Nothing beats the sense of freedom you get from tossing a backpack into your car and hitting the open road for a road trip. As an Australian, you’re spoiled for choice with road trip destinations. You can choose between endless stretches of outback, stunning coastline drives, exploring forests and mountain ranges or just soaking up the pastoral serenity of the rural areas.
But before you get into your car and pump up your road trip playlist, check that you haven’t left the following nine important things behind.
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1. Spare tyre
Check your spare tyre before you hit the road and ensure that it is properly inflated. Also ensure your car is equipped with a tyre changing kit. If your car’s wheels have lock nuts, check whether the key required to remove them is in your vehicle, and get hold of one if it isn’t.
2. Breakdown kit
Stock up on the stuff you’ll need in the event your car breaks down. Booster cables and a warning triangle should be standard equipment. Packing some extra engine oil and a tyre pressure gauge is also a good idea.
3. Phone charger
The smartphone is one of the most important accessories on a modern road trip. It’s your map, your music collection, your connection to your loved ones and a flashlight all in one. So never bank on your phone’s battery holding up between stop-off points. Rather, double check that you have a phone charger packed, and if you buy one, make sure you test it before you set off on your trip.
4. Paper map
It may seem prehistoric, but there are a number of reasons you don’t want to rely only on a digital navigation app when travelling around Australia. For those moments where you may find yourself without power to your phone, or a signal to download maps on your phone’s navigation app, you are going to need a backup. Don’t dig up your parents’ old paper map either – get the latest version of the map for your planned route to ensure the road systems are all up to date.
This is especially important if you’re hitting the outback. A hip flask won’t do the job here – instead think of packing at least one 25 litre jerry can of water in your vehicle.
Even if you’re not going to be camping, pack a blanket. You’ll be thankful if you find yourself sleeping in your car overnight for any reason. If you own a sleeping bag, pack one of those instead.
Keeping cash handy will save you from having to turn around and find an ATM if you come across at one of Australia’s older card-less or tag-less toll roads. It will also help you if you run into a rural outpost that dispenses petrol or other commodities but doesn’t accept bank cards.
8. Toilet paper
This humble item should accompany you on any road trip. The vast expanses of Australia’s wilderness do not come equipped with air-conditioned restrooms, and we’d advise against attempting to replace this item with local vegetation, which could easily include a handful of hostile flora, like nettles.
9. Insect repellent
Australia’s mosquito population has devised an inventive arsenal of exotic and hazardous tropical diseases that it is eager to unleash on unwary travellers. Ensure you have a couple of full containers of insect repellent packed to keep these pests at bay.
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