5 Things to Keep in Mind Before Embarking on a Road Trip
Posted by: Lydia on 23/11/2020
It’s always easy to envision the fun of a road trip, but it can be harder to anticipate potential problems. This comes with the territory of taking any big trip, but when you’re driving, there are always extra elements to factor in.
Pulling off the perfect road trip requires proactive thinking before the journey begins to ensure that you get a fun-filled and drama-free experience. With this in mind, let's look at 5 things you should keep in mind before embarking on a road trip.
1. Coronavirus Restrictions
Right now, many Australian states are going back and forth with coronavirus border restrictions. One state may increase travel restrictions one week, while another loosens them the next week.
Ultimately, it’s expected that this turbulence will settle down, but in the meantime, it’s a good idea to factor in these variables when planning a trip. If travelling interstate, consider what you’d do if borders were closed and if there’s an alternative route you could take to continue your road trip without encountering the challenge of a border closure.
It’s also necessary to recognise this is a really great time for a road trip. In June 2020, it was estimated that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic would cost Australia $170 billion. A lot of businesses doing it tough are in retail and hospitality. So if you’ve got some time and cash spare, there’s a lot of Aussies out there who’d really welcome you stopping by for a meal or night’s accommodation at their business.
2. Different State Laws
All things being equal, Aussies can travel pretty freely and comfortably between our different states and territories. Some nations in the world, like the U.S., can have some considerably different laws from one state to the next that should be factored in if planning an overseas road trip in years ahead down the iconic Route 66. Broadly speaking, because Australia’s jurisdictions all joined together around the same time and there are fewer of them, it’s easier to find universal approaches to rules — but there are exceptions.
For example, it’s legal to buy and use fireworks in the Northern Territory on July 1, which can then be set off at night (during a particular window of time) in celebration of Territory Day. There’s no issue with buying fireworks that day and using them during the set timeframe that night. But if you carry on into another Australian jurisdiction with those fireworks (or fail to surrender any unused ones the next day in the NT as the law requires) you could land in hot water. So even though a rule-abiding road trip around Aus can be easily done with few headaches, it’s prudent to check local laws in advance to prevent anything spoiling your trip.
3. Electric Car Chargers
Electric car chargers are an increasingly common sight across Australian cities. Their presence is also growing in rural areas. This is fantastic news for anyone who owns an electric car and is keen on a road trip — but the keyword here is ‘growing’. Australia is a huge continent, and just as that makes exploring it so fun, it also means that there remain a number of areas without amenities like a charging station in close range.
For anyone driving a traditional petrol-powered vehicle travelling off the beaten track, some extra petrol in a canteen can solve a low-fuel issue. The same does not apply when it comes to electric cars — if you run out of juice, your vehicle won’t be going anywhere. So never presume, and be sure to double-check your route for charging stations if you’re road tripping in an electric.
4. The Safety Factor
Australia is a country with an abundance of dynamic, multicultural cities. We also like to envision ourselves as a friendly lot — that even during tough times, the sense of mateship and helping someone out in a pinch is the order of the day. This can indeed be the case across all of the nation. But it also cannot be forgotten that the great majority of our roads sit in vast, remote areas where there are few people and resources around.
This shouldn’t scare someone (more on that in a moment) off a road trip to somewhere remote, but it is necessary to take pause and really consider your goals versus your experience. After all, if you break down on a day trip just beyond a city’s outskirts, odds are good that a tow truck is less than one hour away. If you break down in a remote part of the country, you could be waiting much, much longer than one hour before help arrives.
5. The Unforgettable Opportunities
Road trips give you a great feeling of freedom and control over your holiday. There’s no prospect of hopping out of a commercial jet if you come across a particularly stunning beach while on a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. There’s no way you can pull a train to a stop when a postcard perfect scene in the countryside appears around the corner. But you can do these things on a road trip.
Sometimes this can mean it takes more work upfront to organise a great journey. There can also be challenges along the way — even the best-planned road trips can sometimes find a spanner is thrown into the works — but even these experiences can become great stories. And given your ability to take the wheel and define your route exactly as you like it, there’s the chance to actively seek out in your vehicle unforgettable opportunities that can be harder to get on other holidays.
Getting the Wheels in Motion
Taking a road trip can be a challenge. Even a short one requires you to get out of your local area, and step out of your comfort zone. But that’s exactly what can make a road trip so wonderful. So while it is important to prepare properly, you should also prepare to have a whole ton of fun.
Just remember good preparation for a road trip not only involves planning your journey, but ensuring your car and its tyres are in good shape to do so. Regular servicing with a mechanic will help guard against any issues arising, but if heading off on a substantial road trip a quick check-up with them can be wise. The same applies for your tyres, as the best way to prevent any problem arising on the open road is to be proactive, and ensure they get a good check-out before you start your drive.
What other things should be kept in mind before embarking on a road trip? Let us know in the comments below.