With remote work becoming more available since lockdown, and the popularity of road trips rising in 2021, it makes sense that we’re all planning to hit the road and seek an adventure we’d normally just fly straight over.
The downfall, though? Finding a road trip buddy who’s schedule lines up with yours. The whole reason I started travelling solo in the first place was because I got sick of waiting for everyone else to get organised — now I love it.
Solo road tripping is a whole new beast, but as long as you do it right, a very fun one. I’ll leave you to sort out what’s going in your suitcase for your particular destination (but this Aussie weekender guide is a good place to start, or this Uluru packing list if you’re heading to the Red Centre), but wherever you’re heading there’s a few things you’re going to want in your car.
After this, all that’s left to do is pick a direction, although here are some of the best Aussie road trips for solo drivers for inspo.
#1 Lots of water
Do yourself a favour and hit up Woolies before you go. You can get a big 10 litre water container for about $4.
Honestly, even if you’re not particularly going off the beaten track you never know when you’re going to get stuck without anything to drink.
I just drove from Tamworth to Byron Bay and got very stuck on Armidale Road, the longest, windiest piece of shit road (it’s actually super beautiful, just annoying as hell). There wasn’t really even a cul de sac to pull over in, let alone a servo or cafe for close to two hours). My measly 500mL water bottle had run out just before and I just didn’t realise I’d have to wait so long.
On the same note, having snacks and even a few things for a picnic lunch changed my life on day two of my most recent drive. I simply cannot eat THAT much McDonald’s.
#3 A pillow
If you’re lucky enough to have a whole camper van, obviously you’ll already be well equipped for this. Even if you just have a regular car though, trust me and pack a pillow.
I personally don’t like to plan my overnights, I just drive for as long in a day as I feel like I can handle then pull up at the pub/hotel in the next small town. You may be more of a planner, but my advice remains the same.
Driving solo can be tiring, very tiring. Sometimes you feel like a little nap would revitalise you, sometimes you you can’t find a room when you are absolutely done driving for the day. If you end up getting stuck sleeping in your car, a pillow is going to make the whole thing more pleasant.
#4 Audiobooks or podcasts
You know when you see someone in a car flapping their mouth and clearly jamming along to their music? That’s absolutely me. Singing to a good song keeps me awake, don’t ask me why.
This last road trip, though, I discovered that a good audiobook not only keeps me awake, it makes the drive go way faster.
Three hours passed like they were nothing listening to Picnic At Hanging Rock on Audible. Also yes, I know I’m super late to this book but can we just talk about how bloody creepy and depressing it is? I wasn’t at all prepared.
#5 A phone holder for the car
I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a far nicer car than my own for my most recent trip, meaning it had one of those fancy inbuilt map screens (and aircon, hallelujah). I still brought my stick on phone holder though. It just made it easier to ask Google to check my directions, or make a call, hands-free.
If you don’t have a fancy inbuilt map thing and your sense of direction is as non-existent as mine, then you’ll obviously need this to see where you’re going.
#6 Backup maps
This is Australia, and you can loose reception at the drop of a hat. See above re: my absolute lack of a sense of direction to know how much of a problem that can be for me. So I need backups.
Now, that can just mean downloading your map route so you can keep doing it offline — Google Maps has this function, I also like the Maps.me app — or going old school and bringing a big old printed map. Hell, do both.
(Lead Image: Pexels / Simon Berger)