Since being in New Zealand, I’ve become a bit of a pro when it comes to Road Trips. So with the new skills I’ve learnt, I thought I’d share a few tips on planning the perfect road trip. Whether it be solo or with a group of friends, whether it’s for a few days or a few weeks… these are going to be the ultimate tips for planning any road trip.
// Trip Tips #1 – Google Is Your Best Friend \\
When it comes to planning any road trip, google will be your best friend in so many different ways. Firstly and most obviously, you can use it for your research. You’ll already have an idea in your head of where you want to go, or at least what direction you want to head in. So punch that into a google search and you’ll get all the information you’ll need, including some google recommendations.
However, my favourite tool for any road trip is Google Maps. There are so many hidden features to Google Maps that people don’t know about and ohmygod, they’re life changing. Firstly the best thing about it is the ability to use it offline. Just simply click the menu button on the left side of the screen and scroll down to ‘Offline Maps’. This will allow you to download the map of the area and use it in its normal way, even when you have no data/signal. A genius way of saving data, battery and saving you in those dodgy situations.
Another great way to use Google Maps is before even leaving for the trip. On a laptop or computer, again using the menu to the left, you can click on ‘My Places’ > ‘Maps’ > ‘Create Map’. Doing this will give you the ability to add as many markers, routes and pit stops as you like. You’ll be able to create and document your entire journey and if you’re going in a group of friends, be able to post the route to a group chat so everyone is in the know. I’m in the process of planning the biggest road trip I’ve ever been on and this step has been essential in the planning of my trip.
// Trip Tips #2 – Fail To Prepare, Prepare to Fail \\
Planning for any trip can be stressful enough as it is, let alone getting half way down the road and realising you’ve forgotten something. Preparation is essential. You’re going to be on the road for a long time, living out of a bag and surviving on the few things you’ve packed in the car. Hence why it’s so important to prepare.
The best way to do this is by writing a list. Write down everything and anything you’re going to need. Plan for both good & bad weather and take extra precautions for emergencies. Think about things like what footwear & clothing you’re going to need. Electricity, how are you going to charge things. If you’re using your phone for google maps, it’s probably going to lose battery quickly. So how will that be charged on the road? Write everything down, check it off as you go, plan wisely.
As much as you need to be organised and prepared, you also don’t want to overpack. At the end of the day, that car is your mode of transport and you’re going to need to get from A to B safely, but also quickly (if you’re on a time limit). So the last thing you’re going to want to do, is weigh down the car by packing it full of things you’re not going to need. Take me for example, I have a lot of camera gear, so my priority is limiting that to the essentials and what I actually need. Do I really need 3 lenses and a tripod? Probably not. So prepare the car in a way that you’re not just weighing it down and ultimately slowing it down.
// Trip Tips #3 – Safety \\
I like to think of myself as a bit of a boujee traveller. I’m not one for hostels and roughing it in the car. However, a lot of people are and that’s completely okay and probably the more economical way of travelling. If that is you (and if it’s not) listen up because these next tips are all about your safety.
You’re on the road, everything is packed into the car, yet you’re using that car as a way of getting around and seeing things. It also means that car will be parked up places, most likely with your stuff in it. Get where i’m going with this? Make sure everything is locked and out of sight. The last thing you want is for your car to attract someones attention and for them to break in. If you have a glove box that locks, make sure to use that for important things like a phone or money. It’s all about being smart and keeping your eye out. Park the car in a well lit place. Don’t leave the car unlocked. And if you have a key that’s non-electrical, use that. That way if you plan on going in water, you can lock the car and take the key in your pocket (as long as it zips) and that way it’ll avoid you having to leave your keys somewhere.
Then it comes to accomodation. A lot of road trippers use the car for accomodation and that’s definitely a great way of saving money. However, if like me that’s not really your gig, then comes the task of finding places to stay. The most obvious choice is Airbnb, it’s cheap and convenient and an easy way of booking accomodation. However if you are going to stay in your car, try to kit it out in preparation for this. Maybe some curtains so people can’t see in. Lock the doors and make sure you’re parking it in somewhere you’re actually allowed to stay the night. Avoid those fines… they’ll add heaps to the budget.
Like I said, I’m in the middle of planning the biggest road trip I’ve ever done. It’ll cover both islands in New Zealand and take around 2 weeks. I’m so excited for it and can’t wait to document the whole thing. And of course, the tips I’ve used in today’s post will be tips I use for that trip as well.
I hope it’s helped with the planning of your road trips. If you’ve got any planned, let me know as I’d love to hear about it.
| By Harrison |