Travel SOS: is a road trip for me?

Barbara thinks hitting the road for a great Aussie road trip might be the safest way to travel once social distancing stops, but she’s uncertain if a driving holiday is ‘her thing’. She asks Lee Mylne for some tips to help her decide.

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Q. Barbara
It’s the great Aussie dream to hit the road and travel, and my husband and I are thinking that might be the way to go as soon as we can get out of this lockdown. 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 [email protected]

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Ten tips for happy road trips
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Written by Lee Mylne

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