Planning on hitting the road for an adventure? Whether you’re heading faraway to tick a spot of the bucket list or you’re travelling somewhere local, everyone loves a good road trip. That feeling of freedom, the thrill of uncertainty and exploring the great Australian outback is something we can all benefit from. There’s no question about it, road trips are awesome!
Before you get behind the wheel though, there are some vital preparations to get you and your car ready for the ride. Whilst it’s good to have a level of spontaneity for road trips, it’s important your vehicle is equipped for a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here’s how to make sure you (and your vehicle) make the distance:
Create the Right Soundtrack
Sweet tunes are an essential ingredient for any great road trip- especially if it’s going to be a long one. Kick it old school with your favourite CDs or create playlists to get the adventure going. Depending on where your road tripping to, you can match the perfect soundtrack album to the trip for the ultimate vibe. Music apps, like Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music are great tools for building designated road trip playlists and give you access to multiple radio stations to stream from too.
If you’re bringing the kids along, it’s worthwhile grabbing some other forms of media entertainment too. Keep them entertained in the car with games and movies they can watch. Don’t forget to bring the chargers to power equipment through the car engine or battery.
Get Your Air Con Cool
The best kind of road trips are comfortable and fun. If you’re travelling in summer or road tripping to a location that’s going to be on the warmer side, make sure you check your air con prior to the adventure. Car air conditioning needs to be re-gassed every 1-2 years. Whilst it’s certainly nice road tripping with the windows down and the cool air on your face, travelling long distances definitely crave a little sense of luxury too.
To encourage a safe journey, it’s vital to double check all the safety requirements of your car. Brake fluid, transmission fluids, coolant, water and engine oil should all be topped up before you leave. If you haven’t had your car serviced for a while, it may be a good idea to book one in before your trip.
Check your tyres for proper air pressure, punctures and tread wear, and make sure your spare tyre is intact and ready to go if you do get a flat. Ensure all the lights work, including brake lights and indicators. If you have car insurance, bring your member card along if you qualify for roadside assistance just in case you do get stuck.
Make a Road Trip Plan, but not a Rigid One
One of the biggest killers on our roads is fatigue. By a little preplanning, you can minimise the risks of driving tired. Every great road trip must have its own impulsiveness and freedom to cater for adventure changes. But it doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t take advantage of things like Google Maps to get an idea of timing and the route you’re going to be taking. It doesn’t need to be exact, but have a basic route worked out that’ll still give you room for unexpected turns and those “I wonder what’s down here” moments.
Plan adequate stops along the way so you’re only driving for a maximum of four hours each day. If you’re road tripping to entirely new location, it may be worthwhile having a hard copy of a map too – especially for locations where reception is bound to cut out.
Overloading your car won’t just affect its fuel economy, but it can be a safety hazard on the roads. Every vehicle has a load rate and a towing capacity – make sure you check these prior to the trip (inside the driver’s door or manual). You want to pack everything required for a comfortable and fun trip, but over-packing reduces the effectiveness of your breaks and increases the risk of a flat tyre.
If you’re planning on outback adventures, like water sports, camping and fishing, bring the right rig for the road to cater for all the essentials. The type of vehicle to take depends on your destination, road trip type (if you’re driving off-road) and how many people are travelling.
Grab an Emergency Kit
This should include extra engine oil, a torch, batteries, first aid kit, phone charger, a basic set of tools, jumper cables, tyre changing kit and water – both for the car and drinking. Having a spare key on your road trip is ideal too. Accidentally locking your keys in the car or misplacing them is an all-too-common event that can happen to anyone of us!
Road trips are a fun and spontaneous way to live a little and see what this beautiful country has to offer. Most of all, after you’ve gone through the essential preparation tips and you’re ready to go – have fun!