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How to have the perfect road trip ( Updated 2017)

Perfect Road Trip. India is a vast, beautiful country, and going on a road trip is a fabulous way to have a truly immersive travel experience.
Whether you’ve only got a weekend free, or are planning a long journey, there are a wealth of end destinations to choose from, no matter which part of the country you’re in.
There’s the winding mountain roads in the lower Himalayas through Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand if you’re a skilled driver looking for a challenging road trip, from the epic classic drive from Manali to Leh to the otherworldly landscapes of the Spiti Valley; the laid-back journey down the Konkan coast if you’re heading out with family in tow; even plenty of quick weekend trips out of the major metros if you don’t have the time to spare!

How to have the perfect road trip

But, as the saying goes, the journey is just as important as the destination, and this is especially relevant when you’re embarking on a road trip.

A certain amount of planning (or the lack thereof) can make or break a vacation.
So, here’s our quick checklist to help you ensure you have the perfect road trip worry-free holiday!

BEFORE YOU LEAVE:

perfect road trip

Get your car serviced! It may seem like a no-brainer, but setting off without getting your vehicle checked-up is an absolute no-no.

Do also have a tool kit in your boot. If you’re going in the monsoon, make sure your tyres are in good condition, with a decent tyre tread depth.

If your car use tubeless tyres, have a quick puncture-repair kit.

Suggested read: Varanasi – A city older than history.

While you’re at it, ensure that your spare tyre is also in good health.

A detail people often forget about, when going on a monsoon road trip, is checking windshield wipers!

You should change the wipers before setting off on a long trip.

A good idea is to put a sachet-full of shampoo into the windshield cleaning liquid – it’s a better way to clean all that dust and grime off your windscreen! Keep newspaper in the car, as it cleans glass better than tissue or cloth.

Know where you’re going to be sleeping every night, especially if you’re travelling with kids or older people.

If you’re driving off the beaten track, there might not be many options, and you don’t want to be stuck without a roof over your head for the night.

Make sure you’ve stocked the car with plenty of water, as well as a variety of snacks, because you might go long stretches without coming across any eateries.

Nuts and dry fruits are a healthy option, but chips and other readymade snacks also work in a pinch.

Do also keep hand sanitizer and toilet paper in the car – if you’re driving through more rural parts, the loo options, if there are any, might not be sanitary.

Other things to keep in the car
include maps (for when Google maps gives way), a basic first-aid kit, a battery pack and charger for your phone, an ice box (who doesn’t like chilled water?), a garbage bag, wet wipes, a bottle of non-drinking water to rinse your hands with and liquid soap, a hand towel and, if you’re travelling with kids, a portable potty (pre-lined with a garbage bag for easy clean-up) and a few games.

Also read: Trip to ladakh in a Budget?

ON THE ROAD:

perfect road trip

Mount your GPS unit on the windshield, where it’s clearly visible, and keep it connected to a charger.

At the same time, have a navigator in the front passenger seat who’s keeping tabs on the route on a physical map, just in case your GPS gives way or loses signal.

Make early starts!
You might feel like sleeping in, but it’s not worth the hassle of driving down unfamiliar roads in darkness.

You also don’t know what condition the road ahead is going to be in, and it’s not a chance you want to take, especially in the monsoon.

Take frequent breaks! Even if you don’t have specific points you know you want to take a break at, you should stop every few hours for a breather, and to stretch your legs. This is especially important if you’re the only driver.

Stop and refuel
once your fuel gauge hits the halfway mark. You don’t know when the next station will be, and you don’t want to be stranded looking for petrol!

In some parts of the country, you might want to pick up a jerry can of fuel just in case – if you suspect you won’t be able to complete the drive on the tank you have, check at the pump where the next one is.

If you’re going to be the only driver
, consider carrying a few cans of your favourite energy drink. Keep a small pillow in the car in case you need a rest.

It’s a lot safer to pull over to the side of the road and take a quick nap than to drive when you’re feeling sleepy.

Just make sure it’s not near a turn and that you’re clearly visible to other cars.

Hit an ATM
and make sure you have enough cash on you to purchase fuel and food on the road. Cards are still not frequently accepted, especially in more remote, rural areas.

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