The traveller’s guide to surviving a road trip

Road trips are probably my favourite way of travelling. There’s nothing quite like taking control of the music from the passenger seat, or listening to the excited chatter while you’re behind the wheel. Yet somehow – while doing 100 km/h down the long, scenic road – something always seems to go wrong. And even if you don’t believe that these little ‘oopsies’ are just part of the experience of a good vacation, there are ways to prevent it, or just make the most of it.

Expect the unexpected with these nifty tips and tricks when you are on the road:

Get your car checked before you leave

Nothing downs a good spirit like when your car breaks down in the middle nowhere. You might save yourself a lot of trouble if you get your car checked prior to your journey.

Basic medical supplies

When you are traveling in South Africa, you are bound to come across a mountain pass somewhere on your journey. This usually means one thing: motion sickness. Always keep a bag of the basic medical supplies in your cubby to keep the headaches, nausea and stomach bugs at bay.

Set up your road trip playlists beforehand

To avoid having a DJ Skippy on your trip, ask everyone to contribute a few songs and make mixed playlists before you leave. That way no one can complain about the music and there won’t be any fights over who gets control over the aux-cable.

Get a backup car charger for your cellphone

This one is essential. Whether it’s maps or music, you will need your smartphone on the road. You might not even have access to power for a few days (if you are camping), and your car charger will become your best friend. Speaking of maps, download your route from Google Maps before you hit the road, just in case signal fails you in the middle of nowhere.

Car cellphone charger

Work out your driving shifts before you leave town

It can be a tricky situation when you find out 2 hours after departing that one of you is night-blind, one can only drive an automatic and the other is uncomfortable with driving someone else’s car.

If you argue before your trip, resolve it before you get in the car

No one can possibly enjoy sitting in silence for hours, even if the music is jamming. Avoid a really long awkward moment by working out your differences before you leave.

Add an extra 20% to your travel budget

No one sticks to their budget on a road trip – ever. Prepare for expensive emergencies and unexpected toll-gates.

Be careful when you choose your travel companions

Just because you are friends doesn’t mean your trip will be hassle-free. Make sure you will be able to survive a long trip with the people you do it with.

It is important to keep in mind that road trips almost never go as planned. There will be traffic, Stop-and-Go’s, and unexpected pit stops. You might get double-booked, forced to take an alternative route or even get sick. Don’t let these minor issues ruin things for you. It is all part of the journey.

Have you experienced near disasters on a road trip? Let us know in the comment section below.

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