5. Surviving life on-the-road!
You’re prepared, got all the tools and spares, checked off your lists, and you’re about to head off. Excellent! Now, a few tips on how to survive your time on-the-road? We once saw a sign when leaving a caravan park which might help. It read:
The first two are quite common mistakes, and we have even seen a situation where the partner was left behind, hopefully, it was only temporary! Life on-the-road can test your mental state at times. Especially after a long days drive, you’re tired, the other campers are into ‘happy hour’ and critiquing your every move as you attempt to back your van into the last remaining spot in, a now, very crowded park. Good fun for those watching, not so for the tired, unpaid entertainment!
Like most things, practice makes perfect, and your backing and setup routine will improve over time. For new campers, we suggest you arrive at a park just after lunch when there is plenty of room to maneuver, you’re fresh and not in a rush. Much better for all concerned, and for your marriage! It means you travel less during the day, which in our book, is a good thing. Take it easy, ‘smell the flowers on the way’.
Ilfracombe Caravan Park, Ilfracombe, Qld
Next, there is a series of tasks which need to be done every time you pull in for a night and again when you pack-up to leave. After a few stops you will have committed essential checks to memory, but when you first start, write them ALL down. Yes, another list!
Take the time to talk to fellow travellers. You will pick up so many important tips and make some new friends, guaranteed. We are constantly amazed when we ‘run into’ people we have met on a trip. It may be three weeks down-the-track and in the most bizarre of places. It is truly uncanny, and lots of fun!
Fellow travellers are also the best source for up-to-date information on road conditions, what to see and do in the area, the best camps, roads to avoid and must-see places. Try not to be too rigid on your timing or direction. We have visited some wonderful places simply by taking a detour suggested by someone we met along the way, like Lake Maraboon near Emerald in Qld, Daly Waters Pub in NT and Eighty Mile Beach in WA – the list goes on.
Finally, check the online weather forecasts every day. This has saved us on many occasions. It is no fun packing up in the pouring rain or heading off into a howling headwind. Staying an extra day may make all the difference, and be a lot safer.
This is a beautiful country with lots to see, and we truly hope you enjoy the adventure. Safe travelling.