Here are the top 5 road trip planning resources we got our paws on before we started to put together our winter 2017/18 road trip to the Alps. In no particular order…
#1 Alps Marco Polo Map
It’s a bit old fashioned maybe but any big trip should really start with a map. We looked at loads before we bought this one from Marco Polo and here are the main pros and cons:
- It covers the right area (not as easy as you’d think to find)
- It’s got a chunky set of city guides
- It’s decent quality and might last the trip without falling apart at the folds!
- It’s a map – it’ll tear
- You’ll have a tantrum trying to get it to fold properly
- You’ll realise that it’s a souvenir and not a tool – Google Maps is your friend
Maps are a really nice way to remember your trip and they don’t take up much room if you’re in a motorhome or camper van.
You can pick up a copy here:
#2 All the Aires France: Motorhome Aires De Service Guide to French Stopovers in English [UPDATED INFO]
This is a #vanlife bible. 4 Months ago we didn’t even know what an ‘aire’ was let alone how important they were going to become to us! We’re not quite sure why they’re not getting updated continuously but a savvy entrepreneur could make a fortune digitalising and updating this (UPDATE: there are a growing number of apps for camping and motorhoming so utilising all resources together seems to be the best option). It’s the first thing that anyone will advise you to invest in and it’s a must have.
- You’ll have loads of fun flicking through it and deciding where to hunker down for the night
- It’s old fashioned and awesome
- You’ll end up in places you weren’t even considering
- It’s not up to date and we can’t find a current model UPDATE: The place to get the most up to date edition is the Vicarious Media website
- It’s expensive – UPDATE: we stand by this – it’s £25.50 which is great value but still a lot of cash when you consider the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides to France are around the £12 mark. Not taking anything away from Vicarious – it is an awesome resource.
- You’ll spend a lot of time wondering why nobody has updated it! UPDATE: Well they have and we missed it!
#3 The Bluffer’s Guide to Skiing
Entirely ridiculous book which is probably almost always found at the top of a pile of equally daft books in the home downstairs toilet library.
- Any skier will recognise a worrying amount of themselves in the book
- Perfect gift for a ski enthusiast
- A downstairs loo is probably not complete without it
- There are no downsides to this book
- …other than it’s made of trees but you can get the Kindle version for £1
#4 Le Guide MICHELIN 2017
Even if you intend to travel on a minuscule budget as we are, this is a glovebox essential. Well that’s not strictly true if you’re comparing it to warning triangles and European breakdown cover, but you should at least put it on a wish list.
- Makes you seem like the kind of person who eats at proper restaurants aka ‘culture points’
- Actually contains some amazing value hidden gems
- Gives you something to swoon over when you’re tucking into yet another ‘one pot mystery’
- It’s heavy
- It takes up a lot of space
- If you leave it at home you can probably bring more pants
#5 Google Translate
This should actually sit right at the top. If you haven’t experienced the voodoo that is Google Translate then you have been missing out my friend. It is in fact witchcraft and if they find the wizard who thunk it up, they should make them king, immediately.
- Zero talent required to operate it and you can communicate anywhere (except Newcastle, it doesn’t support Geordie yet)
- Its like having a real life wand. It’s pure magic
- Actually builds a bit of confidence in speaking other languages in our experience
- You need a smart phone that supports it
- You need phone battery… you’re stuffed if you run out mid chat with a native about local politics
- It uses your data allowance if you’re not on wifi
- It’s ruining phrase book makers
You need to see it to believe it so watch this: