Planning a road trip - tips and tricks for the perfect vacation by car

Roadtrip planen – Tipps und Tricks für den perfekten Urlaub mit dem Auto

Do you want to plan a road trip and really enjoy your vacation? This article will guide you step-by-step through travel planning and will help you with helpful tips and tricks to organize an unforgettable road trip!

Road trip scenery on the coast

What is a road trip anyway?

A road trip is a long journey by car, often without a fixed route plan. This means that you are free and free to decide when and where to travel.

All you seem to need for a road trip is a suitable car and the anticipation of an adventure. But is that really all?

There are a few more tips and tricks for planning a hassle-free and exciting road trip. For a smooth trip, you need something more than Google Maps and the desire for long car journeys. Here you can find out everything about the perfect road trip route, the right road trip destination and possible surprises on your drive.

Is a road trip the right vacation for me?

A road trip is a form of vacation for spontaneous and adventurous people. If the journey is the goal for you and not a specific sight, if you prefer to live your day rather than having to plan everything in advance and if you like long car journeys with friends or family and good music, then a road trip is for you Thing!

Couple on road trip looking at the sea

If you are still not quite sure whether a road trip is really the right adventure for you, then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want a well-planned holiday in one place or do you need spontaneity and variety?

  • Would you like to choose your own routes and travel destinations, or would you like to get on a bus and let the guide take you through the sights and special places in a city?

  • Do you need the security of knowing what the day will bring, or are you ready for spontaneous bookings and changes in destination, travel planning or bookings?

  • Would you like to really feel the culture in the new country and mingle with the locals, or would you rather stay in the hotel?

  • Do you like long drives?

If you answered "yes" to several questions, then you're the right guy for a road trip.

Once the decision has been made, you can start planning your road trip.

Tips for planning the perfect road trip

If you like to travel with your camper, you should think about how long you want to travel and whether you are tied to certain travel dates.

Which country should you go on a road trip to and what do you want to experience on your travels?

Couple on road trip studying map at car

Here you can read the step-by-step instructions for your perfect trip with the camper:

1st step: The right camper

Which car is suitable for a road trip?

This question has to be answered very individually. You should consider what purpose you want the car to serve.

Would you like a safe car that can easily cover long distances? Do you want to buy a car or rent a car for your road trip? Are you planning to stay in the camper or do you just want a car for trips? Should there be a kitchen and possibly a wet room in your camper? Or do you prefer to book accommodation on site? How many people should fit in the car? Do you have pets that you want to take with you on the trip or bulky luggage such as skis, bicycles or surfboards?

Here is a small overview of campers that can easily be converted into mobile accommodation.

VW Bulli

A VW Bulli is probably the most well-known camper and is well suited for self-conversion. But you can also buy ready-made campers.

The VW Bulli brings you safely to your destination. It has a moderate size, which also allows you to take city trips with this camper. At the same time it offers a lot of space inside.

You can comfortably accommodate a small kitchen, a toilet , a seat and a bed in the Bulli and still have space to stay in the car in bad weather. A VW Bulli offers you the freedom you need when travelling.

Fiat Ducato

This camper is also very popular.

Here, too, the kitchen, bed and seating fit comfortably, so that you don't have to do without anything on your journey. Whether it's a short trip or a round trip - the Fiat is always a loyal companion.

Ford Nuggets

The Ford is perfect for a vacation on wheels, driving you safely from place to place.

It also offers a similar configuration as the models mentioned above and is usually quite cheap.

Attention: With some new models of the Ford Nugget, our BOXIO probably does not fit in the toilet compartment provided ex works.

Of course, the BOXIO can also be transported somewhere other than in the "toilet compartment" without any problems. Alternatively, we have also heard reports that the BOXIO also fits into the toilet compartment with small adjustments to the housing.

Mercedes Marco Polo

The Mercedes is a superior car that you can rely on.

Such a camper will save you from unpleasant surprises during the travel time and allows you to have the perfect road trip without stress, but with a lot of fun.

There are of course many makes and models of cars that are suitable as campers - you have to find out for yourself which model suits you and your needs best. You should also think about whether you want to try a self-assembly or whether you want to get a rental car.

The advantages of renting a car are the quality of the car and the fit-out, the time savings and the fact that the car is ready for your trip right away.

2nd step: Where should the journey go?

In order to be able to plan a road trip, you need to have at least a rough idea of ​​where you want to go and how much time you have.

Do you want to take city trips? Which country do you want to travel to - far away or vacation nearby?

If you just want to get away, you can grab maps and embark on a new adventure by blindly pointing to a spot. Each new location will have something special for you. If you have a little more time, it is worth visiting different countries or cities during your vacation.

When planning your road trip, you should also consider whether you want to book accommodation in advance or whether you are not dependent on accommodation with your camper.

Do you want to drive your car from hotel to hotel or do you prefer to sleep outside? Which places would you like to see and what are the local attractions?

Of course, you can also spontaneously decide what you want to do and when, if you don't want to plan everything in advance.

Happy couple in a convertible driving into the sunset

Here is a brief overview of the most popular road trip routes:

Bloemen route, Netherlands

The 40-kilometer route is one of the absolute insider tips! You will hardly experience a more colorful journey.

The road trip passes many colourful, large and beautiful flower fields full of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

The route starts in Haarlem, about 19 kilometers west of Amsterdam. In Liess you should pay a visit to the famous Keukenhof Garden. On 28 hectares you can marvel at artistic flower beds made of more than seven million bulbs indoors and outdoors. A historic 16th-century botanical garden and the De Valk windmill museum await you on your next stop in Leiden.

The end of the route is in Naaldwijk, where you can stroll through the wholesale flower market and take home tips for your own garden.

The best time to travel the Bloemen Route is in April and May during the flowering season.

Tulip field in the Netherlands

Black Forest, Germany

The 60-kilometer route leads along half-timbered houses and dense forests. The Black Forest is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany.

The best way to marvel at the beauty of the Black Forest is to take a tour of the Black Forest High Road between Freudenstadt and Baden-Baden. The wide street meanders along quite comfortably and is perfect for cruising and being amazed.

Here nature with its beauty and tranquility is the focus. So if you like quiet and fewer people, the Black Forest trips will be just the thing for you.

Numerous bays around the highest point of the route, the Hornigsrinde, invite you to stop. From up there, the picturesque valleys and green forests spread out in all their glory. The views that are offered there are even more beautiful than you imagined!

Landscape in the Black Forest

Quiraing, Isle of Skye

Narrow roads wind their way up the steep massif for 70 kilometers. Past broken rocks, hills and cliffs - on the other side the wide ocean.

This route is certainly not for the faint of heart. But if you want to experience an adventure with a breathtaking view, you should plan your round trip here.

The Quiraing Road passes through perhaps the most fascinating area in the British Isles. The routes were formed thousands of years ago as a result of landslides that broke off large chunks of rock that now form the steep, jagged rocks.

landscape in Scotland

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is a popular travel destination, especially in summer. It is located between Sorrento and Salerno in southwest Italy and is one of the most romantic routes in the world.

There is probably nothing nicer than enjoying a summer coffee with a special view of the Mediterranean landscape and the blue sea in the pastel-colored, medieval town!

It is best to drive the 70-kilometer route from east to west for the best sea views. You should also include places like Ravello and Amalfi in your travel plans.

Panorama Amalfi Coast

Trollstigen, Norway

If you like adrenaline and want to plan a road trip, don't forget Norway! You can walk the demanding route in western Norway over 105 kilometers.

The road trip winds its way up a mountain in the Isterdal valley in western Norway and has no fewer than eleven hairpin bends in store. The "Troll Path" is usually passable between May and October.

Start as early as possible to avoid the buses and tourists, and drive slowly to take in the stunning scenery of waterfalls, fjords, and lakes.

Mountain roads in Norway

Iceland's Ring Road - Route 1

You should plan a little more time for the trip to Iceland. With a length of 1335 kilometers, the road trip is slightly longer than the other top routes.

On this road trip you can admire active volcanoes, geothermal springs, lava fields, thundering waterfalls and breathtaking fjords.

When planning your trip, you should definitely leave some time for the Northern Lights!

Route 1 goes around the island and connects the populated areas of the country with each other. You should allow seven to ten days to complete the entire route.

Secret tips include the hot springs of Reykjadalur, Skógafoss, Jökulsárlón and Vatnajökull. In the summer, keep an eye out for flocks of sheep that may unexpectedly cross the road. And in winter, parts of the road may be closed.

Road overlooking mountains in Iceland

Atlantic Highway, England

The highway runs along the south-west coast of England and connects two of the most beautiful parts of the island, Devon and Cornwall. The 124-kilometer path itself is more suitable for the more leisurely.

Here you drive in generous curves through landscapes with small hills, ruins and hidden beaches. Start in Barnstaple, a thriving market town with a Norman burial mound and historic 13th-century bridge.

Continue to Bude where you can relax at one of England's few surfing hotspots. Further south is Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur.

Stormy seas on the English coast

French Riviera, from Marseille to Monaco

The dreamy coastal road of the French Riviera is dotted with posh grand hotels, small hilltop villages and serpentine mountain roads.

If you are pressed for time, you can complete the 297-kilometer route in two days. However, you should take at least a week to take a look at the travel tips for the Côte d'Azur such as St. Tropez, Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo.

Start in Marseille, the beautiful city on the Mediterranean Sea with a vibrant art scene and the port. Head along the coast to St. Tropez, where you can enjoy freedom on the beach with the rich and famous.

Coastal road on the French Riviera

3rd step: The right pitch

Especially those who travel in the high season should take care of the accommodation and campsites during the road trip in advance.

In the summer, many countries are stormed by tourists and the popular pitches can quickly be gone.

On platforms like, Holidaycheck, PiNCAMP or Airbnb you get a good overview of available accommodations that you can book online, so that nothing stands in the way of the road trip even during the high season.

4. Tips for road trips without complications

If you want to go on vacation abroad, you should familiarize yourself with some of the country's rules and, if necessary, make certain preparations for the trip.

International driving license

If you are traveling in the EU, it is sufficient to have your German driving license with you. Outside of Europe, it pays to have an international driving license to avoid problems with the authorities.

South Africa, the USA and Canada do not always recognize the German driver's license.

You can apply for an international driver's license at the driver's license office in your city. You can expect a processing fee of around 15 euros.

Think of a biometric photo and your German driver's license. You will receive the international driver's license directly and can use it for three years.

Roads, tolls and traffic rules

Road conditions are more or less equally good in most road trip destinations in Europe, USA, Canada and South Africa.

In Canada and the USA, the streets are often much wider than in Germany. But there are also exotic road trip destinations with poorer road conditions.

Find out in advance about the local conditions in order to make the right choice of vehicle. Sometimes an SUV with four-wheel drive can be helpful.

You should also find out about the toll obligation in advance. In almost all countries there is a toll obligation and when planning routes, toll routes should be taken into account.

Google Maps and many other apps provide information about toll routes and sometimes also offer free alternatives, which usually take a little longer.

Especially in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Norway, tolls are expensive and increase travel costs.

Since a road trip is always nicer on the country road than on the freeway, try to avoid the freeways and save on the tolls.

credit cards

In order to be able to pay free of charge abroad, you should take a credit card with you. Charge or "real" credit cards are particularly suitable for road trips, as they can be used to deposit the deposit for the rental car without any problems.

Make sure that your credit card does not charge any foreign transaction fees or debit any withdrawal fees.

A foreign currency fee is also rather counterproductive abroad. What is important, however, is good customer service so that if you have any problems, you can reach someone who can help you.

Helpful Apps

To make your road trip even easier, you can download a few helpful apps to help you plan and organize.

Google Maps and MyMaps are convenient map apps because they not only navigate, but also display additional information such as opening hours of restaurants and sights, as well as phone numbers.

Even if you don't have internet, you can use Google Maps in offline mode.

If you are a member of the ADAC, you can also download the ADAC roadside assistance app. Here you will find all the necessary information and phone numbers in an emergency.

Apps such as Park4night, ParkMe or ADAC Camping are suitable for accommodation. Here you will find beautiful pitches for your camper.

If it's urgent and you don't have a Boxio toilet in your camper, you can use the "Flush & Toilet Finder" app to find the nearest public toilet.

Off-road road trip with a mountain backdrop

The optimal travel time: How many kilometers do you plan per day?

For the duration of a road trip, you should generally plan no more than 200 to 300 kilometers per day.

Of course, road trips vary in duration depending on the weather, country and road conditions.

Depending on how you are feeling on the day, you may have more or less desire to sit in the car for a long time.

The planning also includes generous breaks in which you can simply do nothing and enjoy the view.

If you want to visit different cities and sights in between, the duration of the trip will of course also be longer.

Do not plan your days too full to still be able to make spontaneous bookings and activities.

Car drives on coastal road

Inspiration and help for road trip planning

If you need some inspiration when planning your trip, you can follow the road trips of other travelers on YouTube, Instagram or in the travel blog and search for and find the information you need for the road trip.

Copy some travel planning ideas from experienced people and get inspiration for new adventures.

Foreign countries often hold many surprises that you can only experience by interacting with other travellers.

While there is a map and guides for all countries, the inside information is only available from people who have been there before.

With just one click you can save your favorite trips to Pinterest or Instagram and then have access to them at any time.

You can also mark and save specific locations and favorite spots on Google Maps with just one click

In preparation, you can also download an app that contains information about the various stations on your route and in which you can mark and plan various points and sights.

There are many apps that contain interactive maps, clear itineraries, tips and cost overviews for all road trip destinations, which can be very helpful when planning.

What is the best way to get to the starting point of the trip?

If you do not want to drive directly from home with your own car or camper, you have to take care of getting there.

Depending on where you want the road trip to go, there are different ways to do it.

  • Flight: To find the cheapest and best flight, you can search in comparison portals such as Opodo, Skyscanner or

    You can find the cheapest and most convenient connection for you quickly and easily on the Internet. Once the flight is booked, nothing stands in the way of planning the road trip.

  • Airport parking: If you want to travel to the airport with your own vehicle, you should book a parking space in advance.

    The online reservation and booking is usually cheaper than paying on site and prevents the search for a free parking space.

  • Train: Germany or the immediate neighboring countries can be easily reached by train.

    There are also night trains to some destinations, so you save an overnight stay and a day's holiday for the arrival and departure.

  • Bus: Within Germany or to neighboring countries, the bus or night bus can also be worthwhile.

    One of the largest providers is Flixbus. But you can also look for rides, for example at BlablaCar.

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