Before any big trip away. some degree of planning will almost always be required. It might be deciding on what set-up will get the job done best, a particular route to follow, a budget to stick to, or a combination of all three. It might sound easy but there is a knack to preparing for the best adventure. In fact, sometimes the trick is to know when to stop preparing. With that in might we thought we’d share a few of the tips and advices that we’ve learned during our time preparing for the open road.
WHERE TO START?
For a big trip away, you can break down kicking off your endeavours by figuring out what region you want to visit and how you’re tackling your stay.
- Are you free camping? Or are you caravanning at holiday parks or luxury camps?
- Are you sticking to the main roads? Or hitting challenging terrain for pristine far-flung oasis?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can set about determining what you need in your caravan set-up and planning a roughing a budget.
DIGITAL PLANNING AIDS
The internet and smart devices really have made it easier to develop a touring plan. Hundreds of different applications and programs provide invaluable advice and local knowledge. Gold old “Google Maps” provides a birds eye view of your trip. While Google Earth and Google Street View can help you check out the terrain.
The NSW National Parks and Services app is a great tool too, with plenty of advice on campsites, attractions, pricing and maps. Weather forecasting apps, fuel price checking apps and campsite locators are also great. And, of course, we can’t forget our specialised touring maps, in paper form or downloaded in advance, for those times when precision is vital or the internet connection is costly–or lost.
BUDGETS, FUEL AND CAMPING
Fuel is a major expense to any extended trip, with your kilometre count providing a great start. You’ll need to know your vehicle’s fuel consumption when towing and for the location of where you’re travelling. A few simple calculations is a great start, remembering that fuel consumption varies. In fact, a strong headwind can double your fuel consumption. But there are also roadblocks, detours and, of course, getting lost. So add in a bit of fat to the budget just in case!
Camping fees is another major factor, which is easy to calculate if your itinerary is set in stone. For loosely laid plans think about the types of accommodation you’re choosing, which may include a mix of caravan park, national park and station stays, and work back from there. Seasonal factors may influence your choices, or indeed, what’s even available.
LONG TERM TOURING PREP
- Set a weekly budget and stick to it. Even if you overspend at least you’ll keep track of how much you’ve gone over
- Set up a direct debit to pay a ‘wage’ from your savings account to help keep track of your spending
- Think seriously about the times you wish to splurge, and budget for it. Thoroughly research your bucket list items, things like staircase to the moon are tidal dependent, and some tours in shoulder seasons may not run
- Get app savvy: try Motor Mouth for cheap fuel or gasbottlerefills.com for gas
MEALS ON THE MOVE
Planning a few long drives? Pre-cooked meals such as stews, casseroles and satays in the freezer will save you from dipping into the kitty when you’re running late for camp!
FINALLY, THINK: RAINY DAY
Even the best laid plans can be blown out of the water by bad weather, bad planning or plain bad luck. So ensure you know what you’re covered for insurance wise (health-wise, ambulance, road-side plus vehicle coverage) and put aside a few bucks in case there is a mechanical failure or you’re stuck due to weather.