The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

One of the greatest aspects I miss about Glasgow is the numerous road trips you can take during the weekend. There’s always a new adventure, a new story to tell and a new place to discover. One of my favourite road trips (if you like this post, there’s more to come, don’t worry!) that we ever took guided us through the north of Scotland.

I’ve had the luxury of travelling to a lot of places but, in all honesty, Scotland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The scenery is majestic, the people are glorious and there’s always a new spot that you’ve never seen before. On this particular road trip we visited: Aviemore, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Fort William, Glencoe and Loch Lomond. We decided to take that particular order because we planned to travel in a circle so it would be easier to get back home.

The highlights of our trip were:

# Sightseeing at Loch Morlich and Aviemore. 
# Seeing a baby reindeer at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre.
# We didn't see the Lochness monster but the lake and Inverness, itself, is a gem.
# Sneaking into Urqhart Castle after hours. Apparently, it's illegally legal. I would highly recommend seeing the sunset from this castle. We cracked open a couple of ciders and enjoyed the view.
# Isle of Skye. Get ready for the worst weather ever. At least that's what we experienced! 
# Speaking of horrible weather - The Faerie Pools are a must visit but wear waterproof EVERYTHING. It's normally windy and rainy all the time. 
# Climbing a mini mountain - Quiraing
# Hiking to Glen Nevis - Fort William
# The exceptional views at Glencoe. It's honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. 
# Climbing a actual mountain - Ben Lomond
# Seeing the Harry Potter Bridge - Glenfinnan Viaduct

We weren’t picky about accommodation. We were honestly looking for the cheaper options because we wanted to spend all our savings on sightseeing. I’m going to just come out and say it, I’m not a hostel fan. I especially don’t like sharing my bathroom. However, if you’re planning on being in the vicinity of Glenshiel, Kyle, stay at the Ratagan Youth Hostel. It is situated in an incredible location, plus it’s clean and very cosy.

If you’re planning on taking a road trip yourself, here are a few pointers to help you set up the perfect plan.

The last word is key. Make a plan. Plan ahead so that you can get the most out of your road trip. Your main goal is to explore as much as possible in the time period that you planned. Plan your routes, all ready to go on your GPS, and highlight your sightseeing spots. Several roadtrippers enjoy the element of surprise and don’t mind stopping at hostels to check for availabilities. It’s entirely up to you, but I feel I’m more comfortable when I know where I’m spending the night.

My first tip is to make plans. My second one is to keep plans loose. No matter how detailed and precise your plan is, something is bound to go off track. And that’s ok. You’ll probably discover a new destination to visit or a secluded, hearty place to get some food. It’s also great to keep your options open because you’ll probably find exciting things to do on the way that you might not have considered before. Make sure that you leave enough time to complete the rest of your trip.

Work out a budget. Not everyone’s definition of a perfect road trip is the same.  I like to spend most of my budget on seeing as much as I can in the places that I’m visiting. So that’s my priority. I don’t mind staying in hostels and I don’t mind eating noodles from a pot at the store (which we actually did on this roadtrip!) if it means I’ll have more budget for seeing the world. That’s not to say that I plan to eat noodles on every trip, but if I had to decide between eating a cosy lunch at a nice cafe and going to the Faerie Pools, you know what I’ll choose.

Whatever you do, pack light, especially if you’re going to be carrying the weight load on your back. But even if you’re not. I’ve learnt that I hardly wear any make-up when I’m holiday so I’ve decided to only take the basics. If you’re going to be hiking (which we did a lot on this road trip) you definitely don’t need shoes to match your every outfit. Comfortable clothing is key. Also make sure you’re taking the weather into consideration when you’re packing!

A person on the road trip HAS to be in charge of the music. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time travelling in the car, keep a fun playlist at hand. There are plenty of playlists on Spotify that can be used for road trips.

My Favourite road trip essentials

header photo by glen slattery