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We are big fans of taking road trips.
As a travelling family we can’t rate them highly enough as a memorable travel experience. They are so practical and cost effective.
We are now travelling around Australia for the next 12-18 months. You can see our posts here and follow our journey. We love the freedom of hitting the open road, being able to SLOW travel and have the flexibility to do what we want, when we want.
You can set your own travel hours and destinations, you don’t have to carry around your luggage, and instead of flying from point A to point B and missing everything in between, the journey becomes just as memorable as the destination.
Ready to get plan a road trip?
Here are the initial questions to ask yourself when planning a road trip:
Are you after a beach break? Esperance Western Australia, Australia
Figuring out how much money you have to spend on your road trip is vital in determining where you are going to go and for how long.
Think about what your total budget might be, and then break it down into the major segments of the trip. How much are you willing and able to spend on these necessities?
Once you know what you are comfortable spending on a daily basis, divide that dollar amount into your total budget available and that will give you a rough idea of the amount of days you can travel for.
Research the costs for the following:
Now you have your rough road trip costs you’re in a better position on deciding where to go and for how long.
You can then answer these questions:
Depending on your budget and the type of experiences you want to have, consider this:
Go through the list with whoever you are road tripping with, discuss pros and cons of each destination and vote.
Number them in preference. (Don’t completely cancel a destination out because you may have to change when you consider factors such as budget and availability).
Safety, like insurance, is probably one of the most boring travel topics. But, it is truly the most important.
Unless our car is brand new, we always make sure we have put it in for a service before we go on a road trip. It’s a hassle and may cost money, but it is better to pay for the prevention rather than the cure.
Here are some pre-road trip safety tips if you want to perform them yourself:
Always good to have in the car for peace of mind:
Bucket List Destination: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia creidt:
It’s a good idea to have your basic route planned on maps / navigation system. It’s fun for everyone to follow along and have a general understanding of the places you’ll be visiting.
There are obvious and not so obvious things to take care of before leaving your home.
Redwood National Park, California. credit: fineartAmerica
Try not to stress too much in regards to packing. Remember, you can almost certainly buy anything later on the road.
Once packed go through it again and cut it down by a third. Keep doing that until you really do have just the essentials. Take less and wash more.
A list of items to consider:
You can get ready-made first aid kits here.
If you are travelling overseas you may also want to include:
Remember – Pack light.
An easy way to save costs of fuel on your road trip is to ensure your car is fully serviced and is optimised for efficiency.
Do your research to find travel discounts and coupons for the areas you are visiting. Visit the local tourist information offices for free maps and ideas.
Use the following to help:
Don’t try to go too crazy and see everything. That’s a sure recipe for burnout and budget blowout.
Choose to spend more time in fewer places so you can save on fuel and snatch more accommodation bargains, like stay 5 nights get one free.
Accommodation is one of your biggest holiday expenses. Be wise about where you choose to stay – essentially it is only a bed to sleep in as you will be so busy exploring.
Constantly eating out can kill your budget and leave less for you to spend on the real memory making activities.
The best way to do this is:
Do as many activities as you can outdoors, most of which will be free or cheap and will give you happy, carefree memories.
Visit a National Park
Now that all the planning is out of the way, all that is left for you to do is pack the car and drive away.
Put your hands in the air and give a celebratory cheer. The hard yards are over and you can relax and enjoy your road trip.
Some last minute tips:
Take frequent breaks – Port Macquarie, Australia
Has all this information overwhelmed you?
Here is a road trip packing list that will make sure you include everything you need: