Your exchange semester is probably the best time of your life to go on a road trip with your friends. Why? Simply because you’re in a new place to explore with new friends and most likely you have a lot of free time. Part of the reason for studying abroad is getting the chance to explore a new place and culture, so whenever you get that chance, just grab it and make the most of it. Get ready and start packing because we’re going on a road trip!
Where to go
So where should you go? Begin with having a look at our city pages and see if there are any not-too-distant cities that interest you. Ask around among your classmates if they have any good local advice, or consult your guidebook. Some of the Student Mundial team’s favorite picks are:
If you’re in England: Consider putting on a kilt and going for a trip up to and around Scotland, take a look at these beautiful pictures and you’ll understand why. It’s a perfect mix of nature and historic sights. And who knows, maybe you get a chance to spot Nessie!
If you’re in Italy: Wow, I really envy you lucky ones who are in Italy, maybe Europe’s most beautiful country. Toscana is a classic foolproof destination if you’re into history, art, food and great wines. The Italian riviera is also a great destination with its picturesque towns such as Portofino and Cinque Terre. But seriously, the list of destinations is endless, I can go on and on about amazing trips – I’ve toured Italy by car for the past dozen years.
If you’re in Spain: rent a car and circle the country! Along the east coast, aside from Barcelona (which is of course a must), Valencia is a personal favourite. The northern highlights are Galicia, Asturias and the Basque country over there you can find amazing camping sites in the countryside which is full of adventure and funny activities ideal for summertime!
If you are traveling during springtime consider heading south to Andalucia, an awesome and cheaper option. The province is steeped in history, a very peculiar corner of Europe which has witnessed a mix of cultures: arabs, christians, jews and romans among others! Seville, Cordoba, Granada and a must: the beaches of Cadiz. Tarifa is a really great surf town that you could easily get absorbed into and never want to leave. If you have already been to these places, well then you are lucky! In that case, consider taking your car for a road trip along Portugal’s amazing coast.
Awesome apps that will make your road trip easier
Here are a few apps that have made my traveling easier when it comes to finding your way, packing stuff and splitting costs with your group.
Navigation: Waze is a “social GPS” that lets you interact with other drivers to avoid getting stuck in traffic, get alerts on speed checks, find out where to buy the cheapest fuel and easily navigate the fastest way to your destination. Available on iOS and Android.
Pack: Are you one of those who keep forgetting to bring stuff on your trips? Chill out, here are two great totally free apps that will help you remember what to bring:
With PackPoint, just fill in your location, length of travel, whether it’s business or leisure, what type of activities you’ll do. Packpoint will then give you a list of recommended stuff to bring, depending on what you’ll do and on the weather at your location. You don’t have to worry forgetting to bring clothing for the right weather since the app does it for you! Create a list and get a URL to share it directly with your entourage. Available both for Android and iOS.
Triplist gives a few more options besides business and leisure: you can also schedule camping, cruises, road trips and also shopping lists. It features a customizable items catalog but feel free to add whatever you need. Available on iOS and syncs between your devices.
Splitting payments: Another awesome free app to install on your Android or iOS phone is Settle Up, it has really been a useful app for my latest trips. Create a group, enter the names of your friends and start entering the expenses continually as they occur. Just fill in who paid for what. In the end it helps you to minimize the number of transfers when settling up within a group, instead of the same bills just circulating around in the same group. It also help you keep tabs on your expenses so you don’t overspend.
Hustle a ride
Compare a few different car booking sites to get the best price. Read the fine print since the cheaper options might not end up so cheap when all additional insurances, driver and under-25 surcharges are added.
Some of our personal favorites among the car companies are:
Notice that in most countries there’s a surcharge for people younger than 25 years since those are statistically the most reckless drivers. Most companies will also charge an additional fee to insure every additional driver, and don’t mess with this because if an accident occurs, your co-driver won’t be insured. You might just end up in deep trouble. On the bright side, I’ve seen a few rental companies offer the additional driver for free as a bonus, so it’s worth to look for it.
Just one last thing…
Once you’ve picked your destination, chosen your favorite friends, packed your gear and rented a car, you’re good to go. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to ride! Just one last reminder: drive safely, and of course, don’t drink and drive!