Your road trip essentials
Planning to hit the open road with friends or family? Before you head out to take in the sights, meet new people, create lifelong memories, make sure you have these road trip essentials.
Before you hit the road
Map out your route
Whether you’re heading out for the day or taking a longer trip, it’s crucial to have a plan in place. Be aware of places you and your passengers would like to visit.
Also – for longer trips – note potential rest stops, places to sleep, and mobile phone dead zones along the way. This may save you and your passengers any unnecessary stress.
Check your car insurance
Having car insurance can be a lifesaver. There are different options and levels of car insurance available, so it’s essential to choose the one that works for you.
Compulsory Third Party Insurance
CTP Insurance is a legal requirement in most Australian states and territories. The only exception is the ACT, where it’s a legal requirement to have a similar policy called MAI (Motor Accident Injuries) Insurance.
CTP and MAI can cover your costs if someone is injured or killed in a car accident you’re liable for. CTP is sometimes automatically included with your registration, but in states like NSW – where it’s sometimes known as Green Slip – you’ll need to organise your own CTP Insurance. If you’re not sure whether this applies to you, check with the relevant roads authority.
Since CTP and MAI cover injuries, having such a policy won’t cover costs related to vehicle or property damage – either to yours or someone else’s. So you should still consider a Comprehensive or Third Party Property Damage policy.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
Comprehensive Car Insurance covers accidental damage caused to your car, as well as liability for damage caused to other vehicles and property arising from the use of your car.
Third Party Property Damage Car Insurance
Third Party Property Damage, often shortened to Third Party, covers costs for damage to other people’s vehicles and property for which you might be liable. It doesn’t cover damage to your own car, except in limited circumstances.
An excellent inclusion for road trips, roadside assistance offers help in an emergency – for example, if you’ve locked your keys in your car, run out of fuel, or it won’t start.
AAMI Roadside Assist can be purchased as an optional cover on top of your Comprehensive Car Insurance.
Check your policy details
Keep a copy of your insurance policy details handy. Having a printed version of the Product Disclosure Statement – which contains your policy details – in the glove compartment is always a good idea.
What to prepare for the trip
Consider what you and your passengers will need for the trip. There are stretches of road that you can drive through for a long time without seeing any signs of life, so make sure you have:
- extra water and non-perishable snacks
- a first-aid kit
- blankets, and
- a satellite phone if you're going off the grid.
Prepare your car
Get your car serviced before your trip. Invest in those repairs you’ve been putting off — those potential issues could put extra strain on your car over a long journey. For example, a small windscreen crack might not seem like a big deal now, but if you’re going to be on the road for hours, it may quickly grow.
In general, before going on a long-distance trip, you should:
- check (and top up, if needed) your engine oil, coolant, and windscreen washer fluid, and
- get any repairs or noises you’ve been ignoring looked at by a professional.
Of course, even with careful preparation, things can still go wrong — you might pop a tyre or lock your keys in the car. Do your future self a favour and consider taking out AAMI Roadside Assist. We provide 24/7 roadside assistance, so you know we’ll have your back whether you need help with flat tyres or batteries, emergency fuel, or lost keys.
Please read the AAMI Roadside Assist Terms and Conditions for full details of benefits and exclusions.
Prepare your tyres
If your tyres are looking a little tired, replace them before the trip. Tyres with worn-out tread make it harder for your car to have a firm grip on roads and gravel tracks. A day or two before you leave, check your tyres’ air pressure and ensure no sharp objects are causing slow leaks. Always carry a spare tyre and a puncture repair kit.
Prepare to do a few repairs
Even if you have prepared better than a boy scout, issues can arise on the road. That’s why brushing up on your basic mechanics is a great idea.
Prepare your cover
Make sure your insurance is up to date. If you’re sharing the load on the road, consider adding extra drivers to your policy. It’s also never a bad idea to check that compulsory policies, like CTP in SA and Green Slip in NSW, are sorted.
Making sure you’re covered can bring you peace of mind when exploring – spend less time worrying about worst-case scenarios and more time enjoying Australia's beautiful scenery!
Road trip essentials
All of our ducks are – mostly – in a row. We’ve got a game plan, coverage and ensured the car is firing on all cylinders. Now all we have left to do is pack.
Food, glorious food
How much you take is dependent on how long you’re travelling. Consider sandwiches, wraps, muesli bars, fruit, and lollies.
Anything else? Yep, chewing gum or mints. Bad breath in a confined space like the car is about as welcome as a hungry Tassie devil at a backyard barbie.
This may seem obvious, but it’s crucial. If there will be any other drivers during the trip, make sure they pack their licenses as well.
Staying hydrated on the road is essential. Remember that the average adult will need two to three litres of water daily to stay healthy, but this varies depending on age and weight. Generally, ensure you have enough for each person plus a little extra, just in case.
Don’t just rely on playing “eye spy”. Having a banging playlist downloaded can safeguard you from streaming blackspots. Loading your favourite TV shows and movies onto a laptop or tablet is a great source of entertainment, especially if you have kids. Remember to bring chargers with car-friendly connections as well.
Bring a first-aid kit
A first aid kit is usually easy to find in most supermarkets or pharmacies. Make sure your chosen option has precisely what you need. Generally, every kit should include:
- an assortment of adhesive strip dressings, adhesive tape and non-adhesive wound dressings
- disposable gloves
- a thermal blanket, and
- plastic bags, scissors, tweezers, sterile eye solution and a first aid booklet.
Other items you should include that may not already come in the kit are:
- bite and sting cream
- travel nausea medication, and
- antiseptic and burn cream.
You can find more info here.
Protect yourself from the sun
You can still get burnt while sitting in a vehicle, so slip, slop, slap for the duration of the trip – hats and sunglasses with polarised lenses will also come in handy. Use car sunshades or towels to cover windows when you’re parked. This will keep the air inside the car cool and filter out harsh light.
Just in case
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Here are items that you’ll (hopefully) never need to use:
- Sick bags for carsick passengers.
- Insect repellent.
- Tissues, wet wipes, and hand sanitiser.
- Rubbish bags.
- Toilet paper, so you can go even if no facilities are around. Just be sure to dispose of your paper thoughtfully.
- A map in case your gadgets – GPS or phones – have a meltdown. The good thing about paper maps is that they don’t run out of batteries.
Meet Kelly and Luke. While they’re just heading into the city for the weekend,
…there’s a chance they will need a few bits and pieces to get them out of a fix.
Your car’s user manual will help you troubleshoot problems and provide information on how to do things, like change a tyre.
Having a spare tyre in the boot is essential for any kind of trip: just remember to check the tyre pressure.
You never know when a first aid kit may come in handy, so pick one up from your local chemist. Keep some spare cash with you for emergencies, like if you lose your wallet and need to buy fuel.
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, right? So chances are, if you’re going to break down it will be in the middle of a downpour.
Looks like Kelly and Luke are ready for their city getaway, but what about Todd and Ming?
They’re going on a longer road trip, so they’ll need to add extra items…
Throw a few litres of water in the boot - you never know when you, or your car, might need a top-up.
Printed maps are super useful as a back-up option if your phone runs out of battery or is out of range.
You might need to add eye drops, painkillers and motion sickness tablets to your first aid kit when driving longer distances.
Todd and Ming are heading into a remote area, so they’ll need a few extras…
Jumper leads can be handy … but not all cars should be jump-started, so always read your manual first!
Always keep oil and coolant in your car in case you need to top them up.
Non-perishable food will keep hunger at bay while you wait for help to arrive.
You’ll want to be as visible as possible on the side of the road, so carry a high visibility vest and reflective hazard triangles.
Add these extras to your kit when travelling through crazy weather…
you break down, you can use a blanket to keep warm in the cold or provide shade in the heat.
Cat litter can help your car get out of icy situations by creating more traction for your wheels.
Snow chains can help to stop your car slipping in the snow, but they should only be used if you know how to fit them properly!
Keep some glass cleaner and newspaper or a rag handy to make sure your windscreen is crystal clear.
Sure, you might be able to fend for yourself if you get a flat tyre or your car battery runs out…
But the good news is, you don't have to! AAMI Roadside Assist provides peace of mind that you've got backup if something happens...or if your tyre changing skills aren’t quite up to scratch… yes Todd, we’re looking at you.
We can respond to calls twenty four seven, so whether it’s your car battery, a flat tyre, lost or locked-in keys, or an empty fuel tank, we’ve got you covered!
You can add AAMI Roadside Assist as an optional extra to your AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance for less than $86 per year.
Exclusions apply. Check the Terms & Conditions for more info. Call our friendly team today on 13 22 44.
On the road
The day has arrived. You and your crew are ready to hit the open road and do some exploring. There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your trip is an enjoyable one.
Learn the local road rules
If you’re travelling to different parts of Australia, know that road rules can vary. It never hurts to brush up on the rules of the road:
Always keep an eye on road signs and observe the speed limit. Check whether there are any interstate quarantine restrictions so you don’t get caught out. Finally, remember that Australia is full of friendly folks; be kind to the locals, and they’ll return the favour.
Know the conditions
If you’re going to be driving through unfamiliar terrain, chances are you’ll encounter challenging road and weather conditions. Stay on top of things and check the weather conditions. Allow buffer time within your itinerary to account for unexpected stops or delays. In the event of extreme weather conditions, follow the advice of local authorities. Local knowledge can be valuable.
Watch out for wildlife
Did you know Australia boasts more native species than any other developed nation? You’ll likely see signs asking drivers to be careful of certain animals within areas, especially in the outback. Pay special attention to these signs, and watch for animals on the road or movement from the edges of the road.
Many of Australia’s wildlife, including kangaroos and koalas, are most active at dusk, so take extra care if you drive at night. If you do hit an animal, try to stay calm. Stop your car safely, and check on the injured animal – if you can do so without risking putting yourself in danger. You can then call the local wildlife rescue group for further assistance – they should be able to provide you with the following steps that you need to take.
Take frequent breaks or change drivers
Have a proper break or switch drivers every two hours, at least. If you feel yourself losing concentration before that two hours, speak up! Even for those who aren’t driving, getting out of the car and stretching can do wonders for everyone’s mental and physical well-being. Being crammed in a car can get old fast!
Keep everyone entertained
It’s true what they say; time flies when you’re having fun! Find different ways to keep everyone occupied while on the road.
Get plenty of rest
When putting together your itinerary, be sure to include days to rest. While it may be tempting to cram as much driving in as possible, you run the risk of driver fatigue, which is incredibly dangerous and a significant factor in several accidents. Get wherever you’re going safely. Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
- How to avoid driver fatigue
- How to check your tyres: are they roadworthy?
- 12 safety tips for learner drivers
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. AAMI Roadside Assist an optional extra only available in conjunction with AAMI comprehensive car insurance. Terms and conditions for coverage apply.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.