How To Do A Solo Road Trip

27/04/2017 12:22 BST | Updated 27/04/2017 12:22 BST

One of the best parts of solo travel is the freedom - to go where you want, when you want. To change your mind at the last minute. To spend all day in one museum, or to ditch your plans entirely and go to the beach.

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And one of the best ways to explore is behind the wheel of your own car, giving in to the lure of the open road and stopping anywhere that takes your fancy.

Before you venture out into the great unknown, here are a few things to consider for a solo road trip.

Set your limits

Bottom line, you're in the driver's seat - so you need to be happy with the plan. That might mean designing an itinerary that ensures you're not spending long long hours behind the wheel (potentially unsafe as well as dull), avoiding driving after dark and sticking with a country where you feel happy hitting the road.

If you're new to road trips, a staycation is a great start, or a country like the USA and Canada are geared up for road trips... Always check the paperwork too: some countries require you to have certain equipment in the car or the boot, others have special devices for toll roads, and you might also have limited daily mileage.

Think about support

Are you happy to handle all the practicalities yourself, from car rental to insurance to legalities and even possibly breaking down? If not, it's worth checking out a tour operator that offers self-drive or flydrive holidays, whether that's suggesting the best places along a route or more practical advice on road and driving conditions if you are heading off the beaten track.

You can even get safari vehicles with rooftop tents and tips on driving in the desert from specialist companies if you fancy exploring Africa.

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Where are you going?

It's not just the destination you choose, but how you choose to do it. Would you rather have one route from A to B - the Pacific Coast Highway perhaps or Route 66 as two classics - or a loop that brings you back to the start again, helpful if you'd rather return a rental car to the same airport.

Alternatively, how about picking one or two locations as your base, and driving out from there so you're not always packing up every day? It can also be a good way to keep accommodation costs down.

Where are you staying?

One given in any road trip is that you'll need parking - fine in the wide open spaces of north America (outside the cities at least) but if you're booking somewhere to stay, you need to be sure they have a car park or there's public parking nearby which won't triple your costs.

If you're mixing city and country, you might not want to pick up your rental car on day one, for example. Or work with a tour operator to design an itinerary where you can give back the car whenever you're in a city.

What kind of car?

Admittedly this one is usually a bonus, unless you know you're headng off-road. You might be more comfortable in something compact, but if you fancy turning heads in a convertible or a classic car, you could find your rental options a bit more restricted.

It's worth checking out specialist tour operators again, who often combine an eye-catching car with somewhere equally eye-catching to stay.

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Follow the diversion

As with any solo trip, it's a good idea to go prepared - letting family or friends know where you'll be for example, or plotting out places to get petrol if that's not always easy, not to mention a good playlist.

Take paper maps along with a satnav or Google Maps in case you find yourself without data or battery, and plot out just how long it's going to take to get from place to place. A roadside emergency kit, USB cigarette charger and water/snacks are good additions to your road trip kit for starters.

And then enjoy the freedom. Because when you see somewhere you just have to investigate, who wants a rigid route plan that has no free time to stop, stare and soak it all in?

Cathy Winston is editor of 101 Singles Holidays

Images courtesy of Pixabay