Choosing The Right Road Trip Vehicle

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My husband and I love going on road trips. There is something exciting about driving around a country, stopping where you want, seeing the places, the people, the cities, the towns and the tiny villages that you never knew were there.  You can really get under the skin of a place and discover a country you didn't know existed.

Of course, when you are planning a road trip you need to take into account the type of vehicle that will be perfect for your needs. You may be renting in a faraway place or buying a car for that classic road trip across Europe or the States.  Maybe your car is due to be replaced so you buying a car that can serve both your every day and road trip needs.  So here are some things that you really need to think about when choosing the right road trip vehicle for that awesome trip.

Size of car

The size of the car can be directly related to the size of your road trip party. Is it just you, you and your partner or your family too? You will need a car big enough to include your luggage too, so check the size of the boot/trunk. 

Often a smaller car can be more economical and easier to park but you also want to be comfortable driving as well. If you are driving long distances a large car like a family saloon or SUV is usually more comfortable in my experience and can feel safer than a small car too. So way up the size of the car carefully.

Features of the car

There are some features you may think you definitely need and some features that you would like but aren't essential. This isn't so important when buying or renting a new car, as most cars these days have features like air conditioning, but is more important if you are buying an older car. 

Some features to consider are below.

Air conditioning - very important in hot weather 
Sat Nav - useful if built in, but you could use Google maps on your phone 
Bluetooth connectivity - to play music in your car seamlessly
Back up cameras - to show what is behind you and help with reverse parking
Automatic stop and start engines - useful if you are driving in built-up areas to save petrol/gas

Type of car

There are certain types of car that people think of when they think 'road trip' and most of these are convertibles.  Driving a convertible across America is often a dream of road trippers but is it all it is cracked up to be? I know when we hired a Mustang in the States, the wind in our hair was great, but the sun beating down on us, not so much. If you have people in the back they will be windswept that's for sure and if you hire a convertible don't forget the sunscreen! A convertible often has a small boot/trunk too, so not ideal for a long road trip. 

A vintage or classic car could be another idea, such as an old Jaguar, Porsche or MG but there are particular problems here too. You will have to weigh up the cost of buying/renting a vintage car, and the excitement of driving one against the old-fashioned suspension which could affect the comfort and the lack of modern features.  Older cars are more likely to be gas guzzlers and air conditioning will be unlikely. These issues may not worry you if you want to go for the cool classic car experience but still need to be considered.

If you are driving off-road, or across difficult terrain, you may want to consider a 4 by 4, also called a 4 wheel drive. I know when we drove around Iceland on a road trip, we were really grateful for this type of car which can help driving on gravel roads, light snow, sand, mud and water. 

A luxury sports car is the top of the range option, however, the cost will be high and economy low. Still a fantastic experience if you can afford it. Luggage space is usually non-existent, so best to hire just for a day or two.

A mid-size or large saloon style car or SUV is often the choice for many road trippers, for the combination of comfort, leg space, features and room for your bags, all this especially important if you are driving a long distance.

So as you can see there are many things to consider with the type of car, at the end of the day, however, the choice is yours. 


When buying or hiring a cost there are obviously cost implications. A small car is generally more economical and cheaper, although there are exceptions, the bigger you go and the more features the car has, the more expensive it will be. If you are buying a car for a road trip, sites like will help you find your perfect road trip vehicle and can be searched by car type, make, price, style and MPG. 

A sports car, convertible, classic or vintage car will be more expensive to buy/rent and to insure compared to a family saloon. Older cars are also more likely to break down and can be less reliable than a newer car, so this is something else to think about.

I hope you enjoyed my brief guide to choosing a road trip vehicle. Let me know, have you ever been on a road trip? What is your ideal road trip vehicle?


  1. Very useful info. We don't drive so we've never been on a road trip it does sound fun though.

  2. I bet it is amazing getting to head off on a road trip to someone special. I think the nearest I have come to doing a real road trip is going to two different locations on holiday. I like the idea of hiring something really different that you wouldn't normally drive I think.

  3. Funnily enough I will be heading off on a road trip soon and I'm looking forward to it. I like the sound of renting a sports car!

  4. As someone who has done a few road trips,the longer the trip,the more full size the car should be....which is why my wife and I enjoyed taking our PT cruiser on long trips,holds more gear and was comfortable to drive...

  5. I'm itching to do a proper road trip. Like a travel around Europe with the kids over the summer road trip... I am going to book mark this! H :)

  6. oh wow yes yes and yes , you made the most of it hiring that didnt you ? lol i bet you felt a million dollers

  7. A good stereo is important for a long road trip, as is lots of boot space for shopping!

  8. I have never hired a car when I have been away but I know one day me and my boyfriend want to do an American road trip and hire a mustang x

  9. What a great post, We havent hired a car when away as we tend to take our own lol. Yes we drive on holiday ourselves, next month we are off to France. Saying that I would hire when away and space for me especially leg room would e a must

  10. We had a Volvo xc90 for our Scottish road trip and it was perfect for us. Great for off road and roomy for the kids

  11. These are great tips, with two young kids, we tend to avoid taking them on long road trips. But when they are bigger, road trips would be the way to go.

  12. Our ideal road trip car would have heated seats - it works wonders on my mummy's back! Great tips x

  13. I'm not a driver so for me as a passenger as long as I have leg room, a comfy seat and air con I would be good to go! I think with children involved I would look at the size of the boot to ensure we could fit everything in and a buggy!

  14. We have been on a road trip a few times and we really enjoyed it. Great tips, we will be considering them!

  15. I have actually just got my driving license and I am on the market to buy a new car. But this weekend I will be going to Slovenia and renting a car, for a road trip around the country. Your tips are very useful!

  16. I have to say, however impractical it might be in reality, the idea of driving a Mustang in the US is very appealing.

  17. I've been looking this week at hiring a campervan to do some touring of Scotland. It would be just perfect that way. I think it is very important to get the right car for the job. Makes all the difference.

  18. I am loving these tips. We love the 4x4 as we can fit so much in and it is good on the countryside roads x

  19. This is such a helpful post, literally my first thought would have gone for a convertible but it would have been for the aesthetics more than any logical thoughts like storage and the terrain I'd be driving on

  20. Great tips and taking a road trip with the family is on our bucket list!

  21. Angela Ricardo Bethea1 March 2018 at 13:30

    Those are some great tips and very helpful. I will be considering this to my next road trip.