Have you ever been so severely bitten by the travel bug that you thought it might drive you insane? I think it’s something a lot of us have experienced – I absolutely have – but sometimes funds, timing and life just don’t get along. What’s the perfect alternative to temporarily cease your urge to travel? An amazing road trip.
I’ve been planning a little road trip for the past few weeks. I don’t have dates set in my mind yet, but it’s a lot of fun to think about! A couple of us are planning on driving from Victoria, where we live, to South Australia – about 8-10 hours away. We’re only going to go for a few days, so we’re going to have to make the most of it!
I thought I’d share these simple steps with you, because in my opinion, they’re necessary for planning an amazing road trip – and will make your life and trip a little easier!
Choose your destination for the road trip.
I know, I know. If you’re planning on going on a road trip, you probably already have a destination in mind. However, for some people this may not be the case. I often decide on a whim that I want to go somewhere, without an idea of where I actually want to go. Here’s my method for deciding!
Open 3 browser tabs:
In Pinterest, type in your general location.
For example, I typed in ‘Australia’, and browsed through the pins until I found one that tickled my fancy – make sure you choose one that has a location listed in the description!
In Google Maps, enter the location (from the pin) and your home address to see the estimated time of travel in between.
From my house to Adelaide is 8 hours and a half – which is perfect. You need to remember to factor in how much time you’re planning on going for – if you’re only going for a few days, like me, you won’t want to spend most of your time driving, so keep the distance to a minimum. If you’re going for a longer time, you can definitely choose somewhere further away – but also, think about petrol costs and make sure you have enough money to cover it, as well as your accommodation and spendings!
If the distance suits your time and budget, proceed with the next step! Otherwise, head back to Pinterest to keep on huntin’.
Next, use Google to do a simple search: “things to do in ____”
It sounds too easy, doesn’t it? But just because you liked the look of the place from one image you saw on Pinterest, doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of other things to do and see. So, I like to type that simple phrase into Google and browse points of interest, reviews, travel blogs, etc. In doing that, I manage to find quite a few places I’d like to visit, and therefore settle on my choice.You can also use Pinterest to search the exact location (ie: I would type “South Australia” into the search bar) and find places and things to visit and do! (Once again, if it’s not quite what you imagined, keep looking for a new place!)
Make a list of attractions.
Now that you’ve decided on your location, it’s time to make a list of the attractions that caught your eye in the previous step, and jot them down! I kind of geek out with this kind of thing and love using notebooks purely for planning road trips, but feel free to be less insane and just use scrap paper or make a note in your phone – whatever works best for you!
Now you need to check all your attractions in Google Maps. They should be close enough to your main location that you won’t have to drive back and forth for hours – or, if they’re on the way, you can then use them to plan your route – which is the next step!
But before we get to that, I just wanted to leave a quick note here: though it’s good to have a list so you don’t miss out on seeing things you badly want to see, don’t forget to leave some time for spontaneity! Some of the best adventures are unplanned, so make sure you get out there and explore this new place, and go to places you hadn’t even thought about visiting. Don’t ever feel like you have to stick to a schedule or a list just because you’ve made one.
Plan your route.
As I said in the previous step, if any of the attractions are on the way to your main location, you can use these to plan your route. There are usually quite a fair few different ways to get to the same location, with different sites to see on each. Using my own road trip as an example, Mount Gambier is 4 hours and 37 minutes away from the heart of Adelaide, where we’ll be staying. Usually, I wouldn’t bother driving 4 hours out of the way from the main location – however, a quick search using Maps showed me that Mount Gambier is actually between Adelaide and my house. Taking this route does add another hour onto the trip, but in my opinion, that’s definitely worth doing for the opportunity to see such amazing sites.
If you don’t have any attractions on the way, choose the shortest route to avoid time and petrol/gas money!
Organise your accommodation.
Whether you’re staying with a friend, or paid accommodation, it’s good to get it organised as soon as you know the dates you’ll be going for – you don’t want to risk having to sleep in your car! (Trust me, it’s ridiculously uncomfortable!) Though we do have a friend in Adelaide that we’re going to visit, he lives in a very full house – so we will be getting our own accommodation!
The first thing I like to do is check deal sites – such as Scoopon (for Australians). Scoopon often has great accommodation deals for major or popular cities, and usually end up being cheaper per person than what you could find for something decent on Airbnb, or booking a hotel through their own website.
If you can’t find accommodation on a deal site, then Airbnb or a quick Google search for “accommodation in ____” is usually your next best bet – depending on what kind of accommodation you’d prefer.
Obviously this step can wait until you’re ready to go, but in the meantime – think about things you’d like to bring that might slip your mind if you pack at the last minute (like I usually do). I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail, as I want to save that for another post, but think along the lines of: cameras, snacks for the car, beach towels (impromptu trips to the beach along the way! Yay!) Don’t stress too much about what clothes you’re bringing – I usually bring way too many items of clothing and end up wearing the same kind of thing. Just bring what you’re comfortable wearing and what you know you like – you don’t to be worrying about anything like that when you’re on a road trip and meant to be having fun!
I’d love to hear about any road trips you’ve taken in the comment section below!