When we went to France, we decided to do a mini road trip through Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, spending one night each in Moustiers-sainte-marie and Aix-en-provence which I will write about in the next posts. We have never experienced Europe by a car, but it turned out to be an adventure! For us, it was a great way to bump into incredible sights on the way and explore smaller towns in France that otherwise is not possible without a car. Wherever you decide to go next holiday, you should try to go around the country (or your own) with a car, too. I have 9 tips that hopefully will help you do your road trip, wherever you will go.

  1. Compare prices before you book – Try Rental Cars that gather information for the car, price and date you are looking for and find the cheapest option for you. It’s basically Skyscanner for rental cars. Choose the car that you think will fit the kind of journey you are doing. Also, watch for hidden fees or maximum mileage in a day. It can really put a hole in the bank!
  2. Ask for an upgrade – We rented with Sixt a Peugeot 308, but the good news is that we got upgraded to Alfa Romeo Giulietta, sweet! Ask nicely and maybe you shall be granted a cooler, faster car.
  3. Plan your driving route realistically – For us, it’s really important that we have time to see the scenery as we drive by and actually have time to explore the destination we are going to. We haven’t even talked about the possibility of road blocks that could delay your journey. Beside, it’s nice to have time to stop on the way when you see something interesting. Remember, it’s a holiday, not a race. 
  4. Divide responsibilities – If someone is the driver, then somebody else should be the chief navigator (making sure we don’t get lost and we don’t miss any turn or exit), chief chef (making sure we don’t starve although when you are traveling with me, it is unlikely), or chief DJ (making sure good tune is up). Which one are you? My sister being in the shotgun seat made sure we didn’t veer off too far to the right and navigator. Being in the backseat, I am the chief chef to whip up our takeaway burger to keep my brother-in-law from starvation since he was the only one who could drive, chief DJ from my obsolete music playlist, and occasionally being my mom, reminding not to drive too fast.
  5. Bring your driving license – Even if you have an international driving license, bring your national driving license because in our case, the car rental company didn’t bat an eye on our international license and asked for the Indonesian driving license instead.
  6. Off the highway we go – If you have a choice, try to go off the highway to your destination. The road may be smaller but take it slow, you may bump into interesting towns! We passed by endless lavender and sunflower fields en-route Aix-en-Provence that were unfortunately already cut, had we been there in early July it would have bloomed all the way!
  7. Get used to it – In Indonesia, we drive the opposite side from the rest of the world so if you do your road trip where you will drive the opposite side, don’t rush and get used to it first before you go. Also take time to know how your car works because it may be different from what you are used to.
  8. Bring a map – Our car’s GPS worked well, but have Waze or Google Maps in your phone just in case.
  9. Enjoy the road trip!

To be honest, the road trip started off as stressful because we initially couldn’t even get our car due to the fact that we didn’t have our Indonesia’s driving license and we didn’t know how to reverse the car (weird, but it’s really confusing at first!) but how we overcame those problems made this road trip really fun and unforgettable. It was not weeks of road trip, I think few days are enough, but by the end of our first day, we were giddily hooked, “Okay, we have to do this again!”

Until next time,