What You Need to Know Before Hitting the Road Abroad?

Some people spend their vacations lazing about on beaches or barely leaving their hotel rooms. Others feel the open road calling them to far-away places. If you want an adventurous international vacation your way, a road trip is the way to go! Here’s what to keep in mind for a safer, more memorable, and less stressful journey.

What You Need to Know Before Hitting the Road Abroad?

Planning Your Route

Any successful international road trip starts with thorough planning. Settle on a destination first, like a small country or a national park you have always wanted to visit. Start planning your trip around those places, including all the points of interest and activities you’ll want to experience.

Use a map application to work out a route and all the stops along the way. Highways will get you to the next destination the fastest. However, it's better to take the scenic route and bask in nature's local beauty if you're not in a hurry.

You’ll want to account for the time of year, traffic density, and stop frequency when planning the route so you can make good time. That being said, embrace spontaneity.

Don't feel like you have to tick every box on the itinerary if you're enjoying an activity more than expected. Moreover, set aside a free day or two to just go exploring or recharge your batteries after long days of driving.

Booking Accommodations

Many road-trippers enjoy roughing it, but even they could use a warm bed now and again. Make accommodation arrangements based on your preferences and budget, making sure to book airline tickets, rooms, etc., well in advance if you arrive during peak season.

You'll want to check the travel advisory for your destination(s). Staying with locals or on campgrounds should be fine in safe countries. Hotels and other established accommodations are better options if you need to exercise caution.

All this online research and booking attracts attention from data brokers. They can collect data on your interests, past bookings, the info you give to travel agencies or airlines, and much more. While their purpose is to create profiles for travel agencies and related services to serve you targeted ads, it’s still a violation of your data privacy.

You can exercise your data ownership by paying more attention to the sites you visit and what information you share. Opt out of tracking cookies and only disclose the minimum info needed to make necessary reservations. In addition, you can utilize data privacy tools to stay safe online. Lastly, it’s a good idea to check each travel-related site’s privacy and data storage policies to ensure that they provide adequate protection from threats like data breaches.

Car Prep

Cruising thousands of miles in your own vehicle feels amazing, but it also requires diligent prep work. For starters, take your ride to a trusted mechanic for a checkup to ensure it's roadworthy. Brush on basic maintenance skills like replacing the tires and filling up the brake fluid.

Spare parts for your model might be hard to come by on the trip, so it’s a good idea to stock up on the most common ones. A car maintenance kit is a must, as is a replacement tire.

Familiarize yourself with local driving laws and informal customs to minimize misunderstandings and accident chances. Some countries require you to have an international driving permit that translates your driver’s license into multiple languages.

If you're renting, choose a vehicle that can accommodate your belongings and handle any terrain or seasonal challenges.

Meeting the Locals

There's more depth and flavor to any road trip if you get to know the locals! They can suggest the best places to try genuine local cuisine, help you avoid tourist traps, and avoid social blunders. Be considerate of their culture and learn some common phrases to communicate with people you don't share a language with.

Most people you'll encounter will be friendly, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down completely. Stay away from places people say are dangerous, and read up on local scams so you don't fall for one. You might even want to carry a second wallet in case of robbery or a "routine police stop" in countries where corruption runs high.

Don't neglect your digital security, either. Avoid suspicious charging ports at hotels and airports, and be on the lookout for credit card skimmers. Sign up for a trustworthy VPN for travel before departing and keep it on whenever you connect online. Doing so will encrypt your connection, making your online activities anonymous and impossible to tamper with or intercept.

What to Bring?

Items you should bring with you generally fall into must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Documents like your passport, visa, and IDP are at the top of the former. A first aid kit and plenty of prescription medication to last the trip, if you take any, are a close second. You’ll want to pack enough appropriate clothing for the climate and season. Don’t just rely on your smartphone; take a GPS device, a physical map, and a powerbank, too.

Staying hydrated is a big deal, so bring more than enough water. Keep an eye on the gas tank during the trip, and assume the nearest gas station might not be open when you need it. Snack-wise, go for nuts, dried fruit, and other non-perishables you can munch on whenever without making a mess.

Even the most exciting road trips have dull stretches. Banish the boredom with an energizing or trip-appropriate music playlist, audiobooks, and travel-size board games that everyone can play.


These are just international road trip bare essentials, and you'll want to do a lot more research to prepare, especially if it's your first time. We hope this article puts you on the right track and will help you embark on an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.

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