How to-s for a road trip in France

3:58:00 PM

Hello friends!  We’re sorry it took us that much time to write a new story, but it’s because we were spending lot of time on the road, exploring new places and trying to do some fun stuff no matter the forecast…

By the way, not that we’re counting, but it’s already been more than a month since we started our trip! And honestly, we thought we were really prepared for this, but the last 40 days were full of hilarious situations! So we figured out it will be useful to write few tips for road trippers and share some of the gained experience…

1. How to… survive when the forecast is bad 
Often enough your travel experience is influences by the forecast. And for surfers it’s even worse – the wrong wind or swell can make the dream trip a really boring off-season vacation. And we all know how exhausting the cold wind can be… specially when spending the day out with a heavy backpack. But don’t lose hope! Lots of places are even more fresh and beautiful under the rain, and a sunny day means also a crowded town (already had those experiences in Montpellier, Avignon, Biarritz, Bayonne, Hossegor, Bordeaux…)

And for surfers: when waves are gone try to do some sightseeing or enjoy a good day on the beach! The good thing in France is that you can find nice spot for longboarding or a decent skate park in almost every town… And they are often desert, hahah. So start appreciating every moment!

2. How to… deal with your expenses and still enjoy the trip

Ok, spending well your money is one of the keys to afford a longer trip. And sorry to disappoint all the romantic girls out there, but checking all the local restaurants and buying stylish clothes from local designers is not part of it! Of course, you can afford a nice dinner from time to time, but when deciding where to go – check the prices AND the menu! Make sure to choose the best place for your budget and expectations – sometimes cheapest deal isn’t the best… And sometimes you can find the same thing in the local supermarket for lot less money.

Same rule when choosing a place to stay for the night. Before leaving our home we checked lots of useful websites for camping places and cheap accommodation, we wrote it all on paper, so we can use it every time we arrive on a new place. Last but not the least, once you meet some locals you can always ask them for the best deals in town (we found some great vintage shops in Toulouse, clothing from fav brands on sale in Bordeaux, and bought fresh veggies and fruits on some road market in Provence).

3. How to… prepare nice food without having a kitchen
This really is a challenge! We’re trying our best not to spend lots of money on restaurants, and we definitely don’t like fast food. So, we spend a little bit more time in the supermarkets but at the end we manage to find the best deals on bio products or discount local products. We also brought lots of seeds and nuts, some olive oil and honey, so we can always prepare nice salad or rise. Important condition to really enjoy your meal is to find nice spots to eat it – go on a pick nick, as often as possible. It doesn’t take so much more time to put a blanket on the grass, or sit on a nice bench in the park instead of always eating in front of your car (yes, we also do it when we’re too tired…)

Biggest mistake when traveling is to keep your habits and eat exactly the same things as back home. In France every region has its own local products (fruits and vegetables in Provence, milk and cheese in Normandy and Brittany, fish and sea products on the cost etc…) So the most clever thing to do is to find the best deals in your specific region and to remember what are the “best offers” in different supermarkets. It’s also a way to understand local culture and habits.

4. How to… do your laundry when traveling
We brought lots of clothes in the car and yet, sometimes, you just NEED to do your laundry… Using the washing machine of your airbnb host or your camping place doesn’t work for us, since most of the times we only stay for a night. So we found a laundry service that can be charged with a big quantity of clothes (the ones people use to wash their king size blankets or curtains) and we’ve putted almost all of our stuff inside. We were close to Cap Feret and to a place called Le Grand Grohot, so after the washing was done, we just drove back in the woods and let the sun do its job. The result: clean and fresh, straight from the nature, hahah!

5. How to… survive when the locals aren’t so friendly
During our stay in the Basque country we met lots of nice people, same in Landes and Gironde. Locals were friendly and we had great time with other surf trippers we met on the road. In Bordeaux people were super nice and we enjoyed the hospitality of our really cool friend Leta. However, sometimes tripping in France can be hard; some of the people aren’t so friendly and the language barrier can become a huge problem… Niki’s solution: smile! Be nice with people, don’t snob them if they have accent when speaking in English, try to avoid conflicts, especially when surfing with locals. And when the spot is crowded – do the barracuda move, hahaha. Small waves are also worth it!

6. How to… celebrate your birthday on the road
Niki’s birthday was on the 21st of September, a boring Monday with no swell and nothing to do at the evening. So we checked some interesting places in the region and finally went to some really cool pick nick spot in the woods, ate a great lunch than took a walk to finish with some wine and nice cake (local specialty : Gateau basque). Finally leaving the dream life of a road tripper is already a great way to celebrate a birthday! And you should never underestimate the simple pleasures such as a night in a nice room + long morning in bed + breakfast with tasty French brioche and strawberry jam, mmm!

Expect a story for our stay in Bordeaux, and some updates on the WSL contest, starting today… Already saw some pro surfers smashing the waves :D

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