Everyone should undertake a few amazing road trips in their lifetime. It’s a relatively cheap way to take in the sights, spend time with good friends, make memories and feel like a real explorer. Where you choose to stop along the way is completely up to you, so there’s a genuine feeling of freedom and adventure! If this sounds right up your alley, then here a few tips and tricks to help you plan, pack for and have loads of fun on your road trip!
Planning your road trip:
Obviously the amount of time you have available and if you have a specific destination in mind or not are major factors in how you plan your trip. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not leaving wriggle room for unexpected delays or those times when you stumble across an attraction along the way that you’d really like to see. Make allowance for this by putting a hefty safety margin onto the distance you intend to travel each day. The anticipated travel time you get from Google Maps tends to be the best case scenario, so avoid potential panic stations by adding an hour or two, or even allowing for just half a day’s driving every now and then so you have a chance to relax on solid ground.
Your biggest asset on the trip is your car, so you want to make sure it’s in tip top shape. Make sure you have a full service before you're set to depart, and advise the mechanic of the journey you're about to take so they can highlight any potential issues that a long journey might bring up. Whether you're planning a road trip or not, having a motor service plan is always a great idea. These usually cover the costs of replacing spark plugs, air and petrol filters, brake fluid, engine oil and the like, and can free up a lot of extra cash for enjoying the trip itself! Make sure you check the spare tire as well as the current ones too.
Who’s going to be doing most of the driving is another factor to consider. If you're planning a really long journey and only have one driver, you’ll need to include a rest day here and there. During shorter stretches, it’s generally recommended that the driver pulls over for a break every two hours or so. The best road trips, of course, include loads of interesting sights along the way. The journey is the adventure here, so you should be stopping frequently in any case!
What to pack:
While we all know we should take lots of drinking water along, it’s surprising how often we forget to! Have your most organized party member start a list of items that need to go with you while you're still in the planning stages. One thing’s for sure, and that’s you're going to end up with more luggage than you intended! Try and prioritize items as you're going along so you know what can be left behind if you really need to.
Where you're going to stop for food is also critical to planning what you need to pack. You don’t want to end up living only on junk food from gas stations, so plan to have at least one proper sit-down meal each day, even if it’s a roadside picnic packed the night before. Buy and prepare snacks beforehand to save money and provide yourself with some healthier options.
If you're lucky enough to be traveling along the coast, you’ll need to pack the necessary beach gear like hats and sun screen too. It’s always a good idea to have at least a basic first aid kit with you. Make sure each member of the group has emergency contact numbers on their phone just in case.
Try and use soft duffle bags to pack clothing and toiletries as they’re a lot easier to manipulate into tight spaces than hard travel luggage. Have a small, easy to grab overnight bag with your basic essentials like your phone and wallet in that can be stashed under one of the car seats. We all depend on our phone and gadgets for navigation and local information, so make sure you have a few chargers packed too!
Take it easy:
A road trip is all about enjoying every leg of your journey; so take it slow and don’t feel the need to make every stop in perfect time. Relax, put on some epic tunes, enjoy the wind in your hair – and who knows what you might find around the next corner?