As Aussies, road trips are pretty much in our blood. This wide brown land of ours calls loudly with the possibility of adventures, of wilderness. Our thousands of picturesque beaches offer enough new sands to fill a lifetime. And our network of generally well maintained highways mean that, for many of us, the thrill of another road trip is regularly brewing. Once you’ve got a taste for it, you’ll always find yourself pulled back.
But what if you haven’t really road tripped yet? Or maybe it was so long ago that everything’s changed? Here’s a quick list of eight things to think about before you head off on your next (or maybe first!) big road trip adventure:
- Your car
Obviously! You’re not going to get very far without a vehicle that’s running well! Make sure your car is serviced to perfection before you leave. Double check things like brake lights, coolant fluid, oil levels, drive belts, battery, and dash warning lights.
- Other things attached to your car
Are you towing a trailer? A campervan perhaps? Or a boat? If you are, is your towbar properly installed and up to the task? (We’re experts in towbar fitting, contact us to get yours fitted or checked over.) Have you practiced general driving and more specific maneuvering with your trailer, camper, or boat attached? (Click here for some tips on reversing with a trailer if this is new for you.)
- Spare parts
Depending on where you’re driving, what you’re driving, and when you’re driving, there are a range of spare parts that will save you a whole lot of time and hassle if you carry them yourself and know how to fit them.
As an example, Supercheap Auto offer the following suggestions as a starting point: Radiator hoses and belts, water (for you and the car), fuses, electrical tape, small amount of electrical wire, good quality torch, tow strap, basic tools including an adjustable wrench, straight blade and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a pair of pliers, and a first aid kit.
- Insurance/roadside assistance
In the excitement of dreaming about the open road, this is one of those small details that might fall through the cracks. Check your insurance – are there any quirky clauses that define areas or situations you’re not insured to drive in? This is doubly important if you’re hiring a vehicle at any point. Refresh yourself on who’s insured to drive. And if you don’t have roadside assistance cover, maybe it’s time to consider it. (Or upgrade it if you’re going far off the beaten track – towing can be hugely expensive!)
- Mobile Reception
You might be one of those people who’s excited about being uncontactable… But it’s not that great when you’re relying on your phone’s GPS for navigation, or you have to contact your next accommodation point for check-in details and directions. A simple check of your provider’s coverage will let you know if you’re likely to hit any problems here.
Whether you’ve got a tight deadline, or your trip is open ended, timing is still something to consider regularly. Transport authorities recommend stopping and refreshing after every two hours of driving – are you factoring this into your plans? If you’re arriving at an unknown destination, have you allowed enough time so that you can arrive in daylight? Trying to find an obscure property in the middle of the night in a rural area with no reception can seriously mess with your sense of calm!
This one is really tied in with timing, because, as all the warning signs tell us ‘Tired drivers die.’ And, even before that, road trips are supposed to be fun, not grumpy, short tempered, over tired marathons. Invest in quality sleep while you’re travelling – If you’re sleeping in your vehicle, trial it before you leave on a big trip. What looks comfortable at a glance may require some solid modifications before it works for you.
- Food and other suppliesFood, glorious food! Great when you’ve got easy access to it, not so great when you discover you’re 200km from the nearest supermarket and all you’ve got left is baked beans! Plan your supply storage and stops well. Remember that fresh fruit and vegetables can be in limited supply in places such as small outback towns. Factor in the potential of long days in the car – What do you need to make sure your food lasts? Oh, and if you’re going off the beaten track, make sure you have all the personal hygiene supplies you need with you!
Here are Mobile Towbar Fitting, we’re road trip enthusiasts, and we’d love to get you started on your next big road trip adventure! We fit all types of towbars and can also help you make sure your trailer is properly connected and ready to go! Get in touch to take that next step closer to being out on the open road!
Image source code: Caleb Whiting