The UK is one of the most unique and varied countries in the world. On this small island, there are stunning mountains, picturesque lakes, rolling hills and countless natural wonders, many of which people don’t know about.
For those looking to explore the UK, a road trip can be a great starting point. Within a week or two, there are a host of different famous British sights which can be driven to and enjoyed, it’s just about planning, saving the funds and getting started!
At Best Western Nottingham Derby, our affordable pricing and strategic location just off the M1 has made us a popular stop for people completing or planning a road trip around the UK. During this time, our team have got a good idea for the best tips and tricks to consider when planning your own tour of the country. Here are our 10 steps to consider when planning a road trip around the UK.
1. Pick a Destination
First things first, before you even think about planning your route or schedule a time you want to go, it’s essential that you have a final destination picked out and decided. Without knowing where you are going to stop travelling and begin your journey home, it’s easy to find yourself running out of time during your road trip or worse, running out of funds and being forced to miss out on the attractions you wanted to see most.
We advise that your final destination is a location or attraction that you desperately want to see – the last hurrah where your road trip can peak before you make your way home. This way, you can be sure that you’ll make time and space for the place you want to visit most.
2. Pick a Vehicle
After deciding your final destination, it’s time to pick your vehicle. Most road trips are enjoyed in cars, whether that’s through a rented minibus or just a family car you already own, but these aren’t the only options. Many people choose to complete motorbike road trips, whether that’s because they feel more liberated on a motorbike or because you can often travel more quickly and find parking spaces more easily.
Although not exactly a road trip, some even choose to use exclusively the train for their tour of the UK. This can get expensive, though, particularly as British railway prices are a lot higher than many neighbouring countries. However, it is possible depending on your financial situation, so be sure to investigate this option if you think it’s right for you.
3. Set Waypoints, Not Rules
Next, it’s time to think about where you want to go and what you want to see. The best way to approach this is to get everyone going on the road trip in a room, then pull out a map or list of sights in the UK and pick your favourites. Some people’s attractions might not be doable depending on where you are located and what your final destination is, but there’s no harm in listing them anyway.
The best way to enjoy a road trip to the fullest is to ensure everyone in the group understands that the itinerary is flexible. There is no sense in setting strict rules about how long you will spend where because, when you actually begin travelling, you will quickly find that events you can’t control will ruin those plans. Traffic jams, road works, accidents and local events can all wreak havoc with intricately planned road trips around the UK, not to mention the fact that you may stumble across something you didn’t plan on seeing but want to stop and enjoy.
It’s these surprise treats which make road tripping fun. Don’t be so strict with your schedule that there is no time for enjoying the hidden gems.
4. Pack Light
This can be a challenge for some people but it’s essential to pack light when road tripping. All you need is clothing, some first aid supplies and any electrical gadgets you want to take with you. Toiletries, food and other daily necessities you can pick up along your way, particularly if you are going to be staying in paid accommodation.
Packing light will also keep your car or vehicle spacious and comfortable, an essential detail when you’re going to spend many hours sitting within it. Not to mention, a lighter vehicle means lower fuel costs and saved money. It’s a win-win.
5. Pick Sensible Accommodation
Speaking of accommodation, make sure you pick sensibly. Firstly, it’s not sensible to book all of your accommodation before your road trip begins because, as previously mentioned, things can go wrong and schedules can be ruined. If you book your accommodation too early, you could find yourself wasting money; instead, book where you’re staying on a case-by-case basis during the road trip.
Secondly, don’t pick accommodation which will take you wildly off your planned route. A hotel right in the centre of a city that you don’t even want to spend time in will likely just be more expensive and harder to get to due to inner-city traffic. If possible, opt for budget options that are closer to the major travel routes you will be using, allowing you to stay overnight and get on your way again quickly and easily.
The Best Western Nottingham Derby is a great example of this. With travel connections to both Nottingham and Derby city centre, as well as our proximity to the M1, we are often chosen as a stop-gap for people on their way to either city or any other location on the motorway route.
6. Budget Properly
Budgeting can feel difficult when planning a road trip in the UK, but it’s doable and important. Costs can seemingly mount up out of nowhere during a road trip, so it’s essential to think about all of the expenses you will be paying.
To start with, average out your budget for accommodation, then do the same for all of the attractions you want to see, as well as creating a food fund for the duration of your break. Now, consider your vehicle costs. Breakdown cover, insurance and fuel are commonly forgotten before people go on their road trip but are essential budget considerations. On top of that, think about whether you will be going on any toll roads (though it’s advised to just avoid these outright where possible).
Combine these figures, add a little spending money and you should be okay. Remember, it’s always safer to have too much rather than just enough. Over prepare and you’re sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
7. Bring a Map
This is a simple but key step. Don’t rely on technology or GPS tools because if they fail, you will find yourself lost. Always bring a map, even if you’re never going to use it.
8. If You’re Visiting, Learn the Signage
If you’re not a UK native, learning signage and road rules are important for any road trip across the country. Take time out to study speed limits and road regulations before hiring a car and beginning your journey, this will save you from awkward conversations with the police when you accidentally find yourself driving too quickly!
In particular, for European visitors, our vehicles use miles per hour rather than kilometres per hour, which can create some confusion. Again, always overprepare and you’ll be significantly safer that if you haven’t prepared enough.
9. Avoid London Where Possible
It might be sad to hear but when it comes to road trips, London simply isn’t the best choice as a start or end destination. Getting in and out of London can take many, many hours and simply isn’t driver-friendly, particularly during rush hour. Additionally, everything is more expensive in London, quickly draining your funds – particularly if you choose to spend an evening or two in the capital.
Another key point to highlight is that London has multiple toll roads going in and out, which will cost you money just for travelling on. Both a hassle and a drain on your wallet. It’s best to just steer clear and then make a dedicated trip there another time.
10. Check the Weather Forecast
Finally, both before you leave and during your road trip, keep an eye on the weather. Harsh weather conditions can not only make for a miserable or difficult journey, but they can also change what type of sights and attractions you want to visit. Nobody wants to explore Sherwood Forest when it’s pouring with rain and similarly, why be stuck in a famous museum when you could be doing some adventure tourism activity out in the sun?
Use the weather as a guide to help you decide what you want to do next and when; it’ll help ensure you are getting the absolute most out of your road trip.
Stay with Us at Best Western Nottingham Derby Today
If you’re planning a road trip in the UK soon, be sure to consider Best Western Nottingham Derby as an accommodation option. Our high-quality, comfortable rooms offer the perfect balance of affordability and suitability, with our hotel situated just off the M1 and within touching distance of both Nottingham and Derby city centre.
Learn more by getting in touch today or explore our accommodation options online.