Mistakes to avoid on your next road trip

There’s more to a road trip than simply jamming the boot with clothes, food, beach and camping gear then taking off early to beat the traffic.

Planning your road trip will help you avoid some of the rookie mistakes made by so many on their first long haul in the car.

Pack just enough

One of the most common mistakes is to overpack, particularly clothes. We tend to pack for ‘just in case’ situations, which almost never occur and so we never need the clothes. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” is the lament of the guilty who overload their bags with unnecessary clothing. Pack for the most likely scenario, which in the Australian summer means you won’t be wearing much at all and will be able to wash and dry most clothes in a day.

Another mistake is to underpack and forget essential items like toiletries, maps, pre-booked tickets/passes to destinations, cash and the like. The best option is to use a list for packing, so you don’t miss things in the rush to get the car loaded and on the road.

Bring snacks

Always pack healthy snacks and water, as you or your passengers will inevitably get hungry along the way. If you’re stuck in a long line of holiday traffic you can lose even more time if you leave the main road to stop for refreshments. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t stop and revive every couple of hours, but if you have enough snacks in the car and can rehydrate without stopping unnecessarily, you’ll most likely have a smoother ride.

Take car of your car

Before you leave, fill your tank with petrol and check the fundamentals like tyre pressure (including the spare), oil, filters, radiator, windscreen wipers and the like. Keep your tool kit easily accessible too, just in case of an emergency.

Dress comfortably

Wear comfortable clothes. You’re not on a fashion shoot, so it’s alright to look a little daggy when sitting in a car for hours on end. Loose-fitting clothes that aren’t scratchy are the best option. If you’re a passenger, you might also bring along a neck pillow to make it easy to sleep sitting upright.

Take breaks

Try not to go it alone when it comes to driving. Share the load. Take regular or timed breaks and be patient. There’s no sense having a crash just because you’re not prepared to wait. During holiday season particularly, there are more vehicles and more inexperienced drivers on the road than any other time of the year. So accept that the trip might come with some delays, plan for them and you’ll arrive more relaxed and in better shape.

If you’re planning a road trip in Queensland make sure to visit the RACQ road trip planner for tips and advice as well.