In Clare Furniss’s beautiful ‘How Not to Disappear’, Hattie sets off on a road trip with Gloria, the great-aunt that she’s only just met! As they travel to uncover Gloria’s past, they’ll learn about each other, their secrets and themselves.
But if you’re heading off on a road trip this summer, we’ve got some essential tips for you to make it the best trip ever.
1. Camp. Staying at hotels will really eat through your budget, so when you can, pitch a tent. It’ll cost you about £10-15 to stay, and another £20 for your tent and car, which tends to beat the price of most crummy hostels.
2. COOK. You’ll feel a major drain on your budget if you’re eating out every night, and cooking with your fellow road trippers can even be fun.
3. Bring a conversation starter. Sure, it seems obvious to talk to people, but it can be a little nerve-wracking to start the conversation. Having a conversation starter can fix all that. Whether that means decking your car in stickers, having enough marshmallows to share or, as we distinctly remember a fellow road tripper bringing with them to Rome, a taxidermied badger.
4. Baby wipes are your friend. You never know when a jar of Nutella will explode in the back seat and you’ll need one of these life-savers.
5. Same goes for hand-sanitiser. When you’re on the road, sometimes you have to just make do with bathrooms and let us tell you, they don’t always come with soap and water. Plus, this is super handy to disinfect your hands before cooking, without having to tramp across the field to the camp site bathrooms.
6. Invest in a tranjia. Portable BBQs might seem like a good idea for all your cooking needs, but when all you want is to boil up some pasta, you’ll wish you’d invested in a tranjia or good ol’ gas cooker. More expensive, but worth it.
7. Pop up tents…not your friend. They SEEM like it, when it’s dry and bright and everyone else around you is struggling with pegs and poles. But trust us, when the first downpour comes on, you’ll have wished for a sturdier shelter.
8. Stock up on tunes. Don’t just rely on having signal to play your Spotify tunes. Download those songs, get them on CD – make sure that you have your music even if you’re in a complete dead zone.
9. Bring plastic boxes. This makes going to the bathroom and kitchen so much easier, instead of grabbing your pots and pans and cutlery/shampoo and razor and body wash to wherever you need to get to so much easier.
10. If there’s a bathroom, use it. You will never regret turning it down more than when you’re on a 3-hour motorway stretch and the next services station is 20 minutes away.
11. Bring extra layers. Even if it’s the summer, bring that extra hoodie. Temperatures do drop at night, and British weather isn’t always sunny.
12. Stock up on snacks & non-perishable foods. When you’re beyond grumpy one evening trying to reach your destination, it’s surprising what a pack of Haribo can do to your mood. Also keeping dry food like pasta, rice and pasta sauces is handy, in case you arrive somewhere late at night and the food stores are closed. Avoid bananas and other squishables unless you intend to eat them pretty soon.
13. Don’t go for the shortest route. Or you’ll be stuck on a motorway for 5 hrs and not see anything. Try to choose a windier road – something by a few lakes, a few interesting little towns you wouldn’t normally see.
Grab your copy of ‘How Not to Disappear’ here!
Tell us your road trip hacks at @maximumpopbooks!
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