Q: What essentials should I consider before setting out on a road trip?
A: The classic Aussie road trip is back with a vengeance, with Australian families embracing the opportunity to hit the road to explore their own backyard. There are two main things to consider before setting out on your NSW journey: safety and entertainment, with both key to a smooth and happy ride. Here’s a checklist to consider before setting off:
Car maintenance: It goes without saying that your vehicle needs to be roadworthy, have valid registration and appropriate insurances in place before setting out on a road trip. But what is often overlooked is basic maintenance such as tyre and oil pressure, and battery health. “There’s nothing worse than going on a long family holiday and breaking down – especially this year when everyone desperately needs a holiday,” says Peter Khoury, Media Manager at the NRMA. “The worst thing that could happen is you get in the car and there’s a problem with your battery or tyres – it just adds a massive downer to what should be an amazing time with your family. So make sure your car is safe by taking it to your local mechanic for a service before you go.”
Drive to conditions: Be mindful of local driving conditions – for instance, if you are travelling in NSW during summer, be aware that it’s bushfire season. Plan your journey to take a rest every two hours. For a list of rest stops, download the Transport NSW Rest Areas map.
Pit stops: Petrol prices fluctuate wildly throughout NSW; to ensure you’re getting the best value, download the Fuel Check app which lists the prices of petrol stations in real time. Khoury advises stopping at places where children can run around and play, expending energy and having fun while the driver reboots. He also suggests leaving home with an empty esky, filling it with healthy snacks and treats in regional towns to support local communities. “If you’re heading out from Sydney, there’s every chance you’ve be driving past some amazing parts of NSW that have remarkable fruit and veg – you can even pull over and pick your own fruit. So don’t stock up in Woolies – buy your snacks during your journey.”
Happy kids, happy parents: If you’re going on a long journey, it’s important to keep the children entertained so they don’t cause distraction to the driver. “Make sure the kids’ devices are all charged, there is plenty on their iPads and they have headphones plugged in,” Khoury suggests. “Obviously we encourage people to use these devices safely, so don’t have them in the front seat – and the driver can’t touch any of them.”