Try saying that quickly five times. Ten tips for top road trips ten tips for top road trips ten trips for hot road tips… Would you look at that? We’ve just come up with number one on our list!
Tongue twisters, counting different coloured cars, eye spy, 20 questions, it doesn’t matter how silly or serious the game is, the point is being distracted. It helps while the time away and keeps the carload engaged and entertained. My last road trip buddy didn’t like playing car games, which leads us to number two…
Choose wisely. They say that long trips can make or break a relationship. It’s a chance to get to really know each other and so you may as well make the most of the time. Sometimes we all need to practice a little patience and bite our tongues but it can be worth it and you may end up with friends for life! Road trips can also be opportunities to hang out with family or old friends and have a good catch up.
Stop for a coffee, a bite to eat, the loo, a siesta, to stretch, to surf, take photos. It’ll help keep the driver alert and break up the monotony for everyone. While frequent stops makes the trip longer, remember what Le Guinn once wrote: “It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
Watch out for wildlife!
Whether they’re roadrunners in Baja, kangaroos in Australia or cattle crossings in New Zealand, be aware. In Australia for example, big wildlife is more likely to pop out in front of you at dawn or dusk. Ask the locals what you should be peeling your eyes for, if anything at all.
Look after your car
Depending on how old your car is bear in mind the oil and water. Check the oil before you set off when the car is cold – once the car has warmed up the oil heats and expands, causing it to rise on the measurement stick (says my mechanic). It also pays to check the tyres as soft tyres make the car work harder and it will churn through more petrol. The good people at Car Rentals UK hooked us up with a rental recently and this is a great way to avoid wear, tear and maintenance on your own vehicle. (It made for slightly nervous driving though as the excess was worth more than we’d ever even paid for a car before!)
Use a map
Go digital to navigate through cities but trust paper for the long haul. GPS’ have been known to direct people off bridges and map apps suck the juice from your mobile. For a long road trip you’ll need a good map to plan where to find petrol, stay the night and hit the scenic spots. Jotting down little notes along the journey also makes for a great memento afterwards. And after all, these trips should be driven to be remembered.
Remember Tetris? It’s a computer (Game Boy) game where geometric shapes are manipulated so that they build square blocks that fit together. Packing the car well is like a winning Tetris game. No gaps means no wasted space, and this means more leg room.
Ever seen Wolf Creek? You’re much safer not picking up any stranger at all. But if you do, use your instincts, a whiff of a bad vibe and drive on by. Then again, you could pick up some super interesting character, learn something new or just be entertained for a while. I still remember a hippy I dropped off years ago at Byron Bay and his mad scheme to feed the world on love.
The sound of silence can lose its magic on a long trip. There’s no need to be picky and it’s a fantastic opportunity to tune into some sounds that you normally wouldn’t. Try the local radio stations as well, or turn on a political talk-back show and challenge yourself to listen for at least an hour without cringing.
Enjoy the ride!
Hey, you’re not in the office working so things could be worse! And if it does all go dire straits, drive to the nearest airport, ditch the wheels and fly.