Driving a dream holiday

September 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel Tips

Instead of joining a tour group, self-drive holidays can be more fun and leisurely as you can do everything at your own pace. But it’s important that you do your homework first,

Self-drive holidays allow you to stop and spend as much time anywhere you like

Self-drive holidays allow you to stop and spend as much time anywhere you like

MANY travellers today prefer to move around at their own pace, a luxury not offered when you sign up with a tour group. So you may prefer to self-drive instead. But before you run out and hire a car, do plan where you want to go and what you want to see. Read up on destinations in travel books and through the Internet, you can have a look at packages offered by tour operators. Make sure you have reservations for accommodation in places you are visiting. Keep a folder with all the contact information, confirmation numbers and dates of arrival and departure for each stay.
Here are more tips:

• Keep in mind the season when you’re packing for your trip and the type of terrain so that you will book the right type of vehicle. If you are travelling with a family, be mindful of how much luggage you can bring along. Generally, avoid big bags as trunk space in cars is limited. Opt for soft-sided suitcases or duffel-bags instead.

• Take the usual precautions to ensure a trouble-free vacation. Always keep the car locked, even when you’re driving. Don’t leave luggage or valuables visible in the vehicle and never give lifts to strangers and hitchhikers.

• Check on traffic regulations and whether you should drive on the right or left side of the road. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. Also check if your driving licence is acceptable and if you may need to get an international driving licence.

• Discuss with the car-rental company about your choice of car. Try to get a vehicle under one year old and with unlimited mileage use. The last thing you want is to be stuck with an overheated engine or a flat tyre or battery. Also, make sure you are provided with a detailed tourist map and/or GPS system. To be on the safe side, print a map from the Internet or other sources and bring this with you.

• Bring along a first aid kit with these basics — plasters in different sizes, antibiotic spray or cream, gauze, bandages and pain reliever. Make sure you have bottled water and light snacks handy, just in case you’re stuck somewhere remote. And keep wet wipes and napkins handy for a quick clean up when needed.

• Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff. A sense of humour can do wonders, even in a bad situation. Just enjoy yourself and you’ll come home with beautiful memories of a great time.


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