Road Trips 101 : How to Prepare

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Us in Gulf Country

 

Road trips are a great way to explore Australia, especially when you don’t have weeks or months of holiday time, or you’re not prepared to pack everything up and hit the road like us.  A road trip can be just what you need to get your holiday hit, and it’s totally customisable to your liking.  Cruise along the coast, explore the forests or drive through the desert – whatever you fancy, you can get it in Australia.

 

However, before you embark, there are a few things to consider to ensure a smooth ride.  The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre, and you forgot to pack a cross brace…

 

Your car

Your car is your chariot, your transporter from A to B, your luggage, your friend and even potentially your bed. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

  • Check all the fluids and make sure you bring extra bits, including spare hoses and belts.
  • Bring a toolkit with you so you have everything you might need to do minor repairs. Keep in mind that if you don’t have the skill or knowledge to maintain your vehicle and do your own repairs, you may have to consider this when putting together your budget.
  • A spare tyre is always a good idea, as well as a jack, jerry can and jumper cables.

 

Changing the water pump on Christmas Day

 

For more information on the types of 4WDs you can get and what to consider when choosing a vehicle, check out the Ultimate Guide to Buying a 4-Wheel Drive

 

Maps

Unless you’re heading out to the middle of nowhere, you can probably rely on the navigation app on your smartphone, but there is no harm in having an actual map in your hand.  Not only does it save the battery on your phone, but you can draw on it, make notes and keep it nearby.

 

Entertainment

You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the car so make sure you have the entertainment sorted.  Music, podcasts or audio books are a great way to pass the time.

 

Food and drink

Consider how many meals you will buy and how many you will prepare yourself.  There are usually supermarkets dotted along any road trip route so there are no excuses for going hungry.  Here are a few points to ponder over:

  • You can never have enough water.  Buy bulk containers that you can refill along the way.  Aside from our 25L water tanks, we carry a 10L goon bag of water that we refill whenever we can.  It makes dispensing water into our drinking bottles super easy.
  • Quick and easy food items like noodles and crisps are fine but they’re not considered a substantial meal.  Keep yourself healthy and full of energy by fuelling your body the right way. If you can’t afford a decent pub meal, then go to the supermarket and get some sausages to cook on a free park BBQ, or make some sandwiches.
  • If you can’t take a fridge with you, an esky is also great for keeping things cold.  A quality esky with a bag of ice should last several days.  There are also collapsible coolers available and once they’re empty, they fold away easily.
  • Campers will benefit from having a portable gas stove with a billy or pot.  Hostels usually have a communal kitchen with all the facilities.
  • Most parks with free BBQs also have picnic benches, but there is no harm in packing some comfortable chairs and a table too.

 

 

 

Money

Apart from money on the card, make sure you carry some cash.  You never know when EFTPOS is not available.  Things to include in your budget are:

  • Petrol
  • Food and drink from eateries or supermarkets
  • Emergency repairs/mechanical fees
  • Fun stuff like wildlife parks and tours
  • Camping or accommodation fees

 

The poor troopy

 

Bedding & Clothing

There are a few things that could ruin your road trip, but dramas with your sleep and clothing are easily preventable.

  • Pillows and blankets from home ensure a good night’s sleep.  No one likes driving when they’re tired.
  • If you’re camping, a decent tent and sleeping bag are essential.  A hot water bottle might just be your best friend during the winter months.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking and hiking trails will keep your feet happy, and a wide-brimmed hat will protect your head and face from the sun.
  • If you’re expecting cold weather, pack a good jacket.  Preferably one that’s waterproof and windproof.
  • Coastal road trips will require bathers, beach towels and sunscreen, and possibly a snorkel.

 

 

 

 

Other important stuff

Here are a few other items that we think will make a good road trip great.

  • Walkie talkies or a CB radio are great for convoys and ensures communication between cars.
  • A first aid kit should be well stocked with bandaids, antiseptic cream, pain-killers and hayfever tablets.
  • A torch – or better yet, a head torch so that both hands are free.  Make sure you bring extra batteries too.
  • Toilet paper is a must.  Some campground toilets don’t get serviced regular and you could be left with a very difficult decision to make.  Campers who are pooing out bush should also consider a small shovel to bury and conceal the crime.
  • A camera will record your happy times so you can make all your friends jealous when you get home.
  • Avid campers do not leave home without insect repellent.  You may as well throw in some Stingoes as well.

 

Mozzie massacre!

 

So there you have it – our guide to preparing for an awesome road trip.  If you have any tips that aren’t on this list, feel free to comment below – we’d love to hear them!

 

Tropic of Capricorn

 

 

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