- Commit to a date.
By picking a date straight away, you’re saying that you take your own personal relaxation and fulfilment seriously. Think about this way: we write dates on calendars, set alarms and reminders on our phones and stick notes on fridges to remind us to submit a boring form or to trudge up to the shops to get toilet cleaner, but we rarely go to the same lengths to remind us to enjoy our own lives. These reminders in some ways are more important when it comes to road trips and touring holidays because they take a lot of planning if you want to get away for a week or more. Just because off-roading and camping are leisure activities doesn’t mean they happen on their own, so committing to a date makes your trip non-negotiable and allows you to work backwards.
- Start with your highlights.
Whether you’re planning an overnighter or a month-long epic, it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget to prioritise the things you want to see and do most. This is true for places you’ve never been to as well as haunts you come back to again and again. Research is key when you’re embarking on a journey you’ve never done, but the list of places you plan visit and things you want to see and do can sometimes get out of control – which makes it important to rationalise them to ensure you don’t miss out on the really important spots (and give you the time to enjoy them).
On the flip side, just because you’re heading to Bonnie Doon in September for the tenth time in ten years doesn’t mean you should just keep greasing the same grooves over and over – try to step out of your comfort zone and find something new to engage you and build some new memories. Either way, it’s a good idea to write down your ‘must-haves’ and involve whoever else is going, then you can build the rest of the journey around achieving those big-ticket items.
- Put a price on it.
Happiness has no price tag but finding it often does. It’s understandable that you might want to avoid turning trip planning into more work, but it’s also lazy to think that considering budgets won’t help make the adventure better. In fact, you’ll often find that starting a list of costs and considerations will dispel your discomfort and get you more engaged in the trip once you know what you’re facing.
By accounting for accommodation, any new or replacement gear you need as well as fuel and food, you get an idea of what you’re in for; plus, it’s a natural way to start thinking about the trip on a more granular level, ensuring you don’t miss a trick in the planning phase.
- Book it in.
As well as camping permits, plenty of places throughout Australia require permits to travel through them. Check the places you’re heading to and make sure you’ve got all your bases covered. This will give you peace of mind and remove the possibility of last-minute scrambles or permits not getting approved in time. Not only that, but caravan parks, cabins and full-on accommodation get booked up quickly in peak periods, which means waiting to book can sometimes leave you missing out on your favourite option (or even missing out altogether in some instances).