Planning your next road trip

January 14, 2009

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Jan. 14, 2010/ Troy Media/ — If you’re the adventurous, do-it-yourself type, you could use the idea of a road trip to plan your next vacation. We love renting a car and just rambling around new countries.

Sure there are countries and cities where you probably just wouldn’t want to drive. Most cities fall into that category, in fact, unless you’re on business and need a car or if you’re just driving in and parking. We’ve done that in Florence, for instance, and we’ve driven into and out of Rome on different trips, driven out of Paris and Madrid too, but we’ve always returned the car to the airport. That’s not too bad because you don’t have to worry about parking the car in the cities.

Road trips are best when you are getting out into the countryside, driving the back roads, seeing the little villages and towns. There are great drives all over Europe, Canada and the U.S., but don’t limit yourself to those choices.

We’ve had great drives in South America and Mexico, exploring ruins and finding wildlife. We have friends who explored all of Costa Rica by car, and enjoyed doing their own touring.

Australia and New Zealand are naturals for road trips: just remember you have to drive on the “wrong side”.

We’ve also driven in South Africa. One time we picked up our car at the Botswana border and drove through Krueger National Park and on to Johannesburg. We drove around Cape Town too. We’ve done our own driving safari a couple of times in Namibia, driving on the wrong side in all those countries. (Remember that half the world does drive on the left!)

We’ve driven in Turkey and easily found accommodations along the way. We hired a friend-of-a-friend to drive us in Jordan, but we talked to people who were driving themselves, and they had no problems.

You do have to check and make sure you can take rental cars from one country to another. You also want to check advisories and make sure it’s safe. Once, when renting a car in Papua New Guinea, we had to chat with the local police to get safety instructions and make sure the road was passable.

In Africa, you’ll probably have to get “animal collision insurance.” Make sure what kind of insurance you’ll need if you must take the car on dirt roads. You’re apt to run into dirt roads in Africa for sure, but you may also run into dirt roads if you go to national parks or even wine tasting in the United States, South America, Australia, in fact, almost anywhere. Are you going somewhere rugged enough that you need a 4-wheel drive?

Rental cars can add a major expense but they can also add a major element of adventure. Share the expense with another couple if you can.

Why not think about one of these road trips or find one of your own? We think it’s such a great way to travel that you should definitely consider it as one of your options.

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