Here are some top-tips for enjoying a self-drive tour of Britain:
1. Bring your Own GPS and buy a map.
It may sound obvious but buy a map! As an old fashioned kind of guy I prefer maps and a good British road atlas can be picked up at most service stations and book shops throughout Britain. It's worth the investment and will help when planning your daily route and act as a back-up if your GPS battery dies. A sat-nav or GPS system is useful in each town/city especially when finding your specific hotel or B&B as you can punch in the exact post-code/zip code. If you own one already then I would recommend bringing it with you; most modern GPS systems are small and can be easily packed and it will not only save you money on renting one here in Britain but also time as new and unfamiliar systems can be confusing - you don't want to spend half an hour each morning working out how to program it.
2. Enjoy the Scenic Routes.
We know you want to get to your destination and a GPS will send you the most direct route, but we advise that you get off the beaten track. Avoid the commuter traffic on the boring highways and get on the back roads where you can take in the scenery and where you're more likely to stumble upon quaint villages and towns and sights that you weren't expecting to find. Particlularly in Scotland, scenic routes to certain destinations are well sign-posted. Remember, when you're on your holidays the journey should be just as enjoyable as the destination itself!
3. Look out for the brown road signs.
Here in the UK all of our visitor attractions, heritage sites and historic buildings are clearly signposted from major routes by road-signs with a brown background. Knowing this can help you reach the sites you plan to visit but can also highlight places you didn't even know existed but will be glad that you didn't miss.
4. Fill up the car at a supermarket.
Gas (or petrol) prices in Britain are generally higher than many other countries so it's a good idea to fill up in the most economical way possible. Large supermarkets generally have gas stations and often provide the best priced fuel in the area. If you spot one fill up there rather than at a highway service station and you'll save several pence per litre of fuel - it may not seem like much but over the course of your trip you'll make some savings.
5. Park and ride in to town.
Most of Britain's major cities offer park and ride schemes whereby you can park in an out of town car-park (parking lot) and take a short bus ride in to the city centre. This saves the high cost of city-centre parking and the stress of driving in city centre traffic. Most larger cities can then be explored on foot or by hopping on the local open-top bus tour which will take you to the major places of interest within the town.
Travel tip shared by Brit Traveller