How To Plan A Road Trip

How To Plan A Road Trip

Embarking on a road trip is an exhilarating adventure, offering boundless opportunities for exploration and discovery. But what do you need for a road trip? Amidst the excitement of planning your route and destinations, ensuring you have the essentials packed can make all the difference in the journey's enjoyment and ease. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what to bring on a road trip, covering everything from practical necessities to creature comforts. From versatile clothing options suited for varying weather conditions to essential safety equipment and convenient gadgets that enhance your travel experience, we've got you covered. Whether you're a seasoned road warrior or a first-time traveller, our curated list of what to pack on a road trip will help you pack smarter and more efficiently, ensuring a memorable and stress-free journey filled with unforgettable moments and scenic vistas.

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What To Bring On A Road Trip

Man packing a Dune 4WD 95L Storage Box

Before you hop in the car and drive off, you will need to make sure that you have packed everything - but what to take on a road trip?

Roadside Emergency Kit

Since you will mostly likely be driving for an extended period of time in remote areas of Australia, having a roadside emergency kit is a must when it comes to what to take on a road trip. A roadside emergency kit should include:

Spare Tyres

Bringing spare tyres on a road trip, especially in Australia, is crucial due to the vast and often remote nature of the country's landscapes. Many areas lack immediate access to tyre repair services, and encountering rough terrain, sharp debris or wildlife on the road is not uncommon. With long distances between towns and limited phone reception in some regions, a flat tyre can quickly turn into a significant inconvenience or safety hazard. Having spare tyres readily available ensures you can swiftly address any unexpected punctures or blowouts, allowing you to continue your journey without prolonged delays or risks to your safety.

Navigation & Communication Tools

Having the right navigation and communication tools, depending on what your plans are, is absolutely crucial. These items can include:

  • Compass & Paper Maps: Bringing a compass and paper maps on a road trip ensures navigation reliability, especially in remote areas with limited GPS signal. It serves as a backup, providing essential orientation in case of electronic device failure.
  • Power Banks: Bringing a power bank on a road trip ensures you stay connected and powered up, allowing you to charge your electronic devices such as smartphones, GPS units, or cameras, even when off-grid.
  • GPS: Bringing a GPS on a road trip ensures accurate navigation, especially in areas with limited phone network coverage. It provides real-time directions, helps avoid getting lost and enhances overall travel convenience and safety.
  • UHF Radio: If you are 4WDing, bringing a UHF radio on a road trip enables communication with other drivers, relaying important information about road conditions, hazards or emergencies.

First Aid Kit

Of course, little or big accidents can occur, and when they do, you don't want to be caught out with not having the right first aid essentials. Here are the main items every first aid kit should have when it comes to what you need for a road trip:

  • Gauze
  • Insect repellent
  • Band-Aids & bandages
  • Rescue blanket
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors & tweezers
  • Cotton balls
  • Personal medications or prescriptions
  • Disinfectant wipes


When it comes to what to bring on a road trip, it's essential to pack versatile clothing suitable for various weather conditions and activities. Include lightweight, moisture-wicking layers for hot weather such as t-shirts and shorts, as well as warmer options like pullovers and pants for cooler temperatures. Bring a waterproof jacket for unexpected rain, and sturdy footwear suitable for walking or hiking. Don't forget essentials like underwear, socks and sleepwear. If you plan to engage in outdoor activities like hiking or swimming, pack appropriate gear such as swimwear, hiking boots and hats. Opt for wrinkle-resistant fabrics and clothes that can be mixed and matched for efficiency.

Food & Drink

Bringing food and drink on a road trip is crucial for many reasons. Firstly, it ensures you have access to nourishment, especially when travelling through remote areas with limited dining options. Packing snacks and meals can also save time and money, reducing the need to constantly stop at restaurants or convenience stores. Additionally, having a secure supply of water helps keep you hydrated, particularly during long drives or outdoor activities. Packing your own food allows for dietary preferences and restrictions to be accommodated easily. Overall, bringing food and drink enhances convenience, sustains energy levels and promotes a more enjoyable and stress-free road trip experience.

Comfort Items

Comfort items can mean a variety of different things to each person. For example, bringing along a book is a great way to keep comfy and entertained for people who like to read. If you prefer moving images over static words when it comes to consuming media, then something in the form of a moving picture, also known as a 'video' is great, so always make sure you have a portable DVD player or a smartphone along. Comfort items can also include simple things like blankets for extra comfort and warmth, providing shade from sun glare and bringing along some extra pillows for those who like to nap.

How To Prepare Your Car For A Road Trip

Man checking tyre pressure on a 4WD vehicle

Embarking on a road trip is an adventure filled with excitement and anticipation - but ensuring that your vehicle is ready is essential for a smooth journey. Here are the most important things you need to consider when it comes to how to prepare your car for a road trip.

Check Your Tyres

Before embarking on a road trip, start by checking your tyres thoroughly. Begin by inspecting the tread depth using a tread depth gauge or the "penny test" to ensure it meets legal requirements and provides sufficient grip, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Look for signs of uneven wear, bulges or cuts on your tyres, which could indicate potential issues. Ensure each tyre is properly inflated to the recommended pressure (according to your car manual), as underinflated tyres can increase fuel consumption and risk of blowouts. Adequate tyre maintenance is crucial for safe handling, traction and fuel efficiency, particularly on Australia's diverse road conditions, ranging from highways to rugged outback tracks.

Check Under The Hood

Apart from your tyres, you will also need to check under the hood before leaving. This includes checking the engine oil level, ensuring it's at the recommended level and topping up if necessary. Inspect the coolant level and condition, ensuring it's topped up to prevent overheating, especially in hot Australian climates. Check the battery terminals for corrosion and secure connections, ensuring your vehicle starts reliably. Lastly, inspect belts and hoses for signs of wear or damage, as these components are critical for engine operation. Regular under-bonnet checks help prevent breakdowns and ensure a trouble-free road trip.

Check Your Car Brakes

You will also need to thoroughly inspect your car brakes is crucial for safety. Start by checking the brake fluid level, ensuring it's within the recommended range and topping up if needed. Next, visually inspect the brake pads and discs for wear and tear, looking out for uneven wear patterns or excessive thickness. Test the brake pedal for firmness and responsiveness, ensuring it doesn't feel spongy or require excessive pressure. Properly functioning brakes are essential for maintaining control and stopping power, especially on Australia's diverse road conditions, ranging from steep mountain passes to busy urban highways.

Check All The Lights & Indicators

Lastly, inspecting your car lights and indicators is vital for safety. Begin by checking all exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights and indicators, ensuring they are functioning correctly. Replace any bulbs that are burnt out or dim. Test the high beams and fog lights for optimal visibility in different conditions. Also, check the condition of the lenses for any cracks or damage that could obstruct light output. Properly functioning lights and indicators are essential for visibility to other drivers and pedestrians, especially on Australia's vast and often remote roads, where visibility can be reduced due to varying weather and light conditions.

How Often Should You Stop On A Road Trip?

2 People enjoying ocean view from a park bench with a DUNE 4WD 45L Single Zone Fridge/Freezer

When it comes to how often should you stop on a road trip, it's recommended to take breaks every two hours or 200 kilometres, whichever comes first. Regular breaks are essential for several reasons. Firstly, they help combat driver fatigue, which can impair reaction times and decision-making abilities, reducing the risk of accidents. Secondly, breaks allow for stretching and movement, reducing the likelihood of stiffness and discomfort from prolonged sitting. Additionally, they provide opportunities to refresh and refocus, enhancing concentration and alertness behind the wheel. Taking periodic breaks when driving offers chances to hydrate, snack and use toilets, contributing to overall comfort and well-being during long drives through Australia's diverse and often challenging landscapes.

How To Plan A Cross-Country Road Trip?

When it comes to how to plan a cross-country road trip, it is very similar to a road trip. Start by outlining your route, considering attractions, accommodations and driving distances each day. Research road conditions, weather forecasts and any necessary permits or restrictions along the way. Prepare your vehicle with a thorough inspection, including tyres, brakes, fluids and lights. When it comes to what to pack on a road trip, pack essentials like clothing, food, water, emergency supplies and entertainment. Consider petrol stops and rest areas, aiming for breaks every few hours to prevent fatigue. Plan flexible itineraries, allowing for unexpected detours or delays. Book accommodations in advance, especially if you are road-tripping in popular tourist areas or during peak seasons. Share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member for safety. Lastly, embrace the journey, savouring the sights, experiences and memories along the way.

Prepare For Your Next Road Trip At Anaconda Today

Keep these tips in mind when it comes to what to pack on a road trip and ensure that you are fully prepared so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the journey ahead. Make sure you check out our Adventure Centre for more helpful tips and exciting destinations that you can visit with your friends, loved ones and family. If you liked How To Prepare For A Road Trip, then you might also like some of our other articles for awesome destinations and tips such as:

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