Your essential road trip preparation [Checklist]

The domestic tourism sector is starting to rejuvenate again, with Aussies spending billions of their hard-earned dollars every year on the quintessential road trip. But before you pack the car and set off on your next journey, make sure you use this road trip preparation checklist.

You’ll want to plan out your road trip before jumping in the car. Depending on your love of technology or if you’re a bit more old-school, you might prefer to use a:

Smartphone and charger, GPS or a good-old map

Smartphone: Bust out Google Maps or your preferred navigation app, type in your destination, as well as any pit stops along the way, and voila(!), you’re ready to go! The great thing about an app is that it updates in real-time, getting you to your destination as quickly as possible and alerting you to any roadworks or delays.

GPS: It feels like just a few short years ago that everyone was buying each other GPS systems for Christmas. Our smartphones have made the technology relatively redundant, but if you don’t want to keep your phone on constant charge for a long trip then a GPS, whether it’s built-in to your car or a stand-alone one mounted onto your windscreen, is the perfect road trip partner.

Map: Long gone are the days where you’d have to memorise a dozen or more roads on a map just to venture to the other side of the city. But that doesn’t mean the humble map is useless. Keep one handy just in case technology fails – or if you’re heading out bush where phone reception is poor.

Car is in good nick

Have you taken your car in for a pre-trip service? If not, it’s something you should definitely consider. What could be worse than getting halfway through your road trip and your car conks out? Make sure the following are in tip-top shape:

  • Oil, coolant, and water
  • Battery
  • Lights and wiper blades
  • Tyres (including a spare one)
  • Air filters

Also avoid overloading the car when it’s time to pack, you’ll just end up using more fuel during your trip! And make sure your car insurance is up to date and covers you for any possible hiccups on your upcoming road trip.

And one more thing; can you replace a tyre if yours goes flat? What about if your battery dies and you’re in the middle of nowhere without a car in sight let alone some jumper cables in the boot! If you don’t want to risk any hiccups during your road trip, you may wish to consider getting roadside assistance if you don’t already have it.

Entertainment is organised

What’s going to keep you entertained during those long stretches between towns? It’s good to prepare for ways to fill the silence and keep the road trip party going. Think about:

Music playlists: Get every person who’s coming on the road trip to create a playlist of their favourite tracks, and avoid arguments by allowing everyone a ‘veto’ song.

Podcasts: Sometimes tunes just don’t do the trick. But an interesting or funny podcast can kill an hour of boring driving when the roads are long and the destination feels forever away.

Quiz: Download a quiz app and pepper your passengers with fun general-knowledge questions.

Pit stops: A road trip shouldn’t be about just getting from Point A to Point B. Make it more exciting by dotting your map with pit stops of interesting places.

Creature comforts

No one goes on a road trip in their Sunday best. Keep it relaxed with plenty of pillows for passengers, comfy trackies for the driver, singlets when the midday sun is beating down on your windows or spare jackets if it’s a winter trip, and plenty of snacks and fluids (healthy as well as cheeky treats!) for the long trip.

Safety gear

It’s important to be prepared for even the most unexpected outcome on your road trip. With more than 1,100 fatalities on the road in 2019 and far more hospitalisations and minor injuries, it’s in your best interests to pack safety gear in case of an emergency.

Rule number one of any road trip is to wear your seatbelt, but you should also bring along a first aid kit, toolkit in case of breakdowns, make sure your spare tyre is in good condition, throw in a tow rope, and pack a satellite phone, blanket and plenty of extra food and water in case you’re stranded in a remote area.

Download the Road Trip Preparation [Checklist]

Ready to drive?

Whether you’re cruising through capital cities or roughing it in the Aussie outback, it’s important to keep your road trip on track with car insurance, just in case the unexpected happens. Be well prepared by reviewing your existing car insurance to make sure you’re still getting the best deal.