11th Apr 2017
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Will the ‘great Aussie road trip’ be for me?
Author: Lee Mylne
Will the ‘great Aussie road trip’ be for me?

Lee Mylne has managed to combine her two passions – travelling and writing – into a long and successful career as a travel journalist. Her work is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and travel apps in Australia and around the world.

Barbara dreams of hitting the road for a great Aussie road trip, but she’s uncertain if a driving holiday is ‘her thing’. She asks Lee Mylne for some tips to help her decide.

Q. Barbara
It’s the great Aussie dream to hit the road and travel, and while I’m quite keen on such a thing, I’m worried that once I get on the road, I’ll decide it’s not for me. Are there groups or classes I can join to get a feel for what’s involved?

car driving along an australian road

A.
I think you’re wise to think hard about this before you set off on the great Aussie road trip, Barbara, because the truth is that, although thousands of people do it each year, an extended road trip is not going to be for everyone.

A good idea might be to do a few shorter trips from your home base before striking out on a really long one. If you plan to buy a motorhome and spend months – or years – on the road, then you really need to be sure before making such a big investment and heading off. So it’s a good idea to hire one and plan a trip for a couple of weeks to make sure you understand what that lifestyle will be like.

Of course, you don’t have to be a camper or caravanner. Most caravan parks have cabins, and are great value for money, with facilities like swimming pools so you’ll almost feel like you’re staying at a resort.

There are a few online forums that you could sign up for, on which grey nomads share their advice, answer queries, give hints on where to go and where to stay, events to check out and much more. You can post questions, or look at their previous posts, which might answer many of your questions.

Two sites worth looking at are www.greynomadsaustralia.com.au and www.thegreynomads.com.au.

campervan

If you’re planning to travel solo, make sure that you check in with a friend or family member every day so if anything does go awry, they’ll know where you are. And remember that with no-one to share the driving, you might get lonely and/or bored, and that can be dangerous if you nod off at the wheel. Plan your days to include plenty of rest breaks, and take some good music to provide a soundtrack for your drive (remember that in some remote areas you won’t even get radio reception).

Don't leave home without auto club (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, etc) road service membership. Also check out their websites, as they have plenty of good information about road tripping. Oh, and if you do decide on the long trip – in some form or other – and are heading into areas that won’t have mobile phone coverage, do also invest in a satellite phone in case of emergency.

Road tripping is a terrific way to explore this vast land we live in, and will give you a much better understanding of it. If you decide to take off in your car, camper or motor home, you’ll meet some great people and see some amazing landscapes!

Do you have a travel question for Lee? If so, email your Travel SOS to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au


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    COMMENTS

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    fish head
    15th Apr 2017
    11:33am
    If you are a timid driver a long road trip will NOT be 'your thing' as you will be exhausted by nervous tension very early into your trip.To build up resilience, start small. Day trips of increasing lengths and distances will build your confidence and give you a feel of driving the open road.Do a few weekenders and learn what works for you. Yes, it will take you out of your comfort zone but each trip will be an adventure and learning experience.Research your route (highly recommend RACQ advice), plan your stops according to your stamina and try to have a Plan B if things go awry (it may never happen and if it does, well, you know what to do).My Dad's advice- plan for the worst, it may never happen but you are prepared.Just remember road trips require you to be in seriously close proximity to other people travelling with you which can cause friction no matter how much you like them especially in wet conditions.I've been travelling Australian roads since I turned 21 (rather a long time ago now) and still enjoy the experience of boundless space that is part of the bush.
    Bonny
    15th Apr 2017
    1:05pm
    I recently did a trip and had a plan b and a plan c. I had to use plan c and was glad I did.

    I also find being away for 4 weeks is the limit for me as I have had enough by then.
    MICK
    16th Apr 2017
    1:43am
    Not sure about the great AUSTRALIAN roadtrip but we are currently on a European one. Priceless. Why bother touring in Oz when you can do it so cheaply abroad. Chalk and cheese!
    Jtee
    16th Apr 2017
    8:39pm
    Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMCA) has a solo travellers members section. You may benefit from talking to some of those members as they would have "been there and done that".
    Blossom
    1st May 2017
    12:16am
    I would be concerned about travelling alone in case you get sick. People don't stop these days because so many have been attacked or carjacked. Also if you have vehicle trouble, You may find you have no mobile phone reception to call for help.
    Consderring many expenses and risk of vehicles needing new tyres, extra servicing,a break down or anything and the fact that drivers need to keep their eyes on the road all the time another option is to go on a coach tour. Usually everything is inclusive, most meals, accomodation, entrance fees to some tourist attractions. Some places you stay 2 nights. Your luggage is collected from outside your room and put on the coach. When you arrive at your next motel your luggage is taken to outside your door. The only thing is you may not have time to look at some of the things you may want to but others don't as there is a basic time schedule so they reach some of the destinations on time.
    Blossom
    1st May 2017
    12:19am
    In some areas if travelling by car it is wise to carry spare partsand you are most likely to need too. You may get your vehicle fixed much quicker as you won't hve to wait days or weeks( in the same of some overseas manufactured vehicles) for replcement parts to arrive. During that time you also need accomodation etc.


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