One of the best uses for a car is for taking long road trips. Whether it’s a weekend away or an extended holiday, road trips are a perfect way to get out of the city and explore your surrounds. When planning for a long drive, it’s best to be prepared, that’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips for you to consider before setting off on your journey.
1. Map out your trip.
This may seem like an obvious tip, but many people underestimate how important it really is. Mapping out your trip means more than typing in your destination into Google Maps. It means deciding on the best route to get to where you’re going. Some cars are better suited to certain trails. For example, if you have a small, old car, you might want to avoid routes which involve dirt roads. Check the status of the route you’re taking, and consider the stops you want to make along the way. This includes stopping in cities, towns or at landmarks for an extra bit of sightseeing, as well as food stops. You’ll enjoy your road trip a lot more on a full stomach, so plan ahead.
2. Schedule your trip.
Whilst spontaneity is fun, sometimes it’s a good idea to schedule your road trip, especially if you have a limited amount of time and a lot of things you want to do. Think about all the places you want to see and ensure you leave a lot of time to visit them. It’s no fun when you have to rush yourself to do the next thing, so decide realistically how much time you want to spend in each different place. Leaving an ample amount of time will let you be spontaneous once you’re there!
3. Know where the petrol stations are.
The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank, that’s why it’s a good idea to map out the petrol stations along the way so that when your tank is on the emptier side, you know exactly at which station you can refuel at. A lot of people need to call for help when they have a gas shortage, so avoid the extra costs (and potential damage to your car by trying to drive on an empty tank) by knowing where the stations are. Often these stations will also have someone who can help with minor car problems, which may happen during your trip.
4. Check the weather.
The weather in Australia is temperamental and unpredictable. Even if you’re doing a summer road trip, you shouldn’t pack only expecting blue skies, as anything can happen. No matter the season, pack for all types of weather – rain, wind, and sunshine. Checking the weather beforehand should give you an indication as to what kinds of temperatures to expect, but pack an extra jacket and warm socks just to be safe. This is especially important if you’re going camping and will be exposed to the elements most of the time.
5. Carry enough food and water.
You don’t have to completely rely on roadside cafés for food, especially if you’re more health conscious, as most of these roadside outlets will serve fast food. On top of that, they’ll be more expensive than the cafés you find in cities. Try to carry some home-cooked food and snacks so you’re feeling good for the duration of your trip. If you’re going camping, try to get all your groceries at your local supermarket before heading out, as you probably won’t know where the closest supermarket to your campsite will be, or whether it’ll be affordable. Water is especially important to pack beforehand, especially if you’re going to a remote area. At many campgrounds, the water isn’t safe to drink, so be sure to bring enough for your whole trip.
6. Carry sanitary items.
You’re usually more likely to get sick or injured when you’re on a trip in an unfamiliar environment. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a bag of sanitary products handy, such as hand sanitiser, band aids and a first aid kit, antiseptic sprays and insect repellant. It’s easy to forget these things, and a lot of people just trust that they won’t fall ill while they’re away, but reality points to the opposite. Being prepared in case of illness or injury will help prevent a lot of discomfort down the track.
7. Have some entertainment ready.
If you have an old car, chances are, you may not have the newest entertainment systems. That’s totally fine – you can work around this by buying speakers and preparing a road trip playlist. You may even want to download audiobooks or podcasts to keep everyone in the car awake and entertained – especially the driver. Even if you’re in a group, people get tired of talking, so it’s good to have backup. If you’re going camping, think about bringing a card deck or small games for everyone to play once you get to your destination.
Is your car too old for travelling? Think about selling your old car for cash.