There are a few essentials needed on every road trip, great or small, that will either make or break the trip. Whether it’s a simple joy ride from Sydney to Wollongong or a spontaneous trip to Queensland, every amount of time spent behind the wheel can only be improved by the following few items.
Obviously. Whether it be the radio, CDs, an iPod or phone, make sure you’ve got some happy, inspiring and upbeat tunes. Once you hit the three hour mark, you’ll certainly need some motivation to keep on trucking. If you’re heading away from major cities and towns, it’s best not to rely on the radio. You don’t want to be flicking through stations for half an hour trying to find the only station without crackling static. If you’re bringing an iPod, make sure you know how it will connect to the speakers, as not every car will have a USB or aux cord connection. If you’re going on an extensive trip, downloading a series of podcasts to listen to is a great way of breaking up the music. The podcast Serial is one that will keep you hooked: 5 million downloads can’t be wrong.
To avoid high prices at service stations, it’s best to stock up at the supermarket before you leave. Think long term when buying food, but overall let people eat what they want. If you like fruit, buy fruit, but if you’d rather gorge yourself on chips, lollies and chocolate (guilty as charged) just do it. You don’t want to be stuck in a car for countless hours eating food you don’t like, that does not make for a happy car ride. But make sure your food is travel friendly or you could end up with hot pumpkin soup running down the backside of the driver’s seat.
When the thrill of the road trip dies down and conversation is starting to dwindle, it’s time to start playing some games. My favourite game is Who Am I, where one player thinks of a person (and yes it can be a character that is not necessarily alive) and everyone else asks yes or no answer questions until they figure out who the person is. If you really want to test how much the people you’re travelling know about the world, choose a category, possibly countries, cities, vegetables, songs, and take it in turns to name items from these categories, in alphabetical order. If all else fails, Eye Spy can work well if you have more than just trees to choose from.
4. Good Company
Being trapped in a car with people you don’t particularly like can be an awkward and painful experience, but it’s also a great situation to get to know people. Swap travel stories, reveal all about embarrassing moments in high school and learn each others favourite movies. It’s better to have anyone with you on the journey than taking it by yourself, for safety and sanity reasons alike.
5. Sense of Adventure
Make the drive fun for yourself! Take the back roads, stop to check out the minor tourist attractions in middle-of-nowhere towns, take plenty of photos of the landscapes you see and each other. And don’t be afraid to take a detour, you can always just turn around. Say yes to everything! (Except picking up hitch-hikers).