This post is brought to you with Nissan
Over the years, I’ve been on some epic road trips. Particularly memorable drives include from Melbourne to Byron Bay for New Year’s Eve one year, stopping along the coast for swims on the way. I’ve also had some major road trip fails. Miscalculating how long a drive would take and ending up arriving at a little bed and breakfast at about 1am in the morning wasn’t my finest moment.
Through all my adventures, I’ve learned there are a few things that turn what can essentially be just a long and tedious drive into a truly memorable road trip.
1. Plan your route
As tempting as it can be to just plug in your destination and take the fastest route possible, it’s worth putting a bit of thought into this. I like to plan my holidays around food and as far as I’m concerned, the holiday starts as soon as I’m in the car. So you can be sure I will have worked out exactly which cafe to get that crucial first coffee from, as well as which little town to stop in for lunch. I like to check out local blogs to find out where to go, and websites like Zomato, Broadsheet and Good Food are also handy. Favourite recent destinations have included driving around the Rutherglen wine region in Victoria and from Cairns to Port Douglas in Queensland.
2. Sort out your playlists and podcasts
Once you leave the city, reception can be patchy so it’s best to get organised with your music and podcasts ready to go. This past month I’ve been driving around in a QASHQAI, a compact SUV from Nissan, so I was sorted for music as NissanConnect includes Pandora® radio capability. Whatever streaming service you use, make sure to actually download some songs for those times when you’re out of range.
This past year, I’ve also become pretty obsessed with podcasts and love listening to them on long drives. My favourites include Serial (true crime from the United States), Revisionist History (author Malcolm Gladwell always makes you see things in a different way), and Chat 10 Looks 3 (Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales talk books, TV and baking).
3. You can never have too many snacks
As I said, the holiday begins once you’re in the car so make sure you have some good snacks to keep you fuelled for the drive. It’s hard to go past a bag of lollies, but I also like to pack some fruit and nuts so that I’m not totally sugared out.
4. Fuel up
Do all the boring stuff like checking oil and tyre pressure and filling up fuel before you hit the road. I was actually amazed at the Nissan QASHQAI when it came to fuel. The shiny red model I borrowed ran on diesel and so its fuel economy was amazing. 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres, which is pretty incredible compared to my normal car which is around 7 litres per 100 kilometres. There was much less stopping needed and more cash to spend on food and accommodation rather than at petrol stations!
5. Timing is everything
Whatever you do, you won’t want to spend the first hour of your road trip sitting in bumper to bumper traffic so don’t set off at peak hour. I used to love heading off on a road trip really early in the morning (like 6am!) to beat the traffic and feel like I’d made a really good dent in the drive early on. Now that I have kids, I time my road trips around their sleep times to try and make sure they are napping while I drive. It means much less cries of “are we there yet?!”
Thanks to Nissan for partnering with me for this post.