Summer is here and the Christmas holidays are coming quicker than you can say Santa! It’s a great time to get away and go on a road trip to explore new areas and catch up with friends and family along the way. While many road trips can leave you with happy memories, others are memorable for all the wrong reasons.
To help avoid a road trip you’d rather forget, here are a few tips to assist with planning your next adventure.
Check your wheels
Now’s a great time to book your car in for that service you’ve been putting off. Or, if you haven’t got time, give your car a thorough once (or twice!) over yourself. Check your tyres, coolant, water, lights, oil, and look for cracks in hoses. Make sure your spare tyre is in good condition, and check you have a jack. You should also check the tyre pressure of your wheels, as well as a caravan or trailer if you’re taking one.
Plan your journey
To avoid family arguments, don’t rely solely on one person to navigate. A well planned journey means you’ll be less stressed when you arrive at your destination. Even if you have a sat nav, use websites like Google Maps, or even a good old fashioned map to work out distances and estimated times. However, allow for extra travelling time if you’re towing a caravan or trailer, and factor in busy roads due to the holiday season (plus any urgent detours to find a toilet!).
How’s the weather looking?
Travelling in stiflingly hot temperatures isn’t comfortable at the best of times, let alone on long journeys (and especially with grumpy kids in the backseat!). Heat can affect your car too. Check the weather forecast a couple of days before you leave and plan accordingly. For instance if it’s going to be hot, consider leaving early and take an extended break in the main heat of the day (you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with an overheated car).
What to pack
Packing a map or GPS, and taking enough food and water with you may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people forget these essential items. You should also make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and pop a torch and a first-aid kit in the car. Spare fuel is a must if you’re off-roading. Music or a portable DVD player will be invaluable, particularly if you are travelling with kids! As for everything else, try to pack light and smart. It’s best to pack the heaviest items low down, and try to secure the items on the top in case you have to stop suddenly.
Even new cars have been known to break down in the most inconvenient of places, so no matter how good your car is, make sure you plan for the unexpected by ensuring you have roadside assistance and your car insurance policy is up-to-date. It’s also worth giving your itinerary to friends and family, or at least letting them know where you are every few hours!
Finally, once you’re on the road, enjoy the ride! Road safety experts recommend you take a break every two hours and be aware of new speed limits and food restrictions if you travel into a different state or territory.