This post was most recently updated on August 26th, 2019
There’s something timeless about the idea of a road trip. They’re a great way to see the sights, spend quality time with your loved ones, and experience travel in a whole new way — no wonder they’ve long been a staple of domestic vacations! And now you can take your love of road tripping to the next level with an international road trip. No matter what country you choose to explore, driving through it will give you a truly unique trip experience to cherish forever.
But before you hit the road in a foreign land, remember: international road trips can be quite tricky. Not sure what you should and shouldn’t do to prepare for your adventure? We’ve got a handy list of international road trip tips, so you can cruise in style to the vacation of your dreams.
Driving in other countries isn’t necessarily like America. There can be different rules and regulations (and depending on where you’re traveling to, you may end up cruising on the other side of the road). Before you book cheap round trip flights and start planning your epic international road trip, be smart and do your homework. Find out if you need an international license, and if there are any rules of the road or driving customs you should be aware of. If you need a special license, there are resources available so you can travel in style and safely no matter where your adventures take you.
If you’re traveling through unfamiliar territory, make sure you’ll be able to fill up your tank at regular intervals. Do your best to map out available gas stations, particularly if you’ll be heading into remote areas. You don’t want to end up with the gas tank on ‘E’ in the middle of the night with no gas stations in sight. Play it safe and refill the tank when you can. The pit stops will do everyone good and will give you all some time to use the restroom and stretch your legs before continuing your journey.
Traveling the open road is hungry work, and you don’t want to feel “hangry” in between rest stops. Adventurous eaters should use this as an opportunity to try out local snacks and treats; as you travel, you can sample different delicacies and see which ones have you going back for seconds (and which ones you’d rather skip next time). For those who prefer to stick with familiar favorites, you can load up on familiar snacks before setting out. Make sure to bring along some protein as well, to keep everyone’s energy up — particularly the driver.
You probably have an itinerary you’d like to stick to; when creating it, make sure to factor in breaks. One person shouldn’t do all the driving. Two or even more drivers would be ideal, so everyone can get in some rest time on the road. If only one person will be behind the wheel, breaks are even more essential. Not only will they make the trip more enjoyable, but they’ll also help keep your passengers and others on the road safe. Be realistic about how often you should make pit stops (nobody likes driving for six hours without pause), and look for fun and interesting spots to schedule a rest stop. Use the downtime to explore the area, do some shopping, or try out a local restaurant.
Part of the fun of road-tripping is the ability to make your own schedule. You’re not tied to a tour group, so take advantage! Don’t rush from spot to spot without enjoying the journey — after all, that’s half the fun of a road trip. Explore new areas, bring along a guidebook, and learn all you can about the country as you travel. Be open to new experiences, and take advantage of opportunities for adventure. Of course, make sure you stick to important dates (like hotel reservations or arriving at the airport in time to return home), but in the meantime use this road trip as a chance to have a true one-of-a-kind vacation.
Have any tips for international road trips? Tell us in the comments below!