It's a completely different holiday from the usual package of beach hotels and sand in your swimming trunks, but that doesn't mean it can't cater for a wide range of tastes. If you want to condense as many sights and experiences as possible into a short space of time, especially ones off the typical beaten tourist track, this is the way to do it. If you like driving too then that box is well and truly ticked, typical tours taking in some of the most stunning roads you can imagine with scenery to die for.
What to take...
You could just grab your passport, jump into your car and go, of course. But a dashcam or GoPro to record your trip for posterity/share with your friends online is highly recommended. Organised tours often issue walkie talkies for that full Smokey And The Bandit vibe and radio banter all adds to the fun, as well as helping everyone keep in touch with each other. Worth considering even if it's just an informal trip with a bunch of mates. Suncream is handy for convertible owners or coupe drivers alike - rocking the pink forehead or 'trucker's arm' for the evening drinks is never a good look! And you'll want to make sure your playlist is sorted for the less interesting motorway transfer sections too. Don't forget your Euro plug adaptor either. Or your toothbrush.
Strength in numbers is one benefit of joining an organised tour and you'll find fellow roadtrippers keen to warn the rest of the convoy about what's going on ahead so everyone can enjoy their drive safely. Some people stick to their close-knit groups, others operate as lone rangers mingling as the mood takes them while others still mix-and-match. Best advice is to make it your own - it's your holiday to enjoy as you wish!
Depends on what you're looking for. Some rallies concentrate on the posing and the partying, some focus on the driving roads with the social element less of a feature. Choice of route and destination plays a part too - the opportunity to let someone else take the organisational strain of planning a route to somewhere you'd never otherwise travel is always attractive. Price will be a factor too of course but the Rico Rally seemed a winning balance of all of these.
Top tips for making the most of it...
The days can be long so pace yourself when it comes to the partying! Practical tips would include keeping change ready for the tolls or even buying yourself some tags to really reduce the faff. You might think in this age of sat-navs there's no danger of getting lost either but sometimes it's nice to go freestyle and just see where the road takes you. Just make sure you choose your co-driver carefully - you'll be spending a lot of time together and you don't want to fall out and be abandoned at the top of some remote mountain pass!
Totally up to you! PH rode shotgun in a Litchfield modified Porsche 911 Turbo S, which was both comfortable and more than fast enough to make both mountains and motorways entertaining. But the Rico Rally welcomes all-comers and among the convoy were Clios, M3s, Aston Martins, Audi R8s, Nissan GT-Rs, a Mitsubishi Evo wagon and a Peugeot 208 GTI! Whatever you drive getting in the spirit and wearing some sort of livery helps you feel part of the gang, our car benefitting from the attention of WrapCube who also decalled the PH Fleet for Le Mans. If you don't want to go that far many organisers provide a few stickers as part of the package anyway.
Thanks: Rico Rally for having us, Brett for offering up the passenger seat of his Porsche (and the lesson in 80s music), WrapCube for the decals, AT Performance for the ride in the Evo wagon and Europe for allowing us in, even though we'd just Brexited.
Words: Ben Caspary