Tips for a Long Distance Road Trip

By on December 30, 2014

If you’re planning a long distance road trip that is going to take you through remote areas here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Work out where to stop for fuel – do the maths

If your road trip is taking you through remote areas you’ll need to plan out where you’re going to stop for fuel. Find out how many miles/kilometres per gallon/litre your vehicle does and work out how far you think a full tank can get you. By doing this you can easily work out where you should stop for fuel. I find Google maps handy for this as you can use it to find out the distances between each town quite easily; this should help you work out where is best to fill up. Just don’t rely on Google Maps for everything and always give yourself some leeway in case you want to make a detour.  Personally, I think you can’t beat a good old-fashioned map. Just in case, you should bring a jerry can along with you too, just don’t forget the funnel!

2. Take turns driving

It’s important to share the driving load so that everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery. One person could drive in the mornings and another drive in the afternoons. If one person can’t drive or doesn’t have a valid license for the country you’re in, you could come to some agreement and have them cook, navigate or wash and clean out the vehicle afterwards if it’s a rental.

3. Figure out where to stay

It can be fun to just stop off somewhere random and decide to spend the night there, but it is worth checking a few places out before hand or even booking a place to stay. We once drove over 1800 km from Adelaide to Roma in 2 days. When we got to Roma (a mining town in Queensland) everywhere was booked out for weeks. We didn’t realise that all of the miners that worked there stayed in the motels. We drove around the town half a dozen times before I noticed that one of the motels that had the “no vacancies” sign lit now had the “vacancies” sign lit. Luckily enough we got a last-minute cancellation. If we hadn’t we would have had to sleep upright in a van that didn’t have reclining seats. Not fun when you have to make the return trip back the next day.

4. Bring water

You will probably read this in most articles about long distance road trips, but its importance cannot be stressed enough. Bringing plenty of water is vital, not just for you but also for your vehicle – windscreens can get dusty and radiators may need to be topped up. Make sure you keep your water out of direct sunlight and somewhere cool. It will last a lot longer.

Tips for a Long Distance Road Trip

5. Keep a rough schedule, but don’t over-plan

Over planning can be bad in a couple of ways. First of all, you don’t want to have to follow a rigid schedule when you’re supposed to be exploring. You want time to stop and smell the roses or to head off the beaten track (figuratively speaking of course, preferably you should stay on bitumen roads unless your car is equipped for off-roading. Trust me on this one!) You can’t make detours if you schedule every little thing. Second of all, thinking you have everything planned out and taken care of could make you complacent and you could fail to see other problems that would have never occurred to you until you hit the road; like, for instance, breaking down (from not staying on the bitumen as mentioned earlier) and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.

6. Check if your network provider covers you in remote areas

If you’re in Australia and plan on taking a road trip to somewhere remote it’s best to go with Telstra or Optus (I would recommend Telstra, however don’t bother with them if you’re staying in a city as they don’t have the best deals.) It would be even better to get an antenna that plugs into your phone to give you an even better mobile reception, but that’ll cost ya!

7. Buy an adapter for your MP3/iPod that tunes into your radio

I think we can all agree that iPods are a must-have travel essential nowadays. These adapters are great when driving through remote areas where you can’t pick radio stations. They actually work better in remote areas because there’s no interference from other radio stations. It’s also great because everyone can bring their own music with them and take turns playing their favourite tunes. Best of all, you can pick them up pretty cheaply, probably for about 25 euro.

8. Expect the unexpected

Sometimes roads can close, an event could cause major traffic or an animal could wander out in front of you, like the wild horses that decided to wander out in front of us on the Stuart Highway (see below). Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

9. Take a break

Remember to rest now and again. Take time to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You should give your mind a break too and by that I mean do something to stimulate it, like read a newspaper or do a crossword puzzle. This will actually be a welcome break if you are driving through endless stretches of highway with very little interesting scenery.

10. And lastly, bring Sunglasses

Even if you’re not going to be driving this is essential, and something I almost always forget! Sitting in a car for hours on a really sunny day with no shades isn’t much fun. My eyes are stinging just thinking about it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *