Tips Before Going on a Solo Road Trip
The Australian open road can really be a place to enjoy. Seeing the deserts turn into mountains, turn into the coast is something many Aussies love. But doing it alone? A solo road trip can come with challenges – here are some tips.
1: Don’t drive at night
Always avoid driving at night, especially when travelling alone. There’s a host of reasons why:
- Animal strikes, it’s much more common to hit a kangaroo or the likes at night.
- Arriving at an unfamiliar place in the dark, likely while hungry too.
- Traversing unfamiliar highways in the dark at high speed.
- Missing the views you set out to experience in the first place.
Furthermore, after many hours on the road, a late dinner isn’t much fun.
2: Plan your journey with Google Maps
Make sure to plan your trip carefully by checking distances and travel time on Google Maps. It’s likely that you’ll take longer than what Google predicts as stopping for food, fuel, breaks and of course, interesting places along the way all take time.
Do some research on the places you’ll pass through to see if there’s anywhere you’d like to stop. Make sure to include rest stops and meal breaks too.
Travelling in winter? You’ll see the greenery and drive in cool temperatures, but have fewer hours of daylight.
Summer? It might be hot and dry but those extra daylight savings hours (depending on the state you’re in) can really help.
3: Organise your accommodation well in advance
Driving around an unfamiliar town on a solo road trip, looking for a caravan park or motel that has vacancies is not fun. Luckily, it’s easily avoidable.
Arrange accommodation well in advance. It really takes the stress out of a trip. Read reviews online to make sure where you book meets your needs. Many aren’t pet friendly for example.
If it’s a one night stop and you’re leaving the next morning, a cabin in a caravan park is often a good choice. Other than being quite cheap, they often have parking spaces right next to the cabins so unpacking and repacking the next morning is a cinch.
Just make sure to organise meals as most caravan parks don’t have restaurants on site.
4: Check your car and prep your car
Does your vehicle have a weak spot? Check online for common faults with your make/model.
You might find a specific part that’s prone to breaking so you can prepare. For example, if you find other owners of the same make/model you drive complaining of a specific radiator hose that often breaks, you might be able to purchase one prior to your solo road trip. That way, you’ll have a spare with you and won’t have to wait for a small town mechanic to order one in.
A breakdown kit can be especially helpful if you plan to go off-road.
Aussie highways are known for their insects. Some motorists cover parts on the front of their vehicles with mesh to avoid bugs getting caught in the engine and radiator.
Check your tyres and tyre pressure before leaving too. If you’re planning to leave early in the morning on your solo road trip, get a full tank of petrol the night before.
5: Cash and card
Cash is becoming a thing of the past in Australia. Any large petrol station in a populated area will likely take cards but what about the remote ones?
It’s always a good idea to take a little extra emergency cash just in case you get stuck.
Furthermore, if you’ve got a low spending limit set on your card, it might be worth considering how much money you’re likely to need on a solo road trip.
Stopping at tourist attractions and for petrol, food and accommodation can add up pretty quickly. It pays to drive fuel-efficiently too.
Water, coffee, snacks, extra food. It goes without saying that solo road trips need planning. Make sure your car is full of the supplies you might need.
Of course, it’s easy to stop along the way but a few water bottles, sandwiches and a flask of coffee not only saves you money but also time.
Add in a few paper towels too as spills in the car can cause bad smells.
Listening to podcasts and music playlists on the way can add to the enjoyment of a solo road trip. Don’t forget all the photos you’ll take to send to family and friends back home. But it costs battery power.
Make sure you can charge your phone in your car and via a normal power outlet where you stay each night – ie: don’t forget your charger.
Let your family and friends know where you plan to be each day and night. If possible, check-in with them and give them updates to let them know you’re ok.
Many remote locations in Australia don’t have phone reception so be prepared for patches of no internet.
Get on the Road
Solo road trips are a great way to unwind, refresh your mind and see our country. With international travel ‘mothballed’ thanks to the pandemic, the next time you have a few days free might be perfect for a solo road trip.
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