Planning a road trip - tips and tricks for the perfect vacation by car

Roadtrip planen – Tipps und Tricks für den perfekten Urlaub mit dem Auto

Do you want to plan a road trip and really enjoy your vacation? This article will guide you step by step through the travel planning process and help you organize an unforgettable road trip with helpful tips and tricks!

Roadtrip Landschaft an der Küste

What is a road trip anyway?

A road trip is a long journey by car, often without a fixed route. This means that you are free to decide when and where you want to go.

All you seem to need for a road trip is a suitable car and the anticipation of an adventure. But is that really all you need?

There are a few more tips and tricks for planning a smooth and exciting road trip. For a smooth trip, you need a little more than Google Maps and a desire for long drives. Here you can find out everything about the perfect road trip route, the right road trip destination and possible surprises on your road trip.

Is a road trip the right vacation for me?

A road trip is a type of vacation for spontaneous and adventurous people. If the journey is your goal and not a particular attraction, if you prefer to live for the day and don't need to have everything planned out in advance and if you like long drives with friends or family and good music, then a road trip is just the thing for you!

Paar beim Roadtrip mit Blick aufs Meer

However, if you're not quite sure whether a road trip is really the right adventure for you, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want a well-planned vacation in one place or do you need spontaneity and variety?

  • Do you want to choose your own routes and destinations or do you want to get on a bus and have a guide take you through the sights and special places in a city?

  • Do you need the certainty of knowing what the day will bring, or are you ready for spontaneous bookings and changes in destination, travel planning or bookings?

  • Do you want to really feel the culture in the new country and mingle with the locals or would you rather stay in a hotel?

  • Do you like long drives?

If you answered "yes" to several questions, then you are the right type for a road trip.

Once you've made your decision, you can start planning your road trip.

Tips for planning the perfect road trip

If you like traveling with your camper, you should think roughly in advance about how long you want to travel for and whether you are tied to certain travel dates.

Which country do you want to visit on your road trip and what do you want to experience on your travels?

Paar beim Roadtrip studiert Karte am Auto

Here you can read the step-by-step guide to your perfect trip with a camper:

Step 1: The right camper

Which car is suitable for a road trip?

The answer to this question is very individual. You should consider what purpose the car should fulfill.

Do you want a safe car that can cover long distances without any problems? Do you want to buy a car or will you be renting a car for your road trip? Are you planning to spend the night in the camper or do you just want a car for the journeys? Do you want a kitchen and possibly a wet room in your camper? Or would you prefer to book accommodation on site? How many people should fit in the car? Do you have pets that you want to take with you on your trip or bulky luggage such as skis, bicycles or surfboards?

Here is a brief overview of campers that can easily be converted into mobile accommodation.

VW camper van

A VW camper van is probably the best-known camper van and is ideal for converting yourself. However, you can also buy fully converted campers.

The VW camper van will take you safely to your destination. It has a moderate size that allows you to take city trips with this camper. At the same time, it offers plenty of space inside.

You can comfortably accommodate a small kitchen, a toilet, a seat and a bed in the van and still have room to stay in the car in bad weather. A VW camper van therefore offers you the freedom you need when traveling.

Fiat Ducato

This camper van is also very popular.

The kitchen, bed and seats fit comfortably in here too, so you don't have to do without anything on your trip. Whether it's a short trip or a round trip - the Fiat is always a faithful companion.

Ford Nugget

The Ford is ideal for a vacation on wheels and drives you safely from place to place.

It also offers similar features to the models mentioned above and is usually quite affordable.

Please note: In some new Ford Nugget models, our BOXIO does not fit into the toilet compartment provided ex works.

Of course, the BOXIO can also be transported somewhere other than in the "toilet compartment" without any problems. Alternatively, we have also heard reports that the BOXIO also fits in the toilet compartment with minor adjustments to the housing.

Mercedes Marco Polo

The Mercedes is a superior car that you can rely on.

A camper van like this will save you any unpleasant surprises during the travel period and allow you to enjoy the perfect road trip without stress, but with lots of fun.

Of course, there are many makes and models of cars that are suitable as campers - you need to find out for yourself which model suits you and your needs best. You should also think about whether you want to try a self-build or get a rental car.

The advantages of a rental car are the quality of the car and the conversion, the time saved and the fact that the car is ready for your trip straight away.

Step 2: Where do you want to go?

In order to plan a road trip, you need to think at least roughly about where you want to go and how much time you have.

Do you want to go on city trips? Which country do you want to travel to - would you prefer to go far away or vacation nearby?

If you simply want to get away, you can take maps and embark on a new adventure by blindly pointing to a spot. Every new place will have something special in store for you. If you have a little more time, it's worth checking out different countries or cities while on vacation.

When planning your road trip, you should also consider whether you want to book accommodation in advance or whether you are not dependent on accommodation with your camper.

Do you want to drive your car from hotel to hotel or would you prefer to sleep outdoors? Which places would you like to see and what sights are there locally?

Of course, you can also decide spontaneously what you want to do and when, if you don't want to plan everything in advance.

Glückliches Paar im Cabrio fährt in den Sonnenuntergang

Here is a brief overview of the most popular road trip routes:

Bloemen Route, Netherlands

The 40-kilometer route is one of the absolute insider tips! You are unlikely to experience a more colorful journey.

The road trip takes you past many colorful, large and beautiful flower fields full of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

The route starts in Haarlem, about 19 kilometers west of Amsterdam. In Liess, you should pay a visit to the famous Keukenhof Garden. On 28 hectares, you can admire artistic indoor and outdoor flower beds made up of more than seven million bulbs. On your next stop in Leiden, a historic botanical garden from the 16th century and the De Valk windmill museum await you.

The end of the route is in Naaldwijk, where you can stroll through the wholesale flower market and take home tips for your own garden.

The best time to travel the Bloemen Route is in April and May during the flowering season.

Tulpenfeld in den Niederlanden

Black Forest, Germany

The 60-kilometer route leads along half-timbered houses and dense forests. The Black Forest is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany.

The best way to marvel at the beauty of the Black Forest is on a tour along the Black Forest High Road between Freudenstadt and Baden-Baden. The wide road meanders along at a leisurely pace and is perfect for cruising and marveling.

Here, the focus is more on nature with its beauty and tranquillity. So if you like peace and quiet and fewer people, the Black Forest trips will be just right for you.

Numerous bays around the highest point of the route, the Hornigsrinde, invite you to take a break. From up there, the picturesque valleys and green forests spread out before you in all their glory. The views from there are even more beautiful than you imagined!

Landschaft im Schwarzwald

Quiraing, Isle of Skye

70 kilometers of narrow roads wind their way up the steep massif. Past broken rocks, hills and cliffs - with the vast ocean on the other side.

This route is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But if you want to experience an adventure with breathtaking views, you should plan your round trip here.

The Quiraing Road leads through perhaps the most fascinating area in the British Isles. The routes were formed thousands of years ago as a result of landslides, which broke off large pieces of rock that now form the steep, jagged cliffs.

Landschaft in Schottland

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is a popular tourist destination, especially in summer. It is located between Sorrento and Salerno in the southwest of Italy and is one of the most romantic stretches in the world.

There is probably nothing better than enjoying a summer coffee in a pastel-colored, medieval town with a special view over the Mediterranean landscape and the blue sea!

It is best to drive the 70-kilometre route from east to west to enjoy the best views of the sea. You should also include places like Ravello and Amalfi in your itinerary.

Panorama Amalfi-Küste

Trollstigen, Norway

If you like adrenaline and want to plan a road trip, don't forget Norway! You can take the challenging 105-kilometre route in western Norway.

The road trip winds its way up a mountain in the Isterdal Valley in western Norway and has no fewer than eleven hairpin bends along the way. The "Troll Trail" is usually accessible between May and October.

Start as early as possible to avoid the buses and tourists, and drive slowly to take in the breathtaking scenery of waterfalls, fjords and lakes.

Bergstraßen in Norwegen

Iceland's Ring Road - Route 1

You should plan a little more time for your trip to Iceland. With a length of 1335 kilometers, this road trip is slightly longer than the other top routes.

On this road trip, you can admire active volcanoes, geothermal springs, lava fields, thundering waterfalls and breathtaking fjords.

When planning your trip, be sure to leave some time for the Northern Lights!

Route 1 leads around the island and connects the populated areas with each other. You should allow seven to ten days to complete the entire route.

Secret tips include the hot springs of Reykjadalur, Skógafoss, Jökulsárlón and Vatnajökull. In summer, keep an eye out for herds of sheep that may cross the road unexpectedly. And in winter, parts of the road may be closed.

Straße mit Blick auf Berge in Island

Atlantic Highway, England

The highway runs along the southwest coast of England and connects two of the most beautiful places on the island, Devon and Cornwall. The 124-kilometer route itself is more suitable for the more leisurely traveller.

Here, you ride through landscapes with small hills, ruins and hidden beaches in generous curves. Start in Barnstaple, a thriving market town with a Norman burial mound and a historic 13th century bridge.

Continue to Bude, where you can relax at one of England's few surfing hotspots. Further south, Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur, awaits you.

Stürmische See an der englischen Küste

French Riviera, from Marseille to Monaco

The beautiful coastal road of the French Riviera is dotted with posh grand hotels, small hilltop villages and winding mountain roads.

If you are pressed for time, you can complete the 297-kilometre route in two days. However, you should allow yourself at least a week to take your time to visit the travel tips of the Côte d'Azur, such as St. Tropez, Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo.

Start in Marseille, the beautiful city on the Mediterranean with its vibrant art scene and harbor. Follow the coast to St. Tropez, where you can enjoy the freedom of the beach with the rich and famous.

Küstenstraße an der Französischen Riviera

Step 3: The right pitch

Especially if you are traveling in the high season, you should take care of accommodation and campsites during your road trip in advance.

In summer, many countries are stormed by tourists and the popular pitches can quickly disappear.

Platforms such as, Holidaycheck, PiNCAMP or Airbnb give you a good overview of available accommodation that you can book online so that nothing stands in the way of your road trip, even during the high season.

4. tips for uncomplicated road trips

If you want to take a vacation abroad, you should familiarize yourself with some of the country's rules and make certain preparations for the trip if necessary.

International driving license

If you are traveling within the EU, it is sufficient to have your German driver's license with you. Outside of Europe, it is worth having an international driving license to avoid problems with the authorities.

South Africa, the USA and Canada do not always recognize the German driver's license.

You can apply for an international driving license at the driving license office in your city. You can expect to pay a processing fee of around 15 euros.

Remember to bring a biometric photo and your German driver's license. You will receive the international driving license directly and can use it for three years.

Roads, tolls and traffic regulations

Road conditions are more or less the same in most road trip destinations in Europe, the USA, Canada and South Africa.

In Canada and the USA, the roads are often much wider than in Germany. However, there are also exotic road trip destinations with poorer road conditions.

Find out in advance about the local conditions in order to make the right choice of vehicle. Sometimes an SUV with four-wheel drive can be helpful.

You should also find out about tolls in advance. Tolls are compulsory in almost all countries and when planning your route, it is important to take toll roads into account.

Google Maps and many other apps provide information about toll routes and sometimes also offer free alternatives, which usually take a little longer.

Especially in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Norway, tolls are expensive and increase travel costs.

Since a road trip on a country road is nicer than on the highway anyway, try to avoid the highways and thus save on tolls.

Credit cards

To be able to pay abroad without incurring charges, you should take a credit card with you. Charge or "real" credit cards are particularly suitable for road trips, as you can easily use them to pay the deposit for the rental car.

Make sure that your credit card does not charge any foreign transaction fees or withdrawal fees.

A foreign currency fee is also rather counterproductive abroad. What is important, however, is good customer service so that you can contact someone who can help you if you have any problems.

Helpful apps

To make your road trip even easier, you can download a few helpful apps to help you plan and organize your trip.

Google Maps and MyMaps are convenient map apps, as they not only navigate, but also display additional information such as opening times of restaurants and places of interest as well as telephone numbers.

Even if you don't have internet, you can use Google Maps in offline mode.

If you are a member of the ADAC, you can also download the ADAC breakdown assistance app. Here you will find all the information and phone numbers you need in an emergency.

For accommodation, apps such as Park4night, ParkMe or ADAC Camping are suitable. Here you will find beautiful pitches for your camper.

If it's urgent and you don't have a Boxio toilet in your camper, you can use the "Flush & Toilet Finder" app to find the nearest public toilet.

Offroad-Roadtrip mit Berg-Kulisse

The optimum trip duration: how many kilometers should you plan per day?

For the duration of a road trip, you should generally plan to drive no more than 200 to 300 kilometers per day.

Of course, road trips vary in duration depending on the weather, country and road conditions.

Depending on your mood on the day, you may feel more or less like sitting in the car for a long time.

The planning also includes generous breaks where you can simply do nothing and enjoy the view.

If you want to visit different cities and sights in between, this will of course also extend the duration of your trip.

Don't plan your days too full so that you can still make spontaneous bookings and activities.

Auto fährt auf Küstenstraße

Inspiration and help for road trip planning

If you need some inspiration when planning your trip, you can follow the road trips of other travelers on YouTube, Instagram or travel blogs and search for and find the information you need for your road trip.

Copy some ideas for your travel planning from experienced people and let them inspire you for new adventures.

Foreign countries often hold many surprises that you can only experience by sharing with other travelers.

Although there is a map and guides for all countries, you can only get insider information from people who have already been there.

With just one click, you can save your favorite trips on Pinterest or Instagram and access them at any time.

You can also mark and save specific locations and favorite places on Google Maps with just one click

In preparation, you can also download an app that contains information about the various stops on your route and in which you can mark and plan various points and sights.

There are many apps that contain interactive maps, clear program plans, tips and cost overviews for all road trip destinations, which can be very helpful when planning.

What is the best way to get to the starting point of the trip?

If you don't want to set off directly from home in your own car or camper, you will need to make travel arrangements.

Depending on where you want to go on your road trip, there are various options.

  • Flight: To find the cheapest and best flight, you can search on comparison portals such as Opodo, Skyscanner or Flü

    You can quickly and easily find the cheapest and most convenient connection online. Once you have booked your flight, nothing stands in the way of planning your road trip.

  • Airport parking: If you want to travel to the airport in your own vehicle, you should book a parking space in advance.

    Reserving and booking online is usually cheaper than paying on the spot and avoids having to search for a free parking space.

  • Train: Germany or its immediate neighbors are easy to reach by train.

    There are also night trains to some destinations, saving you an overnight stay and a day's vacation for the journey there and back.

  • Bus: Within Germany or to neighboring countries, the bus or night bus can also be worthwhile.

    One of the largest providers is Flixbus. However, you can also look for carpooling opportunities, for example at BlablaCar.

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