This Christmas we ended up taking an unexpected drive to Townsville. From Brisbane, that's a 2,600km round trip.
In my childhood, my parents often took us on long camping holidays, so I'm no stranger to 8-10hr days in the car. And in those days, there was no air conditioning! We drove so many places, I was lucky to see so much of this amazing country.
As a road trip veteran, I immediately took steps to make this holiday drive as comfortable and cheap as possible. Here's my best tips for long car trips - sans children, anyway.
- plan your route using online road condition information. In Qld for example, there is still a lot of flood recovery roadwork happening, which adds to your travel time.
- pack lunch, drinks and snacks. Seriously, this will save you so much in servo food. At least $50 a day for us, I estimate. Fill a thermos with hot water and take coffee, tea and milk for a cuppa on the road. Pack the esky full of ice and get cheap drinks from the supermarket if you prefer something cold. Carry plenty of water, no matter where you're headed.
- make frequent stops; every two hours is recommended. Pull out a sandwich and have a cup of tea from your thermos. Admire the scenery at one of Australia's many lovely roadside parks or rest stops. OR take advantage of our fabulous network of Driver Reviver stops. You can get road/traffic info from a local while you're getting a free cuppa!
- check your tyre pressure at your first fuel stop. Properly inflated tyres will give you better fuel economy.
- if someone is in the back, a pillow is a great idea for any long trip.
- think about music. I cannot stress this enough. Take as much music as possible. We now take not only a big box of CDs, but an adapter cord that allows playback of our iTunes libraries from our phones through the radio.
- get a phone charger adapter for the cigerette lighter if you don't want to arrive with less than 20% battery.
- keep your camera in the car with you. You never know when something awesome will appear to take a photo of! If it's in the boot, you might miss capturing that animal/sunset/mountain view.
- wear comfy and non-restrictive clothes, and slip-on shoes. You'll thank your past self at the end of the long day.
- if driving at dawn, dusk or at night, keep a sharp lookout for wildlife, particularly kangaroos.
And most of all - embrace the experience and have fun! A lot of people don't get to see much of this beautiful country of ours so you are privileged!
Got any other goo road trip tips for me?