Planning a solo road trip but don’t know where to start? I’ve done loads all over the world, so here’s my tried and tested advice for enjoying a road trip by yourself…
I like being by myself, and judging by the fact you’re on an article about doing a solo road trip, I’m going to assume you do too. Solo road trips can be so much fun – they give you freedom to explore without restraint. No more having to accommodate everyone else needs, instead focusing on what you enjoy and taking breaks when you desire.
Going on a road trip by yourself comes with some unique benefits and challenges. This is why I have come up with the ultimate tips for the best solo road trip experience!
Where to go on a solo road trip
Taking a road trip by yourself is a great way to explore the world. Whether you prefer to stick closer to home or go international, there are many incredible solo road trips to choose from.
When choosing a destination it is important to consider the area.
Is it safe?
Does it have fun solo activities?
What are the road conditions?
Based on experience and knowledge gained on my travels, here are my top destinations for solo road trip adventures.
The Lake District
Located in Northwest England, the UK Lake District is a great 3 to 7-day road trip. Voted as one of the best road trips in the UK, the UK Lake District is filled with wild swimming holes, quaint towns and breathtaking mountain views. If you are looking for an epic hike, then Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Helm Crag are popular excursions for the adventurous at heart.
You could also try a Devon road trip, a Cornwall road trip, drive along the Jurassic Coast, or try driving along the Norfolk Coast. You can check out all my recommendations for UK road trips here. Oh, and can’t forget the time my friend and I did a wild camping road trip in the Outer Hebrides!
Iceland Ring Road
Iceland is a beautiful destination and fantastic for solo travellers. Safe, beautiful, and with plenty of activities, the Ring Road allows you to drive around the entire country of Iceland in one trip! Although you can technically complete the entire road trip in 13 hours, it’s best experienced over 10 days. This allows you to stop at all the amazing sites and villages along the way.
If you’re looking for solo road trip ideas, this is a great one.
Vancouver to Banff, Canada
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are a stunning site to behold, with a road trip being the best way to experience their wonder. Start your journey in the 2010 Olympic city of Vancouver, and end your trip by relaxing in a Banff hot spring. Along the way, there are many sites to explore, such as Johnston Canyon, Lower Falls, Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and Emerald Lake.
New Zealand is a relatively safe country, with a stunning landscape and little to no dangerous wildlife. This makes New Zealand perfect for solo road trippers! Although you can explore most of the Island of New Zealand in 2 to 3 weeks, there are many smaller road trips you can plan. If you have less time, try to focus on either the North or the South of the island. In the North, you have cities like Auckland, the Bay of Islands and Wellington to explore. While in the South, you will find Christchurch and Queenstown.
Route 66, USA
If you are looking to take a road trip across the USA, then Route 66 is perfect for your next solo road trip! At 3665km long, Route 66 starts in Chicago, Illinois, transversing 8 states and ending at the Santa Monica pier in California. With amazing stops along the way, such as Blue Hole, Calico Ghost Town, and the Petrified Forest National Park, Route 66 is calling you!
READ MORE: All the Road Trip Essentials You’ll Need
What to take on a solo road trip
These are the most important solo road trip essentials you should consider taking with you.
- Solar charger: Charge your phone while you drive, but instead of a car charger, use the sun! Solar chargers are a great way to power up, while being more eco-conscious. Plus they allow you to charge your devices almost anywhere!
- Dash cam: Dash cams have become extremely popular, due to the extra level of security they provide. They can also capture exciting events on your solo road trip, you may miss otherwise.
- Satellite phone: Are you an extreme adventurer? Are you planning a multi-day hike in the wilderness? Then you might benefit from a satellite phone. A satellite phone can be a great way of staying connected when in remote areas. Especially if you plan to venture out of mobile phone range for days at a time.
- Roadside emergency kit: A roadside emergency kit is very handy, especially in extreme weather. Check out the RAC website for information on what to pack in your roadside emergency kit.
- Powerbank: Although a car charger is a great way to charge your device on the go, just in case your car breaks down, invest in a power bank. There are many variations available, with some powerful enough to charge your cell phone, tablet and even laptop.
- Bucket with a waterproof seal: Did you know that you can wash your clothes as you drive? All you need is a bit of laundry soap, water and a bucket with a waterproof seal. Make sure to only fill the bucket 3 quarters of the way, to allow for movement. As you drive the water and detergent will slosh around the clothes, removing dirt and debris. After an hour or two of driving, switch out the liquid with clean water to rinse. Voila! Clean clothes, without the laundry mat.
- Carjack: No one wants a flat tyre, but it’s good to plan for one. Sometimes cell signals can be spotty on remote roads, making calling roadside assistance challenging. Having a carjack can make life easier, if you happen to get a flat.
- First aid kit: A first aid kit is always handy, no matter where you are. Pop a first aid kit in your vehicle, just in case an itchy bug bite or scraped knee tries to infringe on your fun.
- Paper map: Phone dead? No internet access? Although paper maps are not as popular as they used to be, they still are very handy in case of an emergency or even just for fun.
- Pack snacks: What’s a road trip without an epic snack fix? Sweets, chips, soda, and cookies are always fun, but try to pack healthy alternatives for the road, as they’ll be more difficult to find along the way. Nuts, canned fish, fruits and veggies can be great alternatives that do not require refrigeration.
Great apps for solo road trips
How to stay safe on a solo road trip? Use these apps!
My SOS Family Emergency Alerts: Planning a mountain hike or going to a remote area? When solo travelling it can be smart to set up a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. My SOS Family Emergency Alerts can notify your friends or family if you do not access your device in a set period of time or if you need to send out an SOS notification.
ICE – In Case of Emergency: As a solo traveller it is important to have safety measures in place in case of an accident. ICE allows you to display your essential personal information, such as name, birth date and allergies, on your phone lock screen. This way, if you are unconscious or unable to respond, the first responders still have access to vital information required to keep you safe.
Spotify: Every solo road trip requires an epic playlist and Spotify can help with that! Create your custom playlist or choose one of the many popular premade playlists available. For an ad-free experience, you only need to pay £9.99 / per month, making Spotify an affordable way to access all of your favourite artists and podcasts on the go.
Google Maps: An amazing thing about Google Maps is that you can access maps offline for free. No more worrying about finding a cell signal or WIFI, when you can just open the app and check your location live via GPS. You can also start a journey and add stops along the way, such as bathroom breaks or quick excursions. Label your must-see attractions with a green flag so you won’t forget or flag the restaurants you visited, so you can remember them for next time.
Headout: The Headout application allows you to book tickets for shows, concerts, excursions, tours and attractions. Explore activities available at popular destinations around the world and book your ticket straight from your device without waiting in line. Available for free on Android and iOS.
Make sure you get your travel insurance sorted before you go on a solo road trip. HeyMondo offer 24/7 worldwide assistance with travel cancellation and interruption cover. They also have tailor made policies and cover medical expenses up to $10 million. Click here and you’ll get 5% off your travel insurance with HeyMondo.com too. Check out their App for more details.
Good knowledge for a solo road trip
Schedule breaks: Solo road trips typically take longer, as you will be the only person driving. Driving for 12 hours straight is unrealistic, so make sure to schedule frequent breaks and stops to rest.
Sort your car shipping: If you’re planning on shipping your car out to your destination to drive, you can get car shipping quotes online here.
Driving permit: Depending on the country you visit, you may be required to hold an international driver’s licence, like I had to get when I drove round Jeju Island in South Korea solo. To confirm, check the destination’s government website or contact the local consulate.
Prep your vehicle: Before venturing out on a long solo road trip, make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape! Check the oil levels, wind wipers, gas level and tyre pressure. You may also want to wipe the interior down and do a quick vacuum. Nothing better than starting your trip off fresh.
Morning start: Beginning your day early is the best way to start a road trip. Not only will you get most of your driving done early, but you’ll also be more alert and well-rested, making your drive safer and easier.
Check your insurance: Not all car insurance covers driving excursions, so make sure to double-check with your insurance provider. It’s also a good idea to sign-up for roadside assistance, in case of a flat tyre or sudden car trouble. I actually get mine through my bank with my account which is pretty sweet.
Solo road trip tips
Have these solo road trip tips inspired you? Where would you like to go on your next solo road trip adventure? Let me know in the comment section below.