Top Tips for Planning a Long Road Trip
Lengthy road trips are an Australian tradition, whether you’re travelling across the dusty heart of the continent, or doing the old well-worn childhood holiday trip between Melbourne and the Gold Coast. It’s not just about the destination, either − it’s all about the journey, and what you see along the way.
As you travel along the wide highways out of town, you can feel all the city life tensions falling away. Traffic, what traffic? You’re out on the open road now, and nothing can stop you. Blue skies, roadside eucalypts and open fields greet you like long lost friends. Small towns with rusty welcome signs mark your progress in kilometres. You feel like an explorer as you make your way into new terrain. You’re living the dream.
But sometimes the dream can get a bit nightmarish without the right preparation. The last thing you want is stress on a long road trip. For this reason, we’ve prepared a list of top tips for planning a long road trip to help prevent stress. Have a read through and make a note of anything useful before you start planning your next trip.
Tip 1. Get Out Your Maps
We all know that everyone uses a GPS these days. But what if it cuts out while you’re on the road? If this happens, you’ll want to have some relevant maps on hand just in case. Make sure the maps are all up to date, as an out of date map is about as much use as a soggy piece of bread when it comes to telling you which way to turn at the next fork in the road.
So now you’ve got your new and up-to-date maps, highlight your route and plan the stops you’ll take along it. Estimate how long it should take for you to get to your final destination. If you can, align your rest stops with sightseeing opportunities so you’re not just walking around a petrol station convenience store to stretch your legs.
If you’re taking a long road trip that will involve driving for several days, make sure you carefully plan your accommodation and sleeping stops. Don’t drive for more than 10 hours a day, swap drivers half-way, and pre-book all overnight accommodation.
Tip 2. Pack Intentionally
Make a list for everything you need to take with you on your grand adventure. This is to prevent you from forgetting anything important as well as stopping you from bringing things along that aren’t so important and will just clutter up your vehicle.
There’s a trusted technique to packing cars for holidays, and we’re about to share it with you. Start with the big things first, like suitcases and boxed items, making sure to push these things against each other as far as they’ll go. Then fill in the gaps with small or squishier things like clothes in plastic bags or blankets. If you drive a wagon or SUV, ensure you leave enough space so that you can still see out the back of the car with ease.
Keep frequently used items such as shoes, coats, blankets, toys and snacks in places where they can easily be retrieved. Some essentials for any long road trip include an emergency numbers list, snacks, first aid kit, torch, maps, toilet paper, water, USB mobile charger, jumper cables, tyre pressure gauge, duct tape and matches.
Tip 3. Check Your Car’s Condition
One of the most common things to go wrong when people are on the road is a car fault. Long road trips put more strain on your car, so mechanical failures can suddenly occur. The best thing to do is to give your car a once-over before you leave for your trip and check all the fundamentals. You might alternatively like to book in your car for a service. Here are some things to check on your car before you depart:
- Fluid levels − Check the brake, power steering, water, clutch, transmission, coolant and engine oil fluids to make sure they aren’t running low.
- Coolant hoses − Have a look at the condition of your coolant hoses to make sure there are no leaks. If you’re planning a trip to the outback, it can’t hurt to throw in a spare radiator hose into the back of the car.
- Tyre pressure − Make sure all your tyres are inflated to the correct levels, including the spare tyre. An over or under inflated tyre can be equally dangerous, so avoid either scenario.
- Tyre tread − Check if you still have enough tread on all your tyres by finding the tread indication bars around the tyre and using them as a guide. You should also look at the tyre condition more generally as well.
- Belts − Have a look at the tension of your belts and make sure there’s no evidence of tearing or loosening.
- Lights − Check all your lights to ensure that they’re all working correctly – don’t forget to check indicators and high beam lights too
- Spare keys − Bringing a set of spare keys could be a lifesaver if you lose your current set.
- Roadside assistance − Check that your roadside assistance membership is all paid and up to date in case you do need help while on the road.
Get Your Tyres Checked with St Georges Tyres
Here at St Georges Tyres, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality tyres possible at the lowest prices. If you want your tyres checked before you hit the road, visit us today. In the case that your tyres do need changing, we can provide tyres that are reliable, long-lasting and high-quality. Give us a call today on (02) 9567 4999.