Tag Archives | Car rental

How to Be an Expert in Road Trip Prep

The Fighting Couple is going on a road trip. A really, really, long one: 1,457 km or 900 miles to be exact.   We are headed to the Nordic country of Norway. (Here is a link to our route: (Our Norway Trip Map)

You can imagine there are going to be some serious fights on this trip. Luci and I in close quarters for an extended period of time is a recipe for disaster.

The right travel partner makes all the difference! As our friends Karolina and Patryk say:

“The golden rule of a perfect road trip is to find a good person to travel with! With a good companion you can solve all the problems and make unforgettable memories!”

Public Transit vs. A Car

Once you have found the perfect travel partner.  The next step is the car. We are huge fans of public transit. We wouldn’t see big cities any other way. Cities like Paris, London, Boston, Bangkok, and Singapore offer great ways to get around. But….when you want to get out and see the country, there is no better way, than by car. Taking on a large country like Norway? Having a car is a must.

The Perfect Road Trip!

The Perfect Road Trip!

Pick the Right One

The first thing you need to do is pick the right rental car. Thinking of driving your own car? Sometimes it is more economical to put the miles on someone else’s vehicle. We book our trips six to eight months in advance. Last year, when we began the planning process, we knew that we needed the right car. Here’s our best advice: Spend the extra money and get a bigger car. There’s nothing worse than being cramped in a tiny car getting blown all over the road. Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a petrol head than the word “compact”. Spend the money.

If you are renting a car in winter, check out our post on winter driving and rental cars.

couple driving

Breaking Up

One of the key things we have on this trip is setting aside two real “drive” days. The rest of the time we drive an hour or two in the morning and the same in the evening. We try to do most of the driving before and after everything opens or closes.   With the help of Google maps, you can get a preview of what the roads look like.

Find a Way

As we have shared in the past, GPS single handedly saved our relationship. Putting miles on your car because you are lost is not an option. Even with great tools, trust us, Wi-Fi and cellular can at times be sketchy. Nothing beats an old-fashioned Garmin GPS with current maps. Rent one from the rental company or candidly, buy one really cheap on eBay. Be familiar with your route and have a rough idea of the direction and cities that you are headed to. Also pay attention as you drive; this will help give you markers in case you do get lost! Think of it as memory breadcrumbs.

Eat

When we take long road trips, we like to hit a large grocery store and load up on snacks and beverages. You never know when a short drive turns into a massive mess.  Nothing is worse than when Luci gets “hangry” and all of the sudden the fighting begins. We don’t want that for you. Candidly, we don’t want the competition. There can only be one Fighting Couple.

couple in car kissing

Questions

Not all the side effects of driving are bad. We have found that it is actually a great time to discuss issues in our relationship. You definitely have a captive audience. A word of warning: Avoid the really heavy stuff. If one of you gets mad, there is nowhere to go. Another conversation starter is the “Book of Questions.” There are a number of different ones out there. We enjoy asking each other these random questions and hearing the sometimes-bizarre answers.

Stop

Buy yourself a good guide to the area that you are exploring. Make some stops along the way. Get out and walk around. Stretch the legs and clear the mind. Getting the blood flowing during a long road trip is critical. We have found many interesting spots that were not on our agenda, when Mike has the courage to deviate from the excel spreadsheet.

We hope that you find a few of these ideas helpful. We can’t wait to share with you our epic road trip. We do need to let you know that our friends at Auto Europe are helping us plan our trip. We have been using them for years. They offer a wide variety of autos at fair prices. Best of all, our experience with their customer service is stellar.

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Nurburg: Outside the Circle

Dreams do come true!  As a kid, I would create Lego cities connected by mini “autobahns.”  Along these paths I would drive my die cast Ferrari, Porsche and BMW at breakneck speeds.  Of course, I would take the best lines in and out of the corners complete with the engine roar!  Thanks to our good friends at RSR Nurburg this boyhood dream is coming to real life!  Come along with us as we discover one of the great couple travel destinations in Germany.

Driving German car

See the story of the “real” Nurburg.

The Fighting Couple is headed to the beautiful Eifel region of central Germany.   This area is home to one of the most famous racing circuits in the world the Nordschleife or Nurburgring.  A ribbon of concrete and asphalt calls its siren song to petrol-heads everywhere.  The ring is simply amazing.  No question.  But we are going to let you in a little known secret… the same people that designed and constructed the Nurburging also designed the roads just outside the race track!  True!  The twists and turns of the mountain roads around the ring are every bit as beautiful and just as challenging…actually maybe a little more!

Nurburg car tour

Feel the Power!

Problem.  You’ve got that economy rental car or you took the train to arrive in the Nurburg area.   That’s were RSR comes in.  They offer some of the finest machines made, all ready and waiting for you to experience.  BMW?  Nissan GT-R? Ferrari?  All waiting for you.  Just turn the key (after you fork over your euros and sign the waiver).  They offer a guided road tour that includes sections of the old Nordschleife.  They know the back way into seeing some of the best turns of the main track including the deadly Bergwerk, Hohe Acht, and the Ex-Mühle.  Besides the beautiful scenery, you will hear the real history of the area and see the old haunts of racers of yesteryear.  How better to explore this area than behind the wheel of a sportster with a brood of ponies under the bonnet?

Nurburg car tour

Explore the Nurburg Area

We are saving the best for last.  Not only will you feel the thrill of twists and turns, take in the majesty of the Eifel hills and dales….but they drive you past some of the secret manufacturing testing sites.  You just might catch a glimpse of the newest creation Dr. Dieter Zetsche.   Sweet!

 

Thanks again to our kind friends at RSR Nurburg for this dream a reality.  Are you ready to make your dreams happen?  Start your engines!

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Couple Road Trip Survival Guide

How to survive a long road trip

Long road trips can be great couple time for busy couples.  They also can be an exercise in trench warfare.  We put together some handy tips to make your next trip a little more civil.

Bigger is Better

A confession:  I am a bit of a petrol-head so this is area that I feel passionate about.  One of the most often overlooked “secrets” to a happy road trip is the choice of car.  Now I know the first thing that you are going to say is…but I don’t have the budget to rent an S-Class Mercedes.  You don’t have to.  First off, when you do your initial car rental search, don’t just select the economy class only, search three or even four levels above.  Check out the luxury level.  We have found that at times the luxury or even the SUV price is cheaper than the mid size.  Crazy huh?

road tripIf you headed out on an extended road trip, don’t skimp on the car.  Pay a little extra for size.  You are likely to spend more waking hours in this metal box.  Skimp a little on the hotel.  Size does a number of things for you:  larger cars ride smoother, are more safe, give your more “personal bubble space”, and typically have dual climate controls (very helpful).  Although tempting, never, ever rent a convertible.  I know, they are sexy and the desk clerk is going to give you a great deal on one.  Don’t do it.  The problems with convertibles are many.  First off the are small.  Trunk (boot) space is at a minimum.  Convertibles (unless they are a BMW, MB, Porsche, ect.) are LOUD.  The outside noise is going to get annoying.   Driving in any sort of weather can also be harrowing. Convertibles are great for a day or two in places where going “topless” is a must.  Leave them at the rental agency on the long trips.    A few more pesos on the right car will go along way.

Lets recap:  cast your rental car search wide.   Price out a number of different car class options, and invest a little more than you would normally.  Rent the largest car that you are able.  Our last pointer would be to ask for an upgrade at the rental car counter as well.

Give America Car Rental a look for great deals on rental cars.

The Three F’s

We classify stops into three general categories: food, fuel and fun.  A word about food.  If you follow our posts at all, food is extremely important component to our relationship.  I know all of you health-nut types out there are going to mummer…but fast food makes for the best option on road trips.  You can defiantly make healthy choices at fast food places.  Get out of your car and order to go in the restaurant.  This gives you some much needed vertical  and lou time, but why sit in the restaurant and eat?  If it takes 30 minutes to sit and chow down the whopper you could be 30 miles down the road.  The sooner the road trip ends the better.  Fuel-let your blater define fuel stops.  Don’t wait till the tank is on E.  Fill up mid tank during a bio break.  Save yourself time.  Stops equal slow.  The last F is important.  Build in some fun on the road trip.  Find stops where you can get out, and do something active.  Get the blood flowing again.  We have found outlet malls to be great stops.  It gets you apart (very helpful).  They also get you walking.  Make the most of your food, fuel and fun stops!

rental car

We had a few problems with our rental car in South Africa.

Tunes

Many wars have been fought over control of the radio dial.  The Fighting Couple are not immune from this clash.  Luci loves Broadway tunes.  She really does.  She loves to sing along.  Me….not so much.  On the flip side…I do enjoy me some bluegrass on occasion.  Luci….not so much.   On our most recent auto expedition we chose an audio book: Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale Jr.  Great book!  Books on tape are amazing “time killers”.  Most novels are 8 hours long and if you pick the right one, time flies.  It also give you a topic for discussion.  Cool huh?

The Little Things

couple road tripThe little things on road trips make a big difference.  Buy/borrow/rent a gps.  This small item has almost single handedly saved our relationship. This little devices of genius save time, prevents arguments (darn!) and most importantly they find food and fuel.  Gotta have one.  Don’t rely on an Iphone or worse a wireless connection to navigate.  Trust us.  The other small thing is keeping the car clean.  Junk and clutter are distracting to the driver and they invade on the “personal bubble space”.   The little things can make all the difference.

Couple road trips can be a ton of fun.  It gives you quality time to talk, listen and fight!  These are just a few of our hints to make the trip a little more enjoyable.  So what have you found that works?  How do you avoid killing each other on long roadies?

A couple more posts that you might enjoy:

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Men…While Traveling.

The Man’s Guide to Traveling with a Woman

 

 

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