Finally you have decided and you have found the courage to leave. It’s time to plan a perfect on the road.
Usually, above all if you’re young and they are your first travels, but also if you haven’t travelled a lot and it’s finally arrived the moment to leave, maybe the destination is quite granted: yeah, in Europe, almost all choose going to Cape North!
We did it, too. We weren’t 20, yet, a Punto car in our hands, very less money in our pocket, the web didn’t existed and…we left! So, on adventure, a crumpled guidebook in the pocket (it said nothing), but in our heart today there are the lasting memories of one among the most beautiful journeys in the world!
Like the memory of that morning…we arrive to Hammerfest at 5 o’ clock after have travelled for several hours, we stop at the petrol station up there, on that square dominating the harbour with a very beautiful view. Who knows if it still exists! We eat a sandwich with a 30cm frankfurter and we look at the l'Hurtigruten berthing dreaming about cruises for rich people and incredible experiences.
We go down to the harbour, we close to and we ask for a tour onboard the ship. The very kind lady welcomes us smiling (who knows if we had even slippers?!?) and while we are admiring brass and mirrors we biting criticize these so rich people, who are sleeping and don’t go out to breath the crisps air of the morning, the dawn rising and don’t enjoy this fabulous view.
Twenty years old, when everything is white and everything is black. We don’t wonder too many questions and we judge. Except for find ourselves then, a few years later, in the same situation but on the other side.
We are on board the Hurtigruten, one of the most beautiful voyage in the world. Valeria is few months old and she wakes up during the night to feed. We set the alarm clock at 5 o’ clock remembering “the rich people” and we laugh.
But destiny is mocking, as often it happens! Who knows how we fail everything and when we wake up our ship has already inexorably left to the other harbour, while we…learn to realize how many times it’s better to shut up in our own life!
Then who knows why Portugal’s coastline in the collective imaginary doesn’t have the same attraction compared to Cape North as destination? And yet cape North isn’t the northernmost point in Europe. Do you know that, by now, don’t you? The peninsula next to it goes on northwards (about 200 meters). Cape North is not the end of the world: there are the Svalbard northwards and they are even more extreme. And today so easy to reach even by low-cost. But who knows why, Cape North remains the destination par excellence!
But don’t get lost in remote memories and in useless chats and let’s prepare to plan a perfect on the road, our on the road, at the best. Whatever your destination is, don’t forget these important tips.
Decide the destination, the itinerary, the stops. You certainly have already done this. Anyway don’t forget to plan an on the road according to the mean you have in your hands and the people who will come with you. The mean’s size is very important.
Everyone will have to get one’s space without taking advantage: you know, narrow spaces make quarrel so people whom plan a perfect on the road with will have to be selected carefully.
The first aid kit. To save space get only one for all the participants with the medicines everyone could need.
Plan food, snacks and soft drinks. You know, in the car people eat and drink. If in your car, too, usually it’s very forbidden, now that you are planning a perfect on the road you’ll have to agree with your strict rules, both whether you travel with children and with your friends. That then…who knows which is worse! A small bag or bin liner will solve everything.
Don’t forget an empty bottle or a water bottle. If you will run into a good fresh water source at the mountains or along the on the road, why don’t take advantage of it?
Disinfectant gel and refreshing tissue within reach. Dashboard and handhold of your car will thank you if you pull them out at the right moment, after a just eaten crisps packet. Salt doesn’t fit very well to the white insides!
In the car the headrest pillows for who wants to sleep never have to miss. My husband is always a provident man and he never forgets them. Even though I still has to understand why travelling three by car, we always take with us three headrest pillows!
To plan a perfect on the road you don’t have to forget planning the entertainment, above all if you travel with children. For the big ones good music will be enough, even if it will be difficult to come to an agreement with everyone. But if you plan a very long on the road, you can get by “we are going to listen to it in a while”!
Plan the clothes and keep the essential things within reach. The small rucksacks withdrawing into their own pocket are perfect for any need.
If you are planning a perfect on the road to the USA, laundry and ice will be available everywhere in any accommodation at any level: so it means luggage can be even more little and you’ll have fresh soft drinks during the whole day.
A little hammer to break glasses onboard and in a closed drawer so that it keeps there in case of crash. Fortunately I never used it and I hope never use it, but do you have any idea how difficult is to break a car glass in order to get out the car or help someone inside?
First get info about it is necessary for the destination of your on the road. Keep in mind that in the USA rules vary according to the state. Not having it in case of accident can cause you important troubles.
You get it a the Traffic Control Authority jurisdiction facing the payment of a note.
Share bookings, offline maps, tickets, car battery charger (it’s useless to take 5 of them similar) and all the vary confirmations of travel with your travel mates.
Check the car, tyres (tread and pressure), headlights, windscreen wiper and brakes. Make an estimate of the km you are going to do in order to be okay with your successive car serviced, rather anticipate it in order not to have problems.
Check all the car’s documents: if it is a rent car, make sure you can drive through all the countries and go throughout all the borders you are planning.
If you are planning an on the road in Winter, one among the most beautiful ones we did it was in Finland. Make sure your car has the correct tyres. You know well that, for example, in the Northern Finland the snow chains are strictly forbidden. In Iceland you cannot land without the proper equipment, even in September-October, when here in Italy we start only to think about the Winter equipment.
Always respect the rules of the road code and keep in mind that different countries have different rules. Whether in Switzerland the tunnels with their strict 80 km/h will be enervating, the German motorways have no speed limits, besides being free. Keep in mind these little tips when you plan the travel times.
Get used to the local “road culture”, the unwritten one, as well the local rules of the road. Make sure you have got well before to trust. For example, in Norway if the lorry in front of you flick on the right indicator it will mean you have free way and you can overtake. Keep in mind to do two short flashings with the four indicators, once overtook, as a thanks.
Never forget tent and sleeping bag, above all if you save when travelling. There are those very practical tents assembling in 30 seconds throwing them up: they cost very less and allow you to travel quite on adventure. You always find a place when camping! Keep in mind that in Europe, too, there are several countries allowing free camping and other ones where is formally forbidden but tolerated. I think about Iceland or Cyprus. Get info before planning an on the road.
It’s the last tip, together with a good deal of patience and ability to adapt: be flexible! Planning a perfect on the road was never so easy!
Enjoy your trip!