The great Summer roadie is something of a Kiwi tradition. When the weather warms up, we hit the roads! If that is what you have planned here are a few tips to follow during the all-important planning stage:
- Make sure your vehicle is up to the task. While your car might be fine for around town travel, does it have the legs to go the distance on a long New Zealand road trip? A car service is essential if you decide to use your own vehicle. Or it might be a smart idea to hire a car for more space, reliability and performance. Booking a car rental in NZ will make for a much more comfortable and less frustrating road trip.
- Download apps. Put some apps on your smartphone to make your roadie an easy and enjoyable experience. The NZTA app gives you real-time information on road closures and roadworks, meaning you can allow more time if your route needs to be changed. You can also obtain tourist information about your next destination e.g. best places to eat, what attractions are close to your accommodation, landmarks and attractions.
- Make your car a fun place. Young passengers don’t take long to become bored on a road trip and their “are we there yet?” complaints can become tiresome and distracting for you, especially if you’re driving. Before you leave home, ensure you have plenty of family-friendly activities for those in the back seat of the car and get your kids to choose their favourite books, games and other portable but quiet activities.
- Pack water and snacks. The last thing you want when you’re trying to drive is hungry passengers demanding to be fed. Pack healthy snacks to compensate for the less-healthy holiday food you’ll be consuming once you reach your destination. Fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them before you leave each day so you have plenty of cold water for the ride. As the driver, it’s important you stay hydrated as this will keep you energetic, alert and better able to concentrate on your driving.
- Learn about your destinations. Before you arrive at your accommodation, be it a motel, hotel, AirBnB or holiday park, call them and ask for local knowledge. While travel guides will give you general info about each destination, the people who actually live in these places will tell you where to visit, where to eat, where to get a great coffee, and all of the other essentials you need to know.
- Make your home OK while you’re away. Before you leave, make your home secure. Tell your neighbours you’re embarking on a summer roadie and ask if they can keep an eye on your house and empty your letterbox; a letterbox stuffed with junk mail is a sure sign you’re not home and that is a signal you don’t want to send to the wrong people. Leave a pair of old shoes by the front door, and hang op shop clothes on the washing line to give the impression that someone is home. Mow the lawns and weed the garden before you go, and if it’s within your budget, invest in timers to turn your lights on and off automatically. Finally, ask a neighbour or friend to park a car in your driveway – that’s another way of giving people the idea that you’re home and not hundreds of kilometres away.
These simple steps will make your summer roadie a cool experience. But don’t forget, it won’t be cool if your car lets you down so book in that service or think seriously about hiring one.