A road trip is the best way to see a place. Road trips are more than just getting to a destination. They’re a journey that allows companions to discover and bond with one another, where detours and adventures lead to memories, and where you uncover the unknown. These aspects were not something I took for granted until I traveled with road trip experts. The Indo Nepal Road Trip and the Ladakh Trip were two of the most memorable multi-stop trips I have ever taken. These little events made me realize how important it is to be prepared for any road trip. You will enjoy every moment.
A well-planned road trip can lead to memories for life Photo Credits: Deepak Ananth
Through my many travels, I discovered a few things that were obvious to me, but not to others. This was especially true when I was on our latest trip to Ladakh. This became an opportunity to share my experiences with others. These 10 travel tips are essential to make a road trip memorable.
1) Plan your road trip route
The first thing you need to know is the destination. Next, figure out how you get there. The Google Maps will give you distance and driving time for each route to get there. The one thing I found I had to do, however, was do more research about the route in terms –
2) Packing for the Road Trip
When you know that you will be living in your car, it is natural to want to carry everything. This may not be a wise decision as you will need to load and unload your luggage every night you stop for the night. As I discovered on my Nepal road trip, heavy suitcases can be cumbersome. We were told to use backpacks for the Ladakh trip. I was rightfully asked because it made loading and unloading so much easier. You should also keep space for water and food, in addition to your personal belongings. You should also consider carrying spare fuel and essential tools kits for your vehicles. You will need to have all the essential tools you might need, such as a torch, flashlight, emergency cone, coolants, and torch for nighttime. It is good to believe that you won’t need all of these tools, but it is better to have them on hand. This was evident on our Ladakh trip, which took us along the Zojila pass and the Chunthang route. Our Bolero had a flat tire.
3) Start early
Driving in daylight has always been something I believe in. Night driving is difficult for me because of the blinding glare from other vehicles. You should also be able to see where you are going if you’re driving on no-road, stream-filled terrains like Ladakh. You can also buffer time lost due to detours, pit stops, and other emergency situations by starting early. You can also pace your driving so you don’t take unnecessary risks.
4) Keep cash close at hand
Technology is still being developed for toll booths and small food outlets along the route. You will need cash to pay for these transactions. Not everyone accepts electronic transfers or cards. As we drove along the roads of Nepal and Ladakh, this was obvious. It was the research done before we arrived at this conclusion that helped us realize that certain Indian denominations are more widely accepted in Nepal than the 500 Rs notes. This tip allowed us to eat at roadside restaurants rather than starving ourselves all the way to Kathmandu.
5) Important paperwork
Before you leave for your trip, make sure all your papers are up-to-date. This includes vehicle insurance, registration documents, and emission certificates. You will need additional documents if you plan to travel cross-border or in a restricted area. To obtain permits for Nepal, we required all the above and an ID proof from the driver. We needed Inner Line Permits to travel in Ladakh as we were very close to Indian borders.
6) Pitstops & Detours
Is there a road trip that doesn’t include any detours or stops? Planning stops are always a delight, like discovering Sonamarg while en route to Kargil. Or how I found Kumbhalgarh on my way to Udaipur. These pit stops help you to see smaller places that are often overlooked. It is best to plan them in advance. These places can be chosen based on the topic that interests you, as well as the distances required to get there. We were forced to make a detour from our road trip and spotted this beautiful hanging bridge in Nepal. However, sometimes it’s all about forced detours, as we found out on the Nepal roadtrip. We found the route through Narayanghat. We reached there in time but were informed that the road was closed for repairs. Therefore, we had to take a different route through Hetuada. We were able to see sights that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise, as the re-route allowed us to travel through Nepal on non-existent roads.
7) Stay connected
I was realizing that Google Maps had been my only way to get me where I needed to be. I learned a few things along my last few trips. Not all routes Google suggests are motorable, and sometimes Google maps is not available. Always download an offline map. Check with locals about the direction you are heading. If you’re traveling with a group, make sure to stay together. This was something we learned during our Ladakh trip. We were separated by distance and without any network, and one car lost control at the Chang La pass. We were fortunate to have two vehicles with us and were able solve the problem. Another situation was that we were driving along the highways in Punjab when the vehicles became separated. We were fortunate to have enough network to send a Google pin out to others so we could all converge again and set off together. If you’re traveling alone, make sure someone in your family knows where you are and then call them once you reach your destination.
8) Roadside assistance in an emergency
Even the most experienced drivers can experience vehicle breakdowns. Motion sickness can also occur, and in this case, AMS. It is important to recognize the symptoms and take corrective action. Keep information about vehicle breakdowns and the services that can be provided to them handy. If you need medical assistance, make sure to have your medication list handy. You can also keep a list of emergency services on hand for those who need them.
9) Fuel breaks
Before you set out on your journey, make sure to keep track of the fuel consumption for the distance. You might run out of fuel at the bunk you’ve chosen, as we found in Tandi on the Ladakh trip. Talk to locals to find out the nearest bunk and then get on to the destination. In our case, we had a difficult time getting back to Darcha and then continued on to Manali. We’ve already discussed the Fuel breaks. Before you go, make sure to check your tyre pressure before you leave. You should always have a portable inflator handy if you’re heading to remote areas.
10) Accommodations along the Way
We all prefer to book our stay in advance. A comfortable and affordable room is essential for road trips. OYO rooms are one option. We discovered many OYO properties along our Ladakh roadtrip that went beyond the standard bed and breakfast. As an example, take the one in Hunder. This property is located in the hills and built over a stream. We were tempted to stop our road trip so we could see more of this natural beauty.