Hitting the road for the adventure of a lifetime? Whether you’re visiting faraway friends or ticking a famous attraction off your bucket list, road trips are a great way to travel. Driving to your destination allows you to see more along the way, and it can also save you a pretty penny on flights.
Before you get behind the wheel, be prepared for a safe and enjoyable road trip with these important tips. Because it’s not just about getting those #travel snaps for Instagram.
Check Your Vehicle
The most important factor of your road trip? No, it’s not a playlist filled with bangers (although this is a close second). The top priority for a road trip is to have a reliable car that can safely get you where you want to go.
They say getting there is half the fun, but breaking down on your way is sure to put a dampener on your holiday spirit. Make sure your car is up to scratch with these steps.
Get a Service
Schedule your vehicle in for a service to have professionals perform basic maintenance and check-ups. They’ll check the fluids, wipers, tyres, battery, brake pads, and other mechanic-y stuff – perfect for peace of mind if you’re not really a car person.
It’s all well and good to have a spare tyre, a jack, and some tools in the boot, but would you be confident to change a tyre in the unfortunate event of a flat? Brush up on your tyre-changing skills with an online tutorial.
Before you go packing that second esky, check your vehicle’s weight restrictions. This should be on the door placard inside the driver’s door jam. Over-packing can affect your car’s fuel economy, reduce the effectiveness of your brakes, and increase the risk of a flat tyre. It’s not safe, so don’t risk it. Plus, packing light means you’ll have room for souvenirs. Did somebody say multiple keyrings?
Map It Out
Sure, just driving and seeing where the road takes you is so wild and free, but it’s also pretty darn silly. Plan a rough route on a map or Google Maps. Be sure to note facilities like petrol stations, toilets, and even nearby hospitals along the way.
If you’re going with someone, it’s important to decide how you’ll break up the trip and divvy up the driving before you take off.
- Will you be staying overnight at stops along the way, or would you prefer to slog out the kilometres and get to your destination sooner?
- Will you swap drivers after a few hours, and just wait until someone gets tired?
- Will you be having peanut M&Ms or regular M&Ms?
These are the important questions to tackle before you start your road trip.
Top tip: Share your plans with a friend or family member so someone has an idea of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.
Plan for Emergencies
Here’s the stuff you should have on hand for any long trip:
- First-aid kit – Band-Aids, bandages and gauze pads, tweezers, antibiotic and antiseptic creams, saline solution, etc.
- Torch and batteries – Ever tried changing a tyre in the dark? Plus, it’s fun for ghost stories.
- Blanket – Comes in handy when it’s your turn to take the passenger seat and have a snooze.
- Water – Like, a lot. This could literally be the difference between life and death in an emergency.
- Food – Yes, you can go ahead and pack the donuts and Cheetos, but be sure to include some non-perishable items like baked beans, just in case.
- Flares – These will allow you to signal for help if you get lost or break down in a remote area.
- And these kinds of flares too. (Just kidding.)
Of course, if you have any medical conditions or allergies, be sure to pack plenty of the necessary medication.
Have Some Heckin’ Fun
Road trips can be exciting, but they can also get pretty boring if you’re not prepared. Make the most of your drive with these fun ideas to pass the time.
Play Some Games
As long as you’re not distracting (or provoking) the driver, these car games can keep the mood light on the road:
- The Number Plate Game – Make up a statement or question based on the letters on cars’ number plates. For example, a plate with letters YBS might become ‘yellow buses are slow’ or ‘your breath smells’. See! Fun! Right?
- Alphabet Categories – Pick a category like movies, actors or bands, and take turns naming things from that category in alphabetical order. For example, if your category is ‘dog breeds’, it would go a little something like this: Alaskan Malamute, Beagle, Corgi, Dachshund…
- 21 Questions – OK, not super original, but there’s a reason this classic car game is sticking around.
Make a Playlist
Whether you’re playing DJ on Spotify or burning some CDs for the occasion, music is a must for long car trips. These are some of our favourite songs for road trips:
- Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane
- Let’s Drive – Shannon Noll
- Highway To Hell – ACDC
- Drive My Car – The Beatles
- Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean
- Mustang Sally – Sir Mack Rice
- Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads
- Little Red Corvette – Prince
- Truckin’ – Grateful Dead
- I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
Need some inspo for your next road trip? Check out these must-see Australian spots to add to your bucket list!