Planning a Road Trip is one of the most exciting things to do! What then, could be even more exciting is the road trip itself! I say ‘could’ because it all depends on how you plan.
I’ve been lucky enough to go on proper road trips in both the UK and Australia, and I’ve learnt some tips along the way that I’d like to share with you today.
1. Check Local Laws if Travelling Abroad
If you are going on a road trip abroad, not only is it important to check your driving license is valid in the county you are visiting, it is advisable to check out their driving laws too. Not every country is the same and you don’t want to risk a hefty fine if you’re caught out!
For example, in Australia, it is illegal to park facing oncoming traffic. Apparently, it is also against the law in the UK, but they are much more strict in Australia and you’ll soon find out the hard way should you choose to ignore that rule among many others!
2. Sightseeing Hot Spots
Where do you want to go? Let me give you an insight into what our Google Maps looks like for Australia.
‘How did we find 250 places for our road trip?’ here are a few of the places we got inspiration from for our spots:
- Travel Bloggers on Instagram
- Pinterest Travel Guides
- Atlas Obscura – I’d completely forgotten that this website existed!
- Browsing Google Maps!
3. Plan the Route
Now that you’ve planned the stops you’d like to go to start refining your road trip with some key stops! Make sure you download Offline Maps for where you’re travelling on Google. This isn’t a recommendation it’s a requirement unless you’re planning on buying paper maps. Your pinned places will be there for when your internet isn’t (which is more often than you think)!
4. Food for your Road Trip
Fuelling your body for the road trip completely depends on how you’re funding it. If you have mega dollars in your bank you might choose to opt for a more luxurious lifestyle. In this blog post, we’re going to pretend you’re broke.
When we’re on the road we like to stock up on tinned goods. You never know when there’s going to be a large gap between shops, prices can rise rapidly when you’re in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared to ration!
Our supermarket of choice on the road is always Aldi and before setting off to Australia we were constantly told how much more expensive it was. In fact, it’s really not as bad as it seems! I’ve done a comparison with Tesco and Aussie Aldi and there was a price difference of about 50 pence.
5. Pick a Travel Buddy
Whether you’re travelling as a couple or with friends make sure you’re going to get along with them on the road trip, otherwise, you’ll get yourself into a bit of a pickle.
Alternatively, if you’re travelling solo it could be possible to pick up a travel buddy on the way. You have to be very careful with this one, though I’ve never done it, I’ve seen people online who have. Since joining Facebook Groups for Backpackers there have been a lot of people advertising to fill a space in their car along with advertisements for travel convoys (cars travelling together) which I would assume would be the safer option!
Regardless of who you decide to embark on your next adventure with, always do your due diligence, ensure your partner/s are trustworthy, have enough funding for their part of the trip and always make sure to keep friends or family updated with your whereabouts and route plan.
I strongly advise getting a subscription to your favourite Music app (i.e. Spotify/Deezer). We like to bulk download plenty of songs for the road with a large variety in genres. There really is nothing worse than listening to the same songs over and over again!
We learnt that the hard way when we stayed in a remote cabin in Wales!
Alongside music, it’s also important to keep yourself entertained when you don’t have internet. There are some great couple’s quizzes online that are worth downloading, or you could try your hand at making your own.
When we were in Augusta, WA, I picked up a free newspaper that had its very own quiz in it! There were about 60 questions so we split them up. I loved it and I always make sure to pick up a free paper from everywhere I go!
8. Choose your Vehicle
We have only ever bought, not rented, our own vehicle as we feel that this is financially the best option for us. Technically you’re just paying for petrol because you’ll get money back at the end! However, we have a base here in Australia like we did in the UK. In Australia, the purchase of a vehicle requires a residential address, most if not all hostels will allow you to use their address not only for vehicles but also multiple other important documents like; medicare (reciprocal health agreement countries only), TFN, banking, etc. I don’t know the rules in other countries so I’d advise that you check before heading out!
If you are going on a road trip for a short while, I would suggest finding popular rental companies for your country of choice. There are some great camper rentals out there too!
9. Budget for Fuel
Liam is the best at budgeting for fuel and this one wouldn’t even be on the list if he didn’t send me the plan for our road trip last night! Find out how many litres your fuel tank takes and the distance in which a full tank will last you. Use that to work out how much fuel you will need for your trip and add on a bit more just to be on the safe side! Chances are you’re probably going to go off track at some point and the cost of fuel will go up in remote areas.
10. Where are you going to sleep on this Road Trip?
Are you going to camp or are you staying in hostels? In some countries, it is illegal to wild camp so it’s important to do some thorough research. There is nothing worse than getting a knock on the door in the middle of the night from an unhappy ranger.
We like to camp with our rooftop tent and luckily there are designated places across Australia that allow you to stay over for a set period of time. I believe this spot pictured above was 48 hours, there were toilets and showers provided, although not all have these luxuries. We also opted to stay at paid campsites along our route to ensure we had access to hot showers, laundry facilities, and a much more comfortable night’s sleep in most cases.
How To Find Camping Spots
It takes a lot of research to find the perfect spot for camping on a road trip. You can find places like these on apps such as;
- WikiCamps (AU)
- Camper Mate (AU)
- Park4Night (UK favourite but also works abroad)
- Pitch Up (UK-Based Campsite Finder)
- Google Maps Again! We find that if you type in ‘rest stop’ there may be reviews stating whether you are able to camp. If you find a spot, regardless of the reviews, always Google it just to make sure.
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