Summer road trip tips
ARE WE THERE YET?
One moving car. Multiple miles. Passengers sardine-squished into the back seat. Sound like a recipe for road-trip disaster? Not necessarily. Here’s how to transform a potentially tedious car ride into a smoothly-rolling adventure.
B is for before you go
Get your vehicle road-ready by checking your WOF and rego are up to date and doing general maintenance like oil changes, tune ups, and battery and tyre pressure/tyre tread checks. If you don’t already have it, State Roadside Rescue is a super smart idea. It’ll come to your rescue if you run out of petrol, get a flat battery or tyre, break down or get locked out. And Roadside Rescue covers the car not the driver, so it doesn’t matter who’s behind the wheel. Check road and traffic conditions for any significant delays before you head off. Perhaps you may need to find an alternative route or delay your travel for a bit until it’s cleared.
C is for comfort
If you’re travelling with kids, get them ready for a road trip the same way you’d get them ready for a long haul flight – with comfort and ease at the top of the priority list. Make sure everyone’s in comfy clothes and footwear that isn’t too tricky to take off. For evening road trips, think about including a few blankets or pillows in case anyone needs a nap. Even if there are no kids on board, remember to swap out driving duties if possible so you can rest too.
E is for emergencies
Here are a few must-haves that can help you out of a sticky spot:
- The Glove Box First Aid Kit is packed with almost everything you need to deal with minor incidents. Just add in a pack of painkillers and you’ll be sweet.
- You don’t have to be lost in the alps of Switzerland to find a use for a Swiss Army Knife. Buy your own, or a handy multi-tool like this and you’ll be cutting, slicing and rewiring like MacGyver.
- Stock up with snacks in case you’re caught out. And make sure you have enough water on board too.
G is for game face
Playing games during long rides can be a fun way to keep the whole car entertained. The only real limit to road trip games is imagination, so here’s a few crowd pleasers to spark your creativity:
- Curious quizzes – Think up some funny incentives or grab a bag of treats as prizes and kick off an in-car general knowledge quiz. You can tailor car quizzes to any age group with questions from “what sound does a cat make?” to “what’s the capital of Canada?” and everything in between.
- ‘Who am I?’ – Pick a category like ‘animals’, ‘fruit’ or ‘movie characters’ and get the whole car to guess what you’ve chosen from a set of clues. “I’m small, cats chase me and I like cheese” could be clues for a mouse while “a wizard with a scar like a lightning bolt” could be Harry Potter.
P is for pit stops
- Plan your route before you leave and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding when and where you’ll be stopping.
- If you have young children, try to punctuate your trip with food and bathroom stops. It’ll give them a chance to stretch their legs and you’ll minimise disputes in the backseat.
- As a rule of thumb, imagine how long the trip would take you to make on your own and add a couple of hours. That way you’ll leave room for unexpected detours, slow starts and maybe even the odd playground pit stop if they’re in need of a run around.
T is for technology
- If you own a tablet, buy a sturdy mount for the back of your front head rest so you can play movies or shows on the way to your destination. This is especially handy if you have pint-sized passengers.
- Before you leave, check what the weather’s doing with the Weather Forecast app so you know what conditions you’ll be driving into – or what to avoid altogether.
- Put your phone in the glovebox to avoid distractions while you’re driving, or better yet turn it off or switch to do not disturb mode.
- If you need directions, pull over or get one of your passengers to search for you. Or better still, download routes from Google Maps before you leave, so even if there’s an internet fail you’ll still know where to go.
- When you’ve stopped, CamperMate dishes up directions to the nearest public toilets and also points you to free WiFi spots, supermarkets, rubbish bins and more.