With new lockdowns and travel restrictions in place in multiple states and border closures throwing many 4WDer’s holiday travel plans into disarray, it’s hard not to feel the frustration.
This far along into the COVID era, most of us have learned that you’ve just gotta roll with the punches.
Second to actually pulling up at a new campsite and cracking the day’s first tinny, planning your next adventure is a pretty good mood lift.
While there are certainly some factors impeding our ability to plan trips freely, there’s plenty that’s still within our control.
Keep the following half dozen tips in mind to ensure your next trip goes off without a hitch (snap lockdowns notwithstanding!).
PODCASTS SAVE THE DAY
Highway driving can be the best time to listen to music – either to relax with a classic album or to give some new material a chance.
However, if you’re plowing through a really long drive, sometimes it’s better to keep the mind engaged with ideas and discussion.
Listening to a podcast can help keep your mind active and awake while you burn through the highway miles.
It seems that every second person has their own podcast show these days; according to recent data there’s currently over 2,000,000 shows to choose from! So you should be hard pressed not finding something you like.
If you’re in a learning type of mood, give Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast a go – this cinematic series will have you gripping the steering wheel as the rise and fall of the Roman and Mongol empires are charted and details of the modern world wars are spilled.
There’s a show out there for just about every niche interest, not to mention millions of hours of light hearted pop culture and comedy discussion. Have a scan through the browse function on your podcast app and find your next fav.
PACK A PAPERBACK
Working your way through a quality travel yarn is one of life’s simple pleasures, and there’s no better time to sink your teeth into a substantial novel than when on the road (figuratively speaking… not while actually at the wheel).
Browse the back catalogues of the travel writing greats – perhaps some lesser known Kerouac or Krakauer is just what you need to set the wheels in motion for your next epic adventure!
If you’re running short on ideas, check out the ROADKILL section of the site for some of Carlisle’s recommendations.
KEEP A TIDY RIG
Is there anything worse than the horrible mess the interior or your 4WD can deteriorate to after a couple of days on the road?
Cup holders overflowing with takeaway coffee cups, floors littered with junk food wrappers and empty plastic drink bottles… Ugh.
It seems like the inside of the fourby can degenerate to the above condition in just a couple of hours, particularly with the help of a couple of kids in the back.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. A tidy rig really can translate to a tidy mind – especially when the inside of your vehicle can be your whole world for a big chunk of the time you spend away.
Allocate 10 or 15 minutes for a thorough tidying before leaving the driveway and you’ll be amazed at how much clearer you can think while on the road.
It’s also so much easier to find that missing gas canister or bug spray later on at camp when everything is neat and tidy and in its place.
Exactly when you plan to knock over the bulk of your highway miles can make a huge impact on the outcome of your trip.
Some drivers prefer to hit the highway pre-dawn in order to put as many miles behind them while at their sharpest.
Other drivers operate best at night, while there are the fewest vehicles on the road and long drives can be knocked over comparatively quickly.
It’s important to know yourself and your limits. Plan to drive during the most efficient time periods, but if you feel yourself fading, factor in a break or even an early stopover.
The worst thing you can do is waste time stuck in heavy traffic, so avoid driving through cities during morning and evening peak hours where possible.
BE FUEL SMART
Fuel is the single biggest cost on most 4WD trips, and a laissez faire attitude to topping up your tanks is a prime way to blow out the budget.
While it’s not always possible to plan exactly when and where you’ll need to fuel up, it’s a great idea to fill your tanks at home and in larger population centres where possible, as it’s no secret that remote servos without nearby competitors don’t hesitate to ramp their prices up accordingly.
Fuel prices run on cycles designed to keep the market fluid and consumers guessing. Head to the www.accc.gov.au website to calculate the cheapest day of the week to top up at your local servo, and reduce the trauma on your wallet.
When you’re heading off on a short two or three-day trip, the importance of getting an accurate weather forecast is amplified.
No one enjoys driving or setting up camp in the rain, and an unexpected rainsquall or strong wind can mean the difference between a pleasant break and a trying ordeal.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) site provides up to date weather observations and forecasts for regions around the country, as well as a rain radar function that allows you to view and track approaching weather systems.
Check out the Willy Weather website and app for a handy system that allows you to plug in any postcode around the country and quickly view detailed three or five day forecasts.