For many people, whether male or female, traveling entails getting plane tickets and patiently waiting for the arrival to your holiday destination. But when was the last time you did a good old-fashioned road trip on land through the country.
With the increasing focus on reducing emissions, minimizing environmental pollution and embracing slower forms of travel, road trips are becoming fashionable again.
In this post, you’ll get some useful tips for solo travellers, whether you are a middle-aged solo male or a student solo girl, here’s some advice and tips that will help you have an incredible road trip on your own!
1. Choosing the right vehicle for the solo journey
Now, one of the most important things to prepare for a road trip is what form of vehicle you opt for. After all, on a road trip, you´ll only get as far as your wheels can take you. So, the first thing you should do is to consider what the options are, the costs, do you want to go in a car, SUV, campervan, mini-van and the list goes on.
If you don’t own your own car, then maybe its good to consider renting one from a reputable company for the trip.
But what are some key tips and things to take note after you do so:
1.1 A balance of room and efficiency
You´ll be spending a good amount of the trip in the driver’s seat so you must be comfortable in it. Now, you’d think that this would mean you should use a larger car, but in reality, bigger is not always better, after all, you´ll be the only one traveling so if you pick the largest car of them, all you’d only be wasting space, and worse of all, fuel efficiency.
For solo travels then, it’s best to pick a balanced option that grants you space without having to be oversized. Standard SUVs such as the Hyundai Santa Fe or even just standard-class cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze usually do the trick.
Now there are thousands of car models out there, so much that it’s easy to get lost on the names and brands, instead of searching for a specific type of car, search primarily for fuel-efficient and conformable/spacious models, ignore features like truck size, back seat space, and horsepower as these are pretty useless for solo travelers.
Now, let’s say that you don’t own a car, or that your car is a little run down or simply not fit for traveling solo, in that case, it is preferable to rent one. This way you´ll always know that the vehicle is well maintained and ready for the road.
Pro-tip: If you’re renting a car instead of using your own, search on the standard/full-size categories as these are the categories that house the most fuel-efficient models.
2. Useful Solo Road Trip Tips
Let’s discuss some of the most important tips on the road every solitary solo traveller must know before embarking on a journey.
In theory, getting to your destination is as easy as following the road for a determined amount of time, but in reality, getting lost is a very real possibility. Of course, we live in the 21st century, so you´ll find multiple apps that will help you navigate.
Each of these apps works a little differently so we’ll just mention three of them and their main features.
- Google maps: When in doubt, ask Google. This is especially true when it comes to navigation, as Google Maps provides almost everything you need when trying to find your way. It doesn’t have much on extra features, but hey, as long as you get to your destination it doesn’t matter.
- Waze: This one offers real-time data about the state of the road and calculates the shortest route, so you´ll see things like accidents and heavy traffic ahead of time which is great.
- OsmAnd: A rather simplistic navigation app but it has an amazing feature: you can download the maps and use them offline. Which is a great plan B in case you run out of signal.
Overreliance on your phone can be your undoing if your battery dies, so, along with a phone charger, bring another way to navigate. Such as the car’s GPS.
Pro tip: Many rental cars come with an added GPS feature, so, make sure to ask for that feature at the reservation.
2.2 Let someone know before you go
Part of the appeal of traveling solo is getting away from everything and everyone for a while. However, you should always inform someone you trust of your whereabouts. A simple text letting them know your general location will do. This way, if something goes awry, at least someone will be aware that you might be in trouble.
2.3 Always bring more snacks for the road
If an astronaut’s mission lasts for three days, NASA will always send them with a four, or even five days’ worth of food and water for the voyage. This is a good guideline for everyone planning a road trip, you never know where the next roadside dinner will appear, so always remember to stack up on your favorite snacks and plenty of water before leaving.
2.4 Know your limits and stop often to give your body a little rest
It may not look like it, but driving can be a terribly monotonous activity, that can drain your energy away and driving when you’re tired is very dangerous. So, make sure to stop from time to time.
A good idea is to set a certain number of hours you´ll drive each day, this way you won’t overexert yourself. Also make sure to stop every now and then to stretch, trust me your body will thank you.
2.5 Don’t let your gas tank to empty
Be prepared to deal with remote areas by being sure to always have a reasonable amount of gas with you. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere is not fun so always make sure that you can, at the very least, make it to the next gas station, pinpoint all the gas stations on your map before starting the journey and move accordingly.
Pro-tip: when renting a car you can ask the customer representatives of one of the brokers to help you find a plan with the full gas option, this way you´ll get a car with a full tank and you can return it almost empty if you wish so.
3. Make the ride all about you!
A solo road trip is a perfect opportunity to focus solely on your tastes. Make sure to prepare a playlist with your favorite road trip songs, preferably songs that you know you´ll never get tired of just, in case nothing on the radio really caught your attention.
Also don’t miss the opportunity to visit all the tacky attractions that other people would not find that entertaining. This time no one can stop you! And finally, never forget to bring a camera, as chances are high that you´ll get some of the greatest opportunities for amazing landscape pictures and some Instagram gold if you’re into it.
But most importantly be sure to always have a reasonable amount of gas, as I told you before, you´ll go only as far as your wheels can take you so make sure that your wheels can take you to anyway you need to go. A little advice: when renting a car you can ask the customer representatives of one of the brokers to help you find a rental with a full gas option, this way you will get a car with a full tank when you start off.
4. Comparing various rental car options
Now, renting a car can be a messy business if you do it on your own, as there are a lot of companies, each with a dozen options, and each of these options with a different price, it can get really confusing, but luckily there are some companies called brokers whose sole purpose is to help you find a rental car at a good price.
Here you can find a list with the best brokers.
- Viajemos.com Trust pilot score: 4.7/5
As car rental brokers go, this is one of the most complete options. Here you can find some of the best tariffs in the market alongside a very useful customer service via chat and phone. This one is great for first-time renters as their page is specially built to give its customers the easiest most intuitive experiences when renting a car.
- Miles Car Rental Trust pilot score 4.7/5
When it comes to prices this one is also a good option, however, this broker is especially praised for its customer service which has been described as capable of solving almost every issue during the reservation process, also, they have more flexible methods of payment as they allow you to pay via PayPal and debit cards.
- Priceline Trustpilot score: 4.5 / 5
Priceline offers other vacationing services, and count with a varied catalog of cars. In addition to this, they have recently upgraded their app so that renting a car with them via smartphone or tablet has become an easier experience than before, customers report them to be easy and accurate enough and helpful for most renters.
- CarRentals Trustpilot score: 4.3 / 5
On this site, you can find useful advice on which type of car is best to rent for each kind of trip. And if you’re planning to make a trip to cities such as Sydney, Tell Aviv and Tokyo, then you’re in luck, as they have presence in each of these cities. They’re described by their customers as very functional and effective most of the time.
- Rentalcars Trustpilot score: 3.8 / 5
This one has appeal for international travelers as it has a global presence. Users can change the language on their main page to a plethora of international languages such as Russian, Turkish, Japanese and Korean. They also give you the option of seeing the price of your reserve in multiple currencies from around the world.
And that’s pretty much the basics for solo road trips whether as a female or male. So come and start planning and organizing your next road trip! The open road is calling!