?) and tear your gaze away from the small screen for a while.
- Don’t think it’ll be like the movies
When not depicting road trips as a disaster waiting to happen, Hollywood also has a habit of displaying them to be a coming of age film or road to some sort of epiphany. Real life doesn’t quite work like this, of course.
Why should you head out on a road trip? A sense of adventure is a must, but much of the journey involves hitting the road and enjoying the scenery. In this respect, it should be used for relaxation purposes and to see the world, and not as a chance to deliver a briefcase to Mary Samsonite (one for Dumb and Dumber fans) whilst engaging in madcap misadventures.
Still, there’s no reason why road trip films shouldn’t inspire you. Indeed, they could influence the locations you want to visit. This list of the 17 best road trip films provides a few ideas.
- Check the laws of the country/county/state you visit
The idea of picking up a charismatic hitchhiker and sharing some bonding time is a romantic image, but it can also land you in a lot of trouble. As can myriad of other little easily forgotten/unknown details, such as up to a 2000 rouble fine in Russia if your vehicle looks like a disgrace.
If you’re heading abroad, this local laws and customs article provides a few basic rules to pay heed to. Ultimately, it’s up to you to put some research in before you head anywhere, but common sense is usually the best option available to you.
The end result can be a wonderful and charming holiday unlike any other. Whilst you’re unlikely to discover the meaning of life when, for instance, travelling from London to Brussels, you will at least be left with a treasure-trove of happy memories.