Maybe it’s the Hollywood movies or the Jack Kerouac classic novel ‘On the Road’ that make the words ‘road trip’ conjure up romantic images of throwing a six-pack into the convertible on a scorching hot day or firing up the RV and escaping the rat race for some hard earned vacation. But is it as simple as it looks in the movies? With many of today’s travelers opting for bespoke packages to make the most of their precious vacation time, we take a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the pitfalls involved in planning a European road trip.
You get what you pay for in terms of quality and size when it comes to car hire. Expect to have your dollars stretched, and then there are add-ons such as gas and insurance. Ouch. Oh, and in Europe, it’s a ‘stick shift’ drive (or ‘gears’ to those outside the USA) given that hire automatics are as a rare as hens teeth.
Need some help with those gears? Here you are! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gmGoQ1dI2E
2) Road size
A road is a road, right? Well, not necessarily. That 96 inch wide RV might seem fine chugging down the highway but you may want to think twice about whether the vehicle you’ve shelled out your hard-earned bucks on can negotiate the narrow cobbled medieval streets of the towns of Central Europe.
3) Mind your language
In Central Europe alone, there are eight different countries that speak seven different languages, so get ready to have your linguistics tested. Bear in mind that online translators can often be both friend and enemy. Your app may have partially mastered translating various phrases but most likely hasn’t learned how to pronounce them correctly yet. Not only will this confuse the locals as you shove your Smartphone in their direction and look pleadingly into their eyes, but you and your traveling companions may find yourselves seriously lost if your Sat nav decides to unintelligibly pronounce the streets and towns it’s directing you towards.
4) Choosing destinations
A vast array of hot visitor spots lie at your very fingertips with the Internet. Google maps offer endless viewing options while travel review sites provide tips and recommendations. All very useful, but bear in mind that some of the street view images can be up to four years old and a lot can happen in four years, such as a world war, for example. Likewise, read those online reviews carefully. Do you really want to take tips from people who describe concentration camps as “Not scary enough”?
5) Plan your journey time.
There’s nothing like a few hours spent behind the wheel gridlocked on the highway on a glorious summer day with the radio blaring out 80s Euro pop. It’s times like this you wished you had a bit of local knowledge in finding an alternative route as you bicker with one another while the kids simultaneously overheat in the European sun. Maybe you should have shelled out the extra for the air conditioning…
6) Money…it’s not always time
With so many different currencies, it’s easy to lose track of its value and for some people, their money can stretch a lot farther in say, Central Europe, than it can back at home. For example, a bespoke guide service complete with driver and vehicle for a family of four costs around four times cheaper than say, a New York cab fare over the same distance. Food for thought? Well, no one likes to feel they’ve missed out on a bargain…
7) Money… it’s a gas
It’s Europe, so it’s the Euro, right? Not necessarily so. As you crisscross the borders, you might need to check that cash you kept back to top up the gas and load up on snacks for the kids. Trying to explain to a grumpy cashier in a small gas station in an out of the way Czech village that they took Euros in Slovakia yesterday won’t go down well. A small detail, that just like the Euro itself, has the capacity to cause endless arguments.
8) Read up to appreciate
Attempting to cram two thousand years of European history into a two-week vacation would cause apoplexy in even the most ardent historian. Museums can be fun but four in a day would stretch anyone’s patience. Picking preferences carefully and being open minded will result in less aggravation rather than sticking a pin in a map or giving in to the kids because they’re determined to see a real life dinosaur.
9) Think again before you book
If you’ve managed to get this far and are still determined to do that DIY road trip once you’ve set foot in Europe, then why not think again and let the professionals take the strain? At a fraction of the price of a DIY road trip, a good bespoke road trip company will help you plan your itinerary while a knowledgeable guide will drive, explain the history, answer your questions and help out with any language issues — leaving you to relax and enjoy your vacation while experiencing the incredible sights on offer.
For more details, references and how you can arrange a 21st-century stress-free bespoke road trip that caters to your every need, just pop on over to the main Daytrip site here.