Going on holiday by car – this is how it works

Urlaub mit dem Auto

Vacationing with your own car is becoming increasingly popular! The reason is clear: travelers are flexible , can take as much luggage with them as they want and can reorganize the trip spontaneously. Many holidaymakers plan to explore their own region and forego long-distance or air travel. The car is the perfect means of transport; many holiday regions are easy to reach and offer relaxation for young and old. Of course, travel is slower on the road than by train or by plane, if the excursion is carefully planned and prepared in advance, then nothing will stand in the way of a smooth process .

Holidays by car are popular

Due to the many advantages, a holiday trip by car is very popular, especially among families with small children. But couples or friends also often think about using the car to go on vacation. If you put a little time into planning and preparation before you start your trip , you will be rewarded with a nice trip and return home refreshed. With the following tips you can always travel safely on motorways and expressways and reach your destination without any problems.

Plan your car trip in advance and check popular travel destinations

At the beginning of every travel planning there is always the question: Where should we go this time? Maybe you already have an idea or a wish yourself. If you are undecided, you can research online or talk to family and friends; there are certainly great recommendations for a car vacation here . In principle, the choice for such a holiday is of course limited; travel destinations within Germany or in neighboring EU countries are recommended . These destinations can be reached quickly and safely with your own vehicle. In addition to Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium, France, Austria and Switzerland are other countries that can be easily reached with your own car .

Plan the route for your holiday trip by car

After the destination for the trip has been decided, you should start planning the route . Here, holidaymakers are completely free to plan their route; perhaps there are some interesting sights on the route, great restaurants or friends live nearby? You can incorporate all of this wonderfully into the planning and adapt it to your own wishes .

For general route planning you can use GPS devices , for example a navigation system. Modern cars are often equipped with one. But online map services are also reliable sources when it comes to directions. The clear advantage: This data is updated regularly; on Google Maps, for example, travelers can always find new reviews of localities, hotels or sights. This way you can design your own trip from the comfort of your own home and incorporate everyone’s wishes. Google Maps not only calculates the route from the start to the destination, the user can also add their own stops, and the expected duration is also displayed here. The finished route can be transferred to your own smartphone or printed out.

Vacation by car

Calculate the costs of the trip in advance

By planning your route, you know in advance how far you will drive by car. Based on your experience, you can roughly calculate the fuel costs in advance and are not suddenly surprised by unexpected expenses. Depending on the destination, additional fees may apply, such as tolls. Here you can find out more online before your trip, there are even so-called toll calculators, where you enter the holiday destination, for example Croatia, and you get an approximate estimate of the possible costs . Another cost factor can be parking at your destination. If you are staying in a hotel, you can ask whether there is an underground car park and how much the fees are.

Create a checklist for the car trip and luggage

Before you start your trip, you should definitely put together a checklist; it will contain all the things you definitely want to take with you. It is particularly advisable to create this list very early on, as you will constantly think of things at short notice that you need to add to it. This way you can be sure before you go on vacation that you have packed everything you need.

Prepare the car for the holiday trip

Before you leave, you should have the car checked in a workshop ; depending on its condition, a small or large inspection may be necessary. This ensures that you are traveling in a safe vehicle . The workshop checks the brakes, the oil level or carries out a complete oil change . In addition, the mechatronics engineer can refill the required oil or other fluids. The driver can also take care of small things themselves, the wiper blades can easily be changed at home, and the washer fluid often has to be refilled. To be on the safe side, you can take the necessary oil with you on the trip as well as a small canister of washing water in case it needs to be filled during the trip. You can check the oil level at your destination or before you return; these are basics that every driver should know.

Take breaks and plan intermediate stops

Some stops have to be taken into account when planning ; it is generally not recommended to drive more than 500 kilometers a day by car. If the journey is further, you should consider a change of driver or an overnight stay in a hotel.

Take breaks into account and take them

Since it is advisable to take a few breaks, you can arrange these regular breaks as you wish. In advance, the network shows you the gas stations or a rest stop along the route; these places are particularly recommended for a rest.

You should note down some of these places in advance so that in an emergency you know where you can spontaneously buy fuel for your car. Of course, you can always take additional breaks at short notice if you no longer feel fit. A car should only be driven when the traveler is relaxed and rested so that he can concentrate sufficiently on the road.

Stretch your legs often and plan a little more time

Driving for a long time quickly becomes tiring, so you should make sure that you stretch your legs often enough. Fresh air and exercise stimulate circulation and ensure better concentration. People who are overtired are quickly irritated, you can avoid this stress, so you should stop and take breaks regularly, this can be decided very flexibly. After a long period of rest you can start again  . 

Travel gadgets that make going on vacation easier

Car journeys are exciting at first, but can quickly become tiring or even boring. With the help of some gadgets and equipment you can make the journey more comfortable and entertaining.

Tips for a pleasant journey by car

A modern car offers many advantages for travelers; on hot days you benefit from air conditioning , and in the cold season everyone enjoys heated seats . If you are traveling in an older car, you can take small fans that the passenger can hold in their hand. We also recommend that you bring a small cool box with cold refreshments.

Find the right itinerary

Gadgets for the car

With a GPS tracker for cars , the car is protected from possible theft and the device also reliably records the entire route. GPS trackers determine your own position using satellite signals, this is possible worldwide. These devices are usually connected to your smartphone, so you can quickly find your car if you don’t know exactly where you parked.

A dashcam in the car can also be useful; it records traffic events while driving. On the one hand, this makes sense if an accident occurs, but the camera also provides great images of the landscape or sunsets.

New cars usually offer the driver an integrated navigation system that shows the chosen route. This supports the journey and the traveler always knows where they are and how far the route is. But such a device can also be used later; it is attached to the windshield using a suction cup and supplied with the car’s power. It’s best to take the operating instructions with you in case any difficulties arise. When purchasing, you should make sure that the device is up to date and that the required cards are included. Otherwise you can usually buy them later at any time and load them onto the device.

Entertainment on the road trip

Modern technology can help to avoid boring phases when traveling by car. If you go on vacation with small children, you should take a cell phone or an iPad with you so you can watch films or series in the back seat. You can create a playlist with your favorite songs on your cell phone in advance or listen to an audio book or podcast while driving.

Safety on the road with your own car

The driver can do a number of things before departure to ensure a safe journey; there should also be things in his luggage that can be helpful in an emergency.

The car should be fit

Of course, the car should be in good condition; you can also carry out small work on the car at home, for example checking the tire pressure and tread depth of the car tires . The optimal tire pressure can be found on a sticker in the driver’s door or in the car’s operating instructions. If you are unsure, you can also visit a workshop, which will replace the tires if the tread depth is no longer sufficient. There should always be a suitable spare tire in the car itself, which you can replace yourself in an emergency.

Traveling by car

What to take with you in your car when traveling

It is a legal requirement that the first aid kit must be within easy reach in the car . Holidaymakers should check the expiry date before starting their trip; it is also important that the first-aid kit complies with current regulations . If it complies with the DIN standard, the box contains, among other things, compresses, high-visibility vests, plasters and bandages.

Stow your luggage neatly and make sure it is loaded correctly

To travel safely by car, it is important that the car is loaded correctly, so keep heavy items in the trunk down. In addition, additional items of luggage should not be placed in the back seat; this can quickly become dangerous if sudden braking is necessary. Bulky or heavy objects should be pushed to the back of the back seat; dividers between the back seat and the trunk further increase safety when stowing holiday luggage.

The same applies when traveling by car: you shouldn’t pack too much, as additional luggage puts a strain on you and increases fuel consumption. Luggage or bicycle racks that are not necessary can therefore be dismantled before you start your journey.

No matter how well you prepare and what things you use to increase safety, the most important thing is always driving behavior . If you drive with foresight and take a few rest breaks, you will arrive safely at your destination .

Quick help if the worst comes to the worst

If you travel far by car, you can get information from an automobile club ; in most cases, membership makes sense. Because there you can also get quick help in other EU countries in the event of a breakdown, damage or if the car’s battery fails . Such a contract is not mandatory, but it is advisable so that you can set off with peace of mind in any case.

Going on holiday with children and your own car

Traveling with children isn’t always relaxing; it can quickly become stressful, especially if you’re stuck in a traffic jam for a long time and can’t move on. To avoid this stress factor, you should remember to pack enough food and drink . It’s not just provisions that are important, some entertainment can also quickly soothe the little ones, for example a book, a small game or a round of Tetris on the iPad.

Advantages of traveling by car

Anyone who has ever traveled by car can confirm the advantages, as it is significantly cheaper than a domestic flight . However, car trips are not only cheap, they are also more relaxing. In addition, you can take anything you want with you in the trunk; there is no limit to the suitcase, as is usual with airplanes. Road trips offer vacationers much more spontaneity ; they can stop, pause or change the route at will at any time. If you travel by car and discover something exciting along the way, you can always stop. The navigation device then simply recalculates the route and adjusts it automatically.

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