Your Pre-Road-Trip Checklist

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The modern world offers few surprises. Taking a trip around the world is just a few clicks away– now you can inspect photos, go to the street view on Google Maps and read exhaustive information about locations on Wikipedia. But who can shake off the call to adventure? Every now and then, the road trip itch needs to be scratched, but it requires meticulous preparation. If you decide to jump into your car and take off with a group of friends or family members, here is a pre-road-trip checklist.

How to pack?

If you are going on a road trip for more than two days, you will need two essential items – a bag or a backpack you can carry around and a proper suitcase. The traveling wardrobe goes into your suitcase – two pairs of jeans, a jacket (and a raincoat for possible rain days) and several comfortable shirts (long-sleeved are better than short-sleeved – you can always fold your sleeves).

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As far as underwear and socks go, the number depends on the number of days you will spend on the trip. Put all your toiletries in a single case –a vanity case or a toiletry bag. It is crucial to pack the one made of cloth and nylon so it can take up less space once you put it in the suitcase.

As far as a backpack goes, put all the things you need to keep within arm’s reach inside – your wallet, money, ID, credit card, additional documentation, smartphone/tablet/laptop or all three if you need them.

How to check your vehicle?

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It’s crucial to check your vehicle and tune it up before the trip. First of all, check your car fluids – which include engine oil, brake, power steering and transmission fluids, and coolant. Even the most fastidious drivers forget to check the windshield washer fluid from time to time, so use this as a reminder.

You do not have to be a car expert to know what sort of engine oil you need – when you pop the hood, it should be printed out on the engine. Take a piece of throwaway cloth and use a stick to dip it into the engine oil to check how fresh it is. Smearing the stick across the cloth will show you how dirty the oil is and if it warrants changing. The staining should be minimal and it should not smell burnt. When it comes to reliability, Castrol engine oil is a safe bet.

If the coolant level is low, pour in more antifreeze, and check whether it already comes with a 50/50 water ratio mix. Also, do not forget to check if seat belts, doors and brake lights are in pristine condition. If you come across more than a few minor problems, you should probably go to the local car service shop and get the help of professionals.

How to leave your home?

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You need to secure your household against potential break-ins. Cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries while you are gone or ask the neighbor to collect them for you – a pile of papers invites robbers to your front door. Additionally, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are out of town and put motion detectors on your exterior lights. Secure all doors and windows before you leave, and turn on the house alarm (if you have one). Empty and unplug the freezer and the refrigerator (for long trips) unless someone will be living in your household and taking care of it while you are gone.

How to create a playlist?

Every true road trip has to include a playlist of appropriate songs. Heartland and blue-collar rock, glam and arena rock classics, new age and post-punk revival, as well as (yes, we are going there) country music are just some of the beloved genres of the road. Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Kansas, U2, and the Killers are nearly unavoidable if you are driving along the expansive landscapes. Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Willie Nelson are country favorites that garner a whole new texture around 30 miles per hour.

Road trips are the closest things we have to adventures right now – and just like adventures, they come with a risk of unpredictable situations and even dangers. Go through a checklist of the necessities in order to prepare properly. It will take a little time for preparations before your trip, but better to be safe than sorry.

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

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How to Make the Most of Your Long Australian Vacation

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Have you decided to take the plunge and go on a long vacation in a faraway country like Australia? Well, that’s excellent considering Australia is one of the most gorgeous countries in the world. And while most tourists will say that it’s simply too far away, it’s definitely worth the time, cost and the long flights. However, if you’re considering going to Australia for a vacation you need to make a serious plan for this kind of vacation seeing as it’s simply impossible to see all there is to see in a week. Two weeks is the least you should spend traveling across Australia and even then, good organization is the key. Read on to learn some tips on how to make the most on this trip of a lifetime you’re going to spend in this beautiful country.

How to plan a longer trip

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The first thing you need to take into consideration once you start planning your nice long vacation in Australia is the fact that the country is huge. This means that it’s basically impossible to see the whole country by simply driving from one end of the country to the other. A better way to spend your vacation in Australia is to focus on one type of vacation. So instead of lots of packing and unpacking, spending too much time on airports, bus terminals and long road trips simply decide whether you prefer an adventurous trip, a beach vacation, or maybe something else completely. While it’s difficult to accept the fact that you won’t be able to see everything there is to see, with the time constraint and taking into consideration that this kind of a trip cannot be cheap, it’s definitely better to start planning your trip with some focus in mind.

Places to visit

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As already mentioned, there are plenty of places to visit in Australia and this is why it’s important to prioritize the things you really want to see. If you don’t like going to the beach, skip Bondi beach in Sydney and visit all the museums you’re interested in. Before you start planning your trip, think about your vacation preferences- if you enjoy finding a good place to relax or you are more interested in parties; if you want to visit historical sites or  you prefer adventurous vacations; if you would like to see the cities or maybe the coastal or outback areas or you just want to enjoy Australian food and wine. By defining what you want to see, it’ll be easier to plan your trip and make the most of it by doing the things you enjoy.

Types of travel experiences

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When it comes to vacationing in Australia, there is something for everyone so all you need to do is take your pick. From busy, vibrant cities, quaint and cute small towns, superb wine regions, to amazingly beautiful ancient rainforests, enchanting mountains, amazing reefs, gorgeous beaches, vast deserts and stunningly unique wildlife. One thing is for sure; you’ll never be bored in Australia.

Think about flights and accommodation

Once again, organization is the key to having a full experience once on a vacation. Some of the things you need to pay attention to are accommodation and how you’re going to get to Australia. It’s best to choose the destinations which are the closest to your origin in order to save time and not spend too much of it on commuting. Another important thing to think about is accommodation. If you’re staying longer, and you should stay as long as possible, avoid hotels and hostels as this is costly. Something that you should take into consideration is renting a place while you’re on your vacation. One of the frequently asked questions by travelers is “Can you pay rent with a credit card?” and not only is the answer YES but you might even get rewarded for it by earning points which you can use for flights or vouchers. So renting a place for yourself can be practical both money-wise and organization-wise.

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Stop looking at the pictures of Australia; instead, book those plane tickets, start planning and packing and go on the vacation you’ll probably ever have in your life.

How to Pass Time on a Long Trip

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Sometimes, while travelling for a long time, the hours just seem to drag by. If you get easily bored on a plane, bus or train, why not try some of these tricks to pass the time and arrive fresh and ready to explore? 

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Catch some Zs

Travelling is a great way to get some extra sleep and pass the time. Although it can be a little uncomfortable for the legs, sleeping on a bus or a train accompanied by the rhythms and the sounds of traffic is hands down the best way to sleep. And don’t hesitate to splurge on a sleeping compartment when on the train. There you can stretch your legs and back, close your eyes and just relax as the train lulls you to sleep. If you have some valuables with you, such as a laptop, camera, phone and money, make sure to keep them close to you while sleeping.

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Shoot photos

All professional travellers always carry their camera with them, and so should you. You’ll get to shoot some beautiful nature scenes, cities, villages and people you don’t get to see every day. Your photos are actually one of the most valuable things you can take home from your adventures, and most people cherish them forever. So, have your camera at hand at all times and who knows what kind of masterpiece you’ll create.

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Watch movies

If you happen to fly, most of today’s flights are equipped with an entertainment system, so you can catch up with the movies you’ve missed in the cinema. However, if you’re travelling by bus, you can take your laptop or tablet and fill it with TV shows and movies to pass the time. They are also good airport companions, especially on long layover flights. 

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Make new friends

Travelling alone is perfect for meeting new people and making new friends. Look for other solo travellers who look bored like you, or start a conversation with your seatmate. Who knows, you might meet some extraordinary people, your future BFF or even your soul mate. However, don’t be pushy, as some people just want to enjoy their trip in peace.

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Bring some cards

No matter if you’re travelling with your friends, family or alone, you should always make some extra space for a deck of cards. This way you can play a variety of games with people and even alone. Solitaire, anyone? Cards are also an amazing way to break the ice and start talking to other people. You can also get one of those travel chess boards with magnets and play a game or two.

Enjoy some music

One thing a traveller mustn’t forget to bring is an iPod or an mp3 player. When you’re down and exhausted, music will pick you up and give you the energy to push forward. It will also relax you and fix your mood. Music is also a great way to tune out conversations, crying babies and loud sounds of the plane or train. But if you just can’t ignore the noises in the background, you can get noise-cancelling headphones such as AKG headphones that will completely isolate you from the rest of the world.

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Read a book

Before, it wasn’t so easy to carry two or three books with you at all times, but today, that’s not difficult at all. Even though you might be a fan of the “real deal”, e-books are much more practical for travelling and they can almost fit into your pocket. Any time is good for reading, but if you’re stuck on a plane or a train, it can really save your life. However, it’s not recommended for people who suffer from motion sickness. 

So, remember these, and next time you go on a trip, you won’t be bored or lonely. Bon voyage, traveller!