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Life is short, and work can feel long. That’s why it pays to treat yourself every once in a while. When you work all week, day in and day out, 9-5, all year, the weekends are a welcome reprieve, yet they can feel so fleeting that it can feel as though by the time you’ve even begun to put your feed up to relax, Monday morning is already beginning to roll around again.
With that in mind, finding some leisure time is an absolute necessity in this fast-paced, hyper-modern world. Ensuring that you have a solid break of a few weeks to a month each year is something you should prioritise. Taking some time away from work to relax can be just the ticket to fully recharge your batteries, as you’re physically distant from all your responsibilities and worries.
A fantastic plan for a holiday is a road trip, this requires minimal planning, outside of the destination of course. In this article we will share the Aussie traveller’s guide to planning such a holiday. We’ll cover all your need to know, from how to buy foreign currency to booking the ideal accommodation. Have we intrigued you? Read on to find out more.
1. Purchase Foreign Currency
If you’re planning on taking a road trip internationally, you’ll need some cash. You might think your credit card will do the trick, but the international currency fees can often be between 3-5%, this can begin to add up over time. As well as the accumulation of fees, in a country where you’re unfamiliar with the territory, it is safer to have physical money on you, in the instance of an emergency, or if you end up somewhere that doesn’t take card payments. By purchasing some foreign currency, such as Euros, US Dollars or other foreign cash, you’ll pay a once-off fee, and the rest of the money is yours.
You can purchase foreign money in several places. Dedicated currency exchange businesses will convert your Australian dollars, and your bank can do it too. Each place will charge a fee, so it’s a good idea to ensure you compare the different fees and pick the cheapest one.
2. Plot Out Your Destination
The next step is to get Google Maps out or if you’re feeling a little old school, try a physical map, this. Use these tools to help you map out your desired route for your trip. You should know your point of origin, as that’s where you’ve booked flights. From there, plan out your days, you’ll need to know how much driving per day you’re planning on doing as well as where you’ll stop for breaks and sightseeing, and of course, where you will stay each night. This leads nicely into our next trip.
3. Get your International Driving Permit
Of course, you can’t have an international road trip without actually being road-legal. And international tourists are expected to have secured themselves an International Driving Permit (or IDP) in order to drive in most countries around the world.
Simply put, if you want to be absolutely certain that your international road trip can go ahead as planned, applying for your IDP really has to happen as early as possible. Thankfully, the process is quite easy to navigate for the most part, as the application process only consists of one paper form that requires two passport-sized photographs, a photocopy of the front and back of your Australian passport, your signature, and a small administrative fee.
4. Book Your Accommodation
You’ll need to ensure that your accommodation is sorted ahead of time, unless you’re hiring a motorhome to double as your hotel and your vehicle during your overseas adventure.
By booking well in advance, you will save yourself the frustration that comes with last minute searches. Nothing is worse than arriving somewhere after a long journey, tired, craving a hot meal, a shower and a warm bed, only to find that all the decent accommodation is booked up.
If you’re planning your trip on a shoestring budget, you may want to consider booking backpacker accommodation. You can save money by sharing a dorm room with other travellers. This is ideal for anyone who is either travelling on a tighter budget, or alternatively someone a little younger.
Hotels and motels are the way to go for older people who are more established and financially secure. You’re guaranteed a certain quality of accommodation, and you’ll maintain your privacy too. You don’t need five stars, of course, but if you can afford it, go for it.
5. Arrange Your Hire Car
The next step is to approach a hire car company upon arriving at your destination. A travel agent can take care of this as well as other details of your trip, but if you’re looking to take a more hands on approach in your trip, you can easily sort these details out solo.
There will be a few different hire car companies to choose from, depending on where you’re travelling to. All will have different options, as well as various price structures. Decide what type of car you want, which should narrow it down, and then compare prices. Remember – the cheapest company isn’t always the best.
A bonus tip here is to spring for additional insurance for more thorough cover and perhaps even a reduced excess. The excess on standard car hire is steep, and if you have an accident and you’re found at fault, you could wind up with an expensive insurance bill. The last thing you want on holiday is a headache like this, so it certainly does pay to fork out for insurance and tick a few additional boxes regarding cover prior to signing your hire car agreement.
6. Double Check Your Passports and Entry Requirements
Before you embark on your international road trip, there are some practical matters that you will naturally need to attend to. First, check that you know where your passport is and if it’s still valid. If your passport is set to expire, then you’ll need to secure a renewal as promptly as possible, just to ensure that you receive the replacement well before the day of your first flight.
You’ll also need to finalise your visa. This will mean checking the entry requirements for each country you plan to visit and ensuring that you complete any necessary paperwork before departing. Some countries have different entry visa requirements, so it’s always good to do your research well ahead of time to help your trip go ahead as planned without any concerns surrounding your entry paperwork.
Summary: A Cruisy Conclusion
In this helpful article, we’ve shared the Aussie traveller’s guide to planning an international road trip. We’ve covered the basics you need to know – including buying foreign currency, booking accommodation, planning your trip and arranging the hire car. Don’t forget to check your passport and arrange any entry paperwork for destination countries. The most important tip of all is to have some fun!