That travel itch has become just unbearable, and with the weather being so damn perfect, you can finally kickstart your own travel plans, full speed ahead! Whether you’re craving to see the natural wealth right next-door your hometown, you want a week away with your besties exploring a vibrant city, or you want to see faraway wilderness – nothing beats a car ride into the unknown!
Before you do embark on your newly-envisioned journey, you need to make sure that you have everything you need for a safe and comfy trip. Let’s take a look at every travel gal’s essentials to take into consideration before you kick your car in gear.
Do your homework
A certain level of flexibility and spontaneity is always welcome, especially when you come across a local who tips you off to the best waffles in town. However, making sure you “scout” the area online before you actually hit the road is crucial in allowing you to organize your time and know where you can stay, or how much you’ll need to spend for each of your desired stops.
In all honesty, I never would have made the most of my trip to the Uluru had I not planned out the key stops. You can use a wide range of apps and planning software to mark each place you’d like to visit, and of course, as a matter of precaution, leave your planned itinerary with someone back home. That way, if anything goes awry with your car, finances, or anything else, you’ll have someone on speed-dial who knows precisely where to find you.
Ah, every gal’s worst nightmare – the packing ritual! While some of you might have mastered the art of packing practically, it has taken me ages to find my own reliable method. Once you determine where you want to go, and research what sort of weather you can expect, you’ll know about 80% of your packing list – will it be a swimsuit or hiking boots? Or both? Will you need a satellite phone?
However, every road trip has its own essentials. Make sure you bring practical, comfy clothes that come in layers because it’s easy to overestimate yourself and end up with a very uncomfortable camping experience. From sunscreen, chargers, extra socks, waterproof jackets, and your emergency kit, double-check your packing list with your friends before you step on the gas pedal.
Ensure a safe ride
Trust me, one day is not enough to have a look at your car, see that all is in good working order, and simply head to your destination of choice. In fact, as soon as you start planning your adventure, whether you’re traveling alone or with someone, make sure that you take the time to prep your car as well.
More often than not, I’m very busy with work during the weeks before my road trip, so I prefer to find a mobile mechanic in Sydney who will come to my home and make sure that my car is ready. No matter how well I know my own car, a professional is always better at spotting potential weaknesses and a glitch waiting to happen.
Plan your budget
Unless you’re able to splurge, you should always consider creating a plan of your spending for your road trip. Even simple decisions such as where you’ll stay, how you’ll pay (cash or credit?), and what you’ll eat will determine if you’ll have enough to cover two extra days of road-tripping or have you running back home sooner.
Consider booking well in advance of your stay to get lower prices, and you can also save on gas when you check the prices in the region you’re going to. Affordable eats on the go may mean to prep some of your food in advance or look for canteens and local food stops where you can enjoy a delicious meal without a hefty price tag. You can even use a travel budget calculator to see if you’re all set for the journey and if you should consider making additional cuts.
Kick up the fun
What would a road trip be without a cheesy playlist, tasty snacks, and tons of games? The fact that you’ll have fun in the spots you wish to visit doesn’t mean that you should have any less fun during the hours you spend glued to your steering wheel.
I love bringing my Kindle with tons of books to read when we have to stay at a hotel or an apartment, and I already have a prepared CD with my favorite tunes for the long hours on the road. Another tip is to keep your camera (or phone) fully charged in order to snap plenty of photos and think of games you can play on the road.
No matter where you plan to go, every road trip boils down to a bit of planning, some budgeting, and tons of creativity to make the most of your time exploring the unknown!