Road trips are something that most people have experienced, and whether you love or hate them, you’re bound to find yourself involved in one sooner or later. Although road tripping can provide the ultimate freedom, and conjures images of Thelma and Louise driving through the desert in their convertible, it’s not all fun and games when you haven’t prepared properly and run out of petrol or water. As you all know, Camping Plus love camping, and road tripping is inevitably part of your camping adventures so we have decided to put together some great tips and hints for your next road trip to ensure that it’s as liberating as it should be.
Road Trip Preparation
We all want our road trip to go off without a bang, so preparation for your road trip is tantamount. You can prepare properly by following our well thought out road trip tips below:
1. Plan your trip
This is a pretty obvious road trip tip and we’re not going to recommend any particular navigation application for this planning part, although Google maps is a basic and pretty accurate place to start out. On the other hand there are some pretty deluxe trip planning apps out there, we find Pebblar pretty easy to use. This said, over planning is counter productive and just with everything in life, your road ship should be left pretty flexible. We recommend preparing a rough itinerary including all the sites and activities you’d like to see and do, and then going from there.
2. Pick the right vehicle
Whether you’re planning an epic 12 month safari from Asia through to Africa, or driving the kids to Yamba for the weekend, you’ll need to consider the appropriate vehicle for the trip. Will you be traversing fjords in a high clearance off roader? Or just cruising along the neatly bitumenned highways and backstreets (although in Australia ‘neatly’ is questionable) in a Honda minivan? Think about the crowd you’ll be traveling with, whether you will all be comfortable or not, and whether you’ll need a 4wd or something with greater clearance. If you’re going camping, its best to call the national park before you book to see whether higher clearance is recommended. The last thing you want is to turn up at your campsite and find that you can’t clear the river at the entrance.
3. Plan your meals and pack accordingly
Although spontaneity is one of the good things about road trips, it pays to have a think about what you and your gang are going to eat along the way. Meal planning is a pretty good idea, and you can then shop before you go, which will avoid wastage and save you cash. If you’re going a long distance and plan on camping, a good product for storing your meal prep is the Engel Fridge Freezer which plugs in to the power outlet in your car. If you’re after a more budget option go for our range of Coleman Coolers which are great for keeping your food and drink cool the old school way.
4. Take plenty of water
This is another obvious tip, but make sure you pack plenty of water, even if you aren’t traveling too far. Go for bigger bulk bottles of water such as this great Cube water container and refill at servos or national parks as you go in order to save wasting plastic bottles.
5. Check the vehicle and pack spare parts
Before departure, make sure you always check your vehicle’s oil and coolant levels as well as the tyre pressure. Failure to check these basic items is a common reason for break down, and it is entirely avoidable. Depending on where you’re road tripping, you may also wish to take some key spare parts for your four-wheel drive. Especially if you’re doing some serious off-roading, such as: a second spare tyre, light bulbs, suspension parts, radiator hose, duct tape, coolant, oil, bearings, and the list goes on.
6. Choose the right travel companions
Road trips usually span a number of hours, so ensure that your travel companions are people that you can stand to be in a confined space with for more than a few hours. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, so make sure you choose wisely and can tolerate your choice when things go wrong and you or they are at their worst.
7. Prepare a budget
Depending on the length of your road trip, it’s worth preparing a budget (per day) in Excel, in order to ensure that you don’t run out of cash and have to tap into the savings account. Take into account things such as fuel, food, accomodation, and alcohol. That said, what is a road trip without a little splurge? Do the planning but don’t take it too seriously.
8. Fill up before your tank is too low
Many of us have experienced the feeling of dread when the petrol light comes on and there’s no petrol station in sight. Avoid this feeling by always filling up before your tank drops below a quarter to avoid any unnecessary stress, and often the ensuing argument with your passenger/s. Better yet, and most necessary for those going off road and remote camping, carry a jerry can (like this great 20L Pro Quip Fuel Tank), with some backup fuel just in case.
9. Follow the local road rules
Although we’re all aware of the road rules in Australia, if you’re planning a road trip in a foreign country you should always do your research on the road rules in that jurisdiction beforehand in order to avoid unnecessary arrests and fines.
10. Take regular breaks
We know that we sound like a Canberra endorsed tv commercial, however, this is key. Driving tired is a killer, and you should take a break every two hours at a minimum. If you’re traveling in a group, take turns driving so that one person doesn’t carry the burden.
Our bonus road trip tips are to have fun, enjoy the open road and the freedom that it brings with it!