We all fantasise about it – the dusty, open road, endless big skies, and breathtaking vistas of sea, bush, and desert stretching out before us. Few trips garner more rustic romance then pouring gas in the tank (or charging up your hybrid) and setting off into the unknown, putting into a remote diner and drinking a refreshing pint before the sunset. There are myriad ways to make the most of a motor and a magnificent landscape (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is just one of them!) but whatever your style, the key is planning ahead so that when the lure of spontaneity occurs, you’re ready to answer the call (ironic, but true).
…and record them. Bring a journal, a video recorder, and a camera. Look for the unique and seek out the unusual, find ways to capture landmarks in a new light, and always be ready to capture that perfect shot. There are many handy tips which avid photographers – both professional and amateur – can use to make the most of the adventure, so make sure you get a feel for the location as well as using your equipment.
Pack Light, Bring Lots of Money
The lighter you pack, the freer you are. Don’t weigh down the car with non-essentials. Part of the allure of the road trip is roughing it. What you will want to bring in large quantities is water, extra fuel, and emergency supplies. Make sure you have a map, compass, a GPS if necessary, first aid kit, torch, blankets, and phone (although be aware you may not always have a signal). Safety is one area where you can’t cut back. As for everything else – prepare for blazingly sweaty days and cold nights if you’re hitting the Outback, and bring lots of insect repellent for the bush. Most importantly – bring good music. Travelling without tunes is like sailing without a ship.
Have Your Documentation with You
If you’re travelling from abroad, depending on the state you’ll be driving in (this is relevant to many countries as well as Australia), you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP). This will give you permission to drive freely through the country for a limited amount of time. These are highly recommended – even where some states do not require one (and your country of origin’s license will suffice) many vehicle rental companies require an IDP. If you are bringing your own car, make sure that it also has the appropriate documentation, that it does not violate any vehicular requirements, and that it has adequate coverage. Make sure that you have a secure compartment for storing passports, visas, and any other forms of identification that will be travelling with you, and when staying overnight in a hotel or camp site, bring these with you. Have a list of numbers available should any of these documents go missing, as well the case of an incident.
Take a Peek at the Calendar
Road trippers will consider many different factors before choosing a time to travel as well as location. What is the weather/climate/season like? Will scaling tough terrain in hot weather be a challenge and drain on resources? What about colder seasons and road conditions in the mountains? There is also tourist season and holidays to consider, which generate busier streets and sometimes higher prices at retail, entertainment and tourism venues. Perhaps that is what you are seeking – an arts festival in Melbourne, or a sci-fi convention in Sydney. Perhaps your itinerary is on a time-constraint and you have a limited time in which to travel, but it’s still worth looking at what is going in the regions you’re trekking through.
Take time away from the car and give yourself a chance to get to know places, whether it’s enjoying a sultry mocha at a tranquil beachside cafe, or venturing off into the bush to a mountainside retreat; pull off onto a side road, embrace impromptu stargazes and music jams; go hang gliding; stop by the surprising poetry slam around the corner; watch the local rugby team; sample the world’s finest wines from an independent vineyard. It’s not all about road signs and asphalt, but the people and places you connect to on the way. Bon voyage!
This is an article sent in by Sally Heyes