5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Road Trip in Regional Australia

A Guide for Business Professionals and Leisure Travellers

Road trips are a cost-effective way to get to a regional Australia destination, whether it be for a work trip, or a family holiday. Rather than forking out money for expensive flights, travelling by car can be both convenient and flexible, especially if your destination isn’t too far away.

More and more business professionals are taking to the road for shorter work trips, allowing them some downtime to take in the sights of the great outdoors while they’re on the road.

Holiday makers are also embarking on regional road trips and planning stops along the way to their ultimate destination, to explore little out of the way towns that add interest to the trip.

Below are our top 5 tips to planning the perfect road trip in Australia:

1. Choose the right route for your road trip

Map out the route to your destination before you leave, so you can make detours to see places of interest along the way. Work out the time that it takes to get from one place to another, taking into account traffic at peak times, if you’ll be travelling when people are driving to and from work.

Research what’s happening in the towns you plan on visiting, when you’ll be there. Highlight any attractions or points of interest along the way and work out how long the detour will take you, and how long you plan to spend there. Try to be realistic about how far you want to drive in one day, as Australia is a big country, and it may take you longer to get places than you think. Especially if you keep stopping throughout the day.

Make sure to add regular stops to help you stay alert during your drive and add side trips to your itinerary to make your time away more interesting. To see more of this beautiful country, you may want to take a hike in a National Park, have a swim in the ocean or visit a historic town for some interesting facts about the area. There are so many things to explore in Australia – especially in smaller, regional towns.

2. Prepare your car

When travelling for long stretches on the road, make sure that your car is in good working condition mechanically, as the last thing you want is to have to deal with a break-down en-route. Make sure your tyres are pumped up to the correct pressure and that you have a spare tyre in the boot, your windscreen wipers and lights are working properly, and you have an emergency first aid kit if you’re heading to regional towns where there isn’t easy access to shops.

Consider taking out an RACQ (or NRMA) membership before your trip, in case something goes wrong with the car, and make sure that you service your car before your trip, if you plan on travelling long distances.

3. Pack the essentials

If you’re planning a family road trip, make sure to pack essentials in the car, such as books, toys or personal devices (and chargers) to keep the kids happy, (and headphones to keep the parents happy), and don’t forget the snacks for when everyone gets hungry and there are no McDonald’s or take away shops in the local area. While you’re away, you might find that some motel restaurants offer packed lunches for your trip if you order them the night before.

If you’re travelling for business, make sure you have all the chargers that you need for your portable office set up (and don’t forget them when you leave) and all the phone numbers that you’ll need for your trip. Ask for the wi-fi password when you check-in in your accommodation, and what times the restaurant is open so you can plan any meetings for the day.

Make sure you pack a pair of swimmers (even if you’re a business traveller, as down time is important for productivity) as most accommodation options in Queensland have swimming pools that are usable all year round. And don’t forget the sunscreen and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated!

4. Plan your accommodation in advance

Make sure to book your accommodation in advance, before you leave home. There’s nothing worse than turning up in a town and searching for a place to stay, but finding out there’s a festival on and there’s no accommodation available that night. The last thing you’ll feel like doing is driving another 50kms to the next town, if you’ve already driven for hours that day.

Try to always book your accommodation directly with the motel, as your booking will be more flexible if you need to cancel for any reason and you will also receive the best rates if you book direct, as a lot of motels pay commissions for 3rd party booking sites like booking.com or wotif.com, and they may pass these savings down to you instead.

Check out where your accommodation is on a map, so you can see how far it is to walk/drive into town for dinner, or whether it’s best to eat in the motel’s restaurant, especially if you want to have a couple of drinks and not have to drive back to your room afterwards. Most good establishments will also have a restaurant menu on their website as well, so you can plan where to eat in advance. You could also choose to book accommodation that has a kitchenette, so you can cook your own meals while you’re on the road.

If you’re a business traveller, you can choose accommodation that offers free wi-fi, meeting rooms, multiple power points and ample desk space to allow you to work in your room comfortably. Make sure you give your email address to reception when you arrive, so they can email you your accommodation receipt, and you won’t need to dig through bags later to reconcile your credit card for your work expenses.

5. Have Fun!

Remember that life is about the journey, not the destination. Take in all the sights and discover new things that you’ve never seen before. Enjoy the company of the people you’re with and make sure that everyone is enjoying the trip.

For more tips, tricks and travel information, make sure you subscribe to Southern Cross Motel Group’s newsletters to receive information about special offers at our motels and please feel free to leave any comments below about your recent road trips. You can also connect with us on social media as well. We look forward to seeing you at one of our motels on your next road trip!

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