There is nothing more enchanting than the thought of setting out along a myriad of open roads for a holiday experience of a life time. Whether it be pulling off the main highway to explore scenic routes, exploring rugged scenery while absorbing breath taking panoramic views, or cruising through the outback lapping up every truck stop experience, road travel allows you to experience the simplicities of nature where you will find yourself discovering the unexpected.
While travelling by car has many unique benefits such as freedom and flexibility, it also requires forethought and organization. A road trip, no matter how long or short, requires a significant amount of planning. Even the most seasoned of road trippers know there are several must do’s before driving off into the sunset. Below you will find some handy tips on how you can best be prepared for your road trip before embarking on an adventure of a lifetime across our great southern land.
1. Get your vehicle professionally serviced
Approximately two weeks before you set out on your road trip adventure, ensure that your car is serviced so it is in good working order and in a road-ready condition. Road trips are like a marathon race for your car. Ensure the mechanics complete a thorough inspection of your vehicle which should include all fluids, brakes, tyres, lubricants, radiator, wipers and air-conditioning. Be sure to check the operation of your lights. A roadside assistance membership is also recommended. With this task completed you will minimize the chances of breaking down during your journey.
2. Have multiple playlists organized and downloaded
If music is your vibe, then why not curate the perfect play list. On a road trip, you are likely to encounter many long and lonely stretches of road. At times, the option of listening to the radio will be non-existent. We suggest making numerous playlists combining different genres which will suit the mood of the moment. If these playlists are on a platform like Spotify or Apple Music, it is recommended to make these playlists ‘available offline’ so you can listen to them when there is no network service.
3. Be prepared (spare tyres, jerry cans, first aid kit, tissues, paper towel, rubbish bags)
Boy Scouts rule number one. BE PREPARED. No one should have to tell you twice how important it is to be well prepared before going on holiday, especially when travelling by car. If you are prepared and organized, you will ensure maximum enjoyment. Be sure to have at least one spare tyre on the car. A jerry can of fuel is a must and a first-aid kit is an essential item in case of an emergency. Tissues, paper towel, rubbish bags, insect repellent, a blanket and water bottles are items well worth considering taking with you, as they will no doubt come in handy during your journey. Also consider carrying some spare cash in case your preferred electronic payment method is not available.
4. Pack for all weather occasions
The weather can change rapidly so it is important that you pack for all seasons. Plan your clothing options accordingly, including items that will serve different purposes in all weather conditions. A wardrobe recommendation is to pack items of clothing than you can layer and mix and match. Think light, warm, durable and waterproof. Ensure to include a rain/wind jacket, towel, swimmers, hat and sunscreen.
5. Use Wiki Camps
Wiki Camps is one of the largest databases of caravan parks, backpacker hostels, campgrounds, amenity blocks, tourist information centres and a whole lot more. Here you can read other travelers’ reviews, costs of accommodation and easily discover places of interest which are on your route of travel. This is an excellent tool for those with a loose itinerary as it gives you the ability to find and book accommodation the day before you plan to arrive with ease. Wiki Camps also works offline, so if there is no phone signal, no worries. All you have to do is download the content to your preferred device before your departure date and it will conveniently be in the palm of your hands wherever you go.
6. Purchase a UHF CB Radio
Having a UHF CB Radio device in your vehicle is a great way to be able to connect and communicate with other drivers on the road, whether they’re in your travel convoy or not. This enables you to travel on the roads safely and communicate with those around you. Trailing vehicles can be warned of upcoming obstacles and roadside animals or if there is an area you need to avoid. In case of an emergency, the UHF radio will connect you to Emergency Services if you are no longer in phone network range.
7. Avoid driving from dusk till dawn
If you wish to avoid a collision with native animals, then we would advise against driving from dusk until dawn, or if you are, drive at slower speeds. The majority of native animals are active at dusk and dawn therefore presenting danger to those behind the wheel. Your own safety is paramount, so we highly recommend that you drive during the day time as it is a much safer and more picturesque option.
8. Pack plenty of offline entertainment
As we have already mentioned, network reception can be limited in some areas, if it exists at all. It is a great idea to have other forms of entertainment where you are not relying on social media and Netflix. These could include books and magazines, Sudoku, crosswords, card games, an art bin, board games, a bag of toys, soccer/football, musical instruments, a play tray (colour pencils, colouring books, word puzzles, dot to dot) and outdoor games like ring toss, bat and ball or Finska. Having an abundance of options will decrease the likeliness of boredom and will increase quality time spent with your travelling companions.
9. Take the road less travelled
Sure, getting from A to B quickly and easily is great, but have you ever explored what’s in-between? The whole idea of a road trip is to explore what’s on offer between your start and end points. Far more appealing than the flying alternative. The feeling of freedom, relaxation and flexibility will soon envelop your senses. Plan ahead and choose a route where you can freely explore untouched communities, national parks, nature’s beauty at its best, farmers markets, off the beaten path 4WD tracks, glistening waterfalls, agricultural fields, secluded beaches and waterholes, rambling homesteads, unusual flora and fauna and majestic peaks. A road less travelled will result in an adventure of a lifetime.
10. Be flexible
Road trips often don’t go to plan. In fact, it is highly likely a curve ball will be thrown your way on more than one occasion during your time on the road. Flexibility and adaptability with your itinerary is a must. At times you may need to make changes or adjustments quickly (if this is the case then Wiki Camps comes to mind). It is highly recommended that you allow a few extra days of travel in your itinerary in case something does not go to plan. Remember to keep calm and keep driving. Set reasonable expectations, stay positive and be accepting of any situation you may find yourself in.
“There is a time when one must decide either to risk everything to fulfill one’s dreams or sit for the rest of one’s life in the backyard.”-Earl Nightingale