Plan your own Spanish road trip and get the best value for money!
We did a Spanish road trip recently and it was tremendous fun. I can definitely recommend giving it a go. If you’ve read any of my other planning guides then you’ll know that my favourite mantra is “plan it yourself”! You get so much more for your money that way and of course, you get to travel your way. Both those things are important for different reasons.
Stretch your budget
Although not everyone travels on a tight budget we all want to get value for our money, don’t we? So even if you’ve got plenty of money to splash on your trip you can use my tips and advice to ensure you get fabulous value for money. If you’re on a budget and let’s face it this is most of us, then use my tips to stretch your cash as far as possible.
Travel your way
I think this is the most important aspect of all. When I travel, I want to see the things I want to see and do the things I want to do. I don’t want to travel on someone else’s schedule or be told where I have to go or what I have to see on any particular day. That doesn’t mean never taking a tour and never taking advice. What it does mean is gathering information and making your own choices. That’s what my blog aims to do and hopefully, it will help you plan your own trips and get more from your travel experiences.
Get some inspiration for your Spanish Road Trip
So let’s start with some inspiration. I love to read other people’s trip reports before I start planning my own. It gives me a starting point as well as giving me loads of ideas on what to do. If you read my trip reports you’ll also probably get a few ideas of what not to do. All that information helps though!
How to use this guide to help plan your Spanish Road Trip.
Now you’ve read all about how we did it so let’s get down to planning your Spanish road trip. If you liked my trip then you can use it as a starting point for your own planning. I’m sure you’ll want to make changes though so make a list of what you liked and what you know you don’t want to do. It helps to draw up a day-by-day itinerary and then build on it to create a complete plan. Take a look at this detailed day-by-day schedule for a Spanish road trip. Use it to build your own.
When you’ve read it, note down the things you want to keep and the things you want to change. Do you want to cross one place off your list? Or perhaps you want to add a city or spend more time in another place. Make a note of these changes. This is how you make the trip your own.
How to start your Spanish road trip
Of course, to start your Spanish road trip you need to get to Spain. It might seem obvious but I thought I’d say it anyway! Of course, you can drive all the way through France if you want to. In that case, you can either take the ferry across the channel or use the tunnel. We’ve done that and it makes a great trip. If you’re short on time or want to get straight to Spain then consider the longer cross channel ferry routes direct to Spain. Take a look at my guide on how to cross the channel.
On the other hand, just because you’re planning a road trip doesn’t mean you have to take your own car. If you’re short on time you might want to get straight to southern Spain. Or your car might be old, too small, not reliable enough for a long road trip. In that case, you can fly and hire a car when you get there. It’s actually worth considering as an option if you want to focus your time on your destination rather than getting there. Although, even if you’re time poor it only takes a day on the direct to Spain ferries. There are pros and cons to hiring a car instead of taking your own. I must admit, our natural reaction is to assume we’ll take our own car. Firstly you can pack so much more stuff, right? Still, it’s worth keeping an open mind. Either way, you’re going to be driving in Spain so you want to be prepared. Check out my guide to driving in Spain and make sure you know the rules before you go.
Where do you want to go on your Spanish road trip?
Now, you know where we went on our Spanish road trip and we’ve talked about how you’re going to get there. So, what are you going to do once you’re there? This is the fun part, right? Looking at all the cities, towns, villages, tourist attractions etc and thinking shall I go there? Or shall I go there instead? It’s the part of planning I like the most but it does throw up some hard choices.
We travelled to several more rural locations and enjoyed just driving around the countryside on our trip. Additionally, we did some city sightseeing in Caceres, Salamanca, Cadiz, Gibraltar (not technically Spain I know but we still went there). No trip to southern Spain would be complete without a visit to the Alhambra near Granada either. However, you should also consider visiting Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona. We’ve visited all those on various trips and you’ll love all of them. Spain is a fabulous place for exploring.
Get a great guidebook
Although you can get a lot of information online these days to help with your travel planning, you can still benefit from carrying a guide book with you. I always carry one or two guide books on my Kindle and iPad. That way, I have extra information available wherever I go. It’s particularly handy if you find you have extra time and are looking for somewhere else to go. Or if you want a beach or restaurant recommendation and you don’t have access to the internet.
These days you can choose between a traditional paperback guidebook or one for your e-reader or Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle yet then I can highly recommend getting one. I carry hundreds of books with me everywhere I go now and they take up so little room. Never again will I run out of things to read. I use the Kindle Paperwhite because I like to read outdoors a lot and it’s perfect in sunlight. Easy on the eyes inside and out too.
Convinced? Click here to order yours now!
As I already mentioned, I like to carry some guidebooks with me when I travel. My two favourite publishers for these are Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. They’re a bit different from each other in style and content so I usually have both for each destination. The country-wide guides are best for planning and are particularly good for road trip planning. You can also get regional guides which are fantastic for really showing you all about the region you’re visiting. Get your guidebooks by clicking on the image links below. All these are available in Kindle format or paperback so get whichever you prefer.
Lonely Planet Guidebooks for Spain
Rough Guides to Spain
Plan your accommodation
Once you’ve decided where you want to go then you need to think about finding and booking accommodation. Firstly, think about whether you want to stay in a hotel or whether you’d rather rent an apartment or look for a cheaper option such as a hostel. Perhaps you love camping! I’ve written a series of articles on choosing, finding and booking accommodations. Take a look at them by clicking on the photos below.