How to prep for the world's greatest road trip

5 minutes

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When you imagine ‘the world’s greatest road trip’, you immediately think of deserts, diners and an endless stretch of asphalt.

Here in the UK, your average road trip is likely to be slightly more, well British – not so much On the Road as on the B-road. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be the trip of a lifetime. At Flow, we don’t think you have to hit Route 66 to have a world-beating road trip. It’s more about getting the little things right – from your snacks to your soundtrack, and – of course – the people. 

If you’re road tripping as a couple, planning your journey together is a great way to either test the waters or rekindle your love with quality time together. With a bit of prep, you can make your journey the stuff of legend – whether you’re spanning continents or counties'.

From the practical considerations to the route deliberations, let’s talk about how to prep for the world’s greatest road trip.

Plan your route

The route forms the backbone of your road trip – so it’s important to get it right. Once you have a rough idea of where you’re going, start with a simple Google Maps or satnav search. From there, you can adapt your route for sightseeing, stops and scenic routes.

Careful balance is required. Take the quickest path and you might see too much of the motorway. Go too scenic, you could end up lost and miles away from service stations. 

Looking for some inspiration? Input your route on Roadtrippers to map out some stop-off points – from restaurants and campsites to picnic spots. 

Check your car and get covered

Nothing dampens the road trip buzz like sitting in a drab layby waiting to be rescued following a breakdown. But unfortunately, breakdowns do happen. 

Breakdown cover can prepare you for every eventuality – so make sure you’re all set up before you set off. You can select which breakdown cover is right for you with our annual car insurance. 

You can help prevent a breakdown in advance by making sure your car’s up to the task with simple car checks.

These include checking:

  • Tyre pressure and tread
  • Lights
  • Coolant, oil and screenwash levels
  • Emergency kit
  • Spare tyre
  • Fuel

Learn the rules

Driving rules vary from country to country. And sometimes they vary within a country. 

Wherever you’re headed, it’s important you know the ins and outs. It’s easy to get caught out by speed limits and driving customs. Mistakes in this area can range from mildly embarrassing to dangerous, scary and ultimately illegal. Check government websites or specific motoring organisations to make sure you’re aware of the requirements of the road wherever you are.

Pack your bags

Now you’ve got the admin and research out of the way, your road trip is getting tantalisingly close. It’s time to think about everything you need. We’ll start you off:

  • Clothes (pack appropriately for the season, and take plenty of layers) 
  • Travel pillows
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Aux cable
  • Sat nav
  • First aid kit
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Playing cards and travel games
  • Camera
  • Phone, laptop and electronics
  • Chargers

Collect your car snacks

Now for the fun bit. Finding the snacks to get you through the highs and lows of journey. Take a trip to the supermarket and stock up on a good mix of fun and practical snacks. Think bite-size items like fruits, sweets, crisps and slightly boring long-life items like cereal bars for reserve. 

Don’t forget that car snacks should be auxiliary to your main meals – which will need to be thought about separately. Don’t buy your lunchtime sandwiches or lakeside barbecue items before you set off. Warm cars and highly perishable food products don’t mix.

Select your soundtrack

What soundtrack suits your journey? Breezy summer classics or something more contemplative? Either way, choose a mixture of your favourite bands so you’re both happy.

Sick of music? A selection of podcasts will keep you entertained for hours at a time. You could even do a full series to get that box-set binge experience.

Data coverage can be patchy across the UK, so don’t forget to download your playlists, albums and podcasts in advance. You don’t want that sunset singalong cut short.

Focus your minds

Whether you’re road tripping for months or hours, home or abroad, you’ll be in close proximity with your co-pilot. Disagreements on driving, navigation, music choices or stop-offs are to be expected – but can be avoided (mostly).

Prepare yourselves by thinking about possible flashpoints and defusing them in advance. A collaborative planning process can help. 

Don’t over plan. Road trips need spontaneity too – don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track from time to time if the mood takes you. Meticulous structure can be a vibe killer. 

Road-trip-ready car insurance

If you’ve taken all the above steps, then you’re ready for the world’s greatest road trip – even if your trip doesn’t match Thelma and Louise. All you need to do now is sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Before you set off, make sure your car insurance has the flexibility your road trip needs. Flow Annual car insurance makes it easy to get on the road quickly.