Top tips for succesful road trips

11 Aug 2017

Top of Down Under presenter, Penny Wells, has been touring our amazing country for more years than she cares to remember and it's fair to say she has picked up some tipd and tricks long the way.

I heard a saying recently that really sums up the essence of why I love nothing better than hitching on the Ultimate off road camper and heading out….. that “you need to disconnect to reconnect”. It’s a world where we are so dependent on technology in our everyday lives. To disconnect by spending time in the great outdoors does wonders for our relationships and a foggy head that we all experience from being time poor and under the gun constantly. But how do you make sure you get the best out of your time away? After spending over 17 years touring in a fourby I came up with a few ideas that may help things run a little smother with the time you have wrangled to go camping:

Preparation

Whatever you can manage to do before the trip the more enjoyable it will be and it also eliminates any nasty little surprises on the road. For example book the car in for a service and check over it, fix it now. It will be more expensive on the road to repair. I also pre-cook a lot of my meals and use a vac seal machine to package them, which ultimately gives you more space in the fridge. Quite a few of my friends now do this and they say it has revolutionised their camping experience.

Keep it simple

Keeping your off-rod camper trailer packed all the time with the basics is great. I run by the mantra that if I didn’t use it on the last trip then I take it out. There are some exceptions to this rule. For me it is shoes, you can never have too many, although my husband disagrees and I can still envision him turfing out my shoes in the air at Telegraph Track trying to find something!

Don’t procrastinate

Set a date, write it on the calendar and start working towards it. If you don’t do this life gets in the way, you get busy and before you know it Christmas is here. When planning a trip with a group be prepared for a lot to drop out and not go. I have experienced this many times. Have a Plan B and be aware, you may end up going by yourself. You’re never alone on the road; I have made many lifelong friends from strangers I met on my travels.

Navigation

It’s not a great feeling when you’ve gone 80 kms up a wrong track and when fuel is at $2.70 per litre, it’s a pricy mistake. However this can be avoided by installing a GPS unit in your vehicle or even the old-fashioned Hema map books provide excellent detailed roads to plot a course from.

Give a little

I’m not going to lie, there have been occasional times I’ve had a tiff with my hubby and locked him out of the vehicle momentarily. On road trips you are confined by close quarters and we refer to it as cabin fever. To keep CF to a minimum remember you both have places you would like to visit and it may not be a location that appeals to you but it’s best to relinquish the reigns and visit places that you both may enjoy, even though visiting the Airlie Beach markets may not be your thing.

Don’t rush

I have seen friends complete their Cape York trip in two and a half weeks and they come back exhausted and didn’t have a good time. A key reason for most to get away is to wind down and relax. When you’re scrambling from location to location just to tick destinations off a list means you miss so much by rushing. Take your time and explore thoroughly what each point of interest has to offer and it may be that you need to allocate another trip at a later date to investigate the track that you didn’t reach this time round.

Talk to locals and travellers

The locals know their stuff and by having a chat they have often shared information on great places to check out in the area. The same goes with fellow travellers, ask them which direction they have come from and what the road conditions were like. Many times this has saved us time in deciding which way to head for next. Don’t be shy, have a chat, you’ll be surprised what you can find out!

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