OK, so not everyone is a fan of spending long periods of time in the car, but we don’t mind it and sometimes you don’t have much choice either.
On our extended trips away we spend a lot of time in the car and I mean A LOT! Some times when we are wanting to get somewhere fairly quickly to start our trip, we can be driving 1000 km or more a day, now that’s a long time to be sitting in the car together!
We all spend so long making sure the vehicle is mechanically sound for the trip, we pack the car and the caravan or trailer and we set off, but one thing you need to think of is preparing yourself and inside the cabin of the car for your trip …… particularly if you have children. Now thankfully we are lucky, with a 19 and 21 year old, we don’t need to worry about travelling with young children! But regardless, a little planning can help the adults too.
Below are a few of our tips that make life easier for us:-
Food & Drink – We always have a container inside the car with various little snacks …. chips, muesli bars, le snacks, lollies, nuts etc. It’s easy to just reach around and grab something when you are feeling a little peckish and it saves you having to stop and go through the car to find something to eat or buy something. Same goes for drinks, always have a bottle of water inside the car.
Lunch stops – Now this should be a slightly longer stop to allow you to rest up, get out and stretch your legs, go to the toilet and feed your stomach. You could stop and purchase something or make your own lunch on the side of the road or even be ultra prepared and already have a pre-packed lunch sitting in the fridge waiting for you. We also carry a small plastic box inside the car which has paper plates, napkins, disposal knives and forks, a knife and a small chopping board. Handy for these lunch stops or picnics at any time.
Toilet stops – Anyone who knows Shelly knows that we do this often, we have visited nearly every rest stop in Australia! Well not really, but we’ve been to a lot! Be prepared that you won’t always be able to stop in a town and you sometimes might need to visit one of those lovely fragrant drop toilets on the side of the road! We always have a roll of toilet paper handy in the car as quite often there is none available and we also have hand sanitizer sitting in the door aswell, because soap and water is a luxury that you don’t generally get at these stops.
Breaks – Remember to have a break from driving every couple of hours, this is for your safety and others. It gives you a chance to stretch your legs, grab a coffee or visit the loo. Sometimes we do a quick stop just to swap drivers.
Comfortable clothing – You are going to be sitting in the car for a long time so you want to be comfortable so think about what you are wearing. Also think about shoes, make sure you have shoes that are going to be comfortable for driving in for a long period. Always carry a jumper or blanket in case it gets cold (or in our case, when George has the air-conditioning so cold it feels like we are in Antarctica!)
Entertainment – We all have music on our phone or iPod nowadays or take your CD’s or listen to the radio. If you get sick of listening to music, maybe download some podcasts before you leave home and listen to them. There are even talking books which you can purchase and download. Take a magazine, a book or a puzzle book if that’s your thing. Playing games can also be fun and help pass the time. The good news is though, if you are lucky enough to be travelling with us, you will be exposed to ‘Shelly Concerts’ where she does duets with random musicians like John Farnham, Bryan Adams, Nickelback …. the list is endless!
Car chargers – Make sure you have your car chargers with you, whether it be for the phone, the iPod, GPS etc.
Travelling with pets – Ensure you have everything that is needed for your furry friend aswell.
Don’t forget that dogs need to be harnessed while travelling in the car for their safety and yours (and it’s actually illegal not to).
Don’t forget their lead (and always put this on them before you unhook the harness to stop them running off. Also have plenty of water and a bowl (we use collapsible ones which are easy to store). And lastly, of course don’t forget those poo bags to clean up after your dog.
What else do we keep in the car?
- Baby wipes
- Accommodation information (bookings, address, contact numbers)
- Pen and paper
- Satellite phone
- Insect repellent
- Garbage bags
With just a little pre planning you can make your travel time in the car a little more enjoyable. Most importantly, remember to take regular breaks and drive safely and to the conditions of the day and the road conditions. Happy travelling everyone!