As a self-proclaimed ‘experienced’ roadie traveller who has witnessed her fair share of both successful and unsuccessful trips, I have compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts when it comes to planning your summer road this year.
Keep in mind that my 2019 summer roadie ended with myself and 10 of my friends showing up at my university friend’s family home in Tauranga on her 19th birthday, begging her parents to take us in after a drunken Bay Dreams adventure left me scorched with sunburn and my unbathed friends dripping with sweat. God bless her mother for letting us homeless souls crash in the living room that night.
While the appeal for an unplanned, spontaneous adventure is high, this usually ends in disaster and someone getting lost. Make plans of where you will sleep each night, even if that’s in your car. Make sure that everybody is agreed upon what time to get up before they go to sleep at night. If you want to get on the road by 8am, you need to tell the one guy that likes to sleep until noon. Ensure that everyone has a plan of when they’re going to eat and what you’re going to be eating. After a week of takeaways or steak and potatoes on ‘cooking nights’, I was craving a vegetable harder than a white girl craves a Scrumpy.
On the other hand, don’t over-plan everything. You need to be realistic with your time, and over-planning will only lead to disappointment when you’re unable to fit everything in. It’s important to realise that there will be delays, road works and somebody’s crummy Corolla will break down on State Highway 2. This brings me to my next tip. . .
About a week before the road trip, have a mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires and anything else that could cause a problem on the road. Also ensure that your spare tire is fully inflated. I’ve heard of friend’s cars breaking down and them having to make embarrassing calls to their parents in order to be picked up – not an ideal way to end your summer. Make sure that your car is clean too. There is nothing worse than being crammed in the back next to unwashed teenage boys, with empty pizza boxes and banana peels decaying at your feet.
Please fill up your car. It can be tempting to put off fuelling up and wait for the next station. But if petrol is low and you don’t know the roads well, don’t put it off. Get petrol as soon as you need it and don’t rely on your one friend Mike who claims he knows his car. You don’t Mike, and you’re going to get us stranded.
Take turns with who is driving, cooking or handling Google Maps. Some people may be naturally more gifted at meal planning, while others think that McDonald’s for the fourth night in a row constitutes a stable diet. Make sure that everyone is contributing equally, both physically and financially. Split the cost of meals, petrol and other costs fairly. Otherwise, you are bound to experience some falling out in the friend group over some grudge stemming from $5.60 never being paid back for booze.
Even when sharing the work, don’t let your friend with a restricted licence, or your mate who believes he’s the ‘world’s best drunk driver’ have a turn behind the wheel. Follow the law but do feel free to make fun of the mate that’s been on their learners for three years and still has their mum drive them everywhere.
Have a sorted roadie playlist for those long car trips, because eventually the radio will turn to static. It’s important to keep in mind that just because your trip includes seeing the Sticky Fingers show in the Coromandel, doesn’t mean you need to listen to their entire musical history for the weeks of road-tripping beforehand. Diversify your music taste and include something for everyone – even that one friend who’s still into Taylor Swift.
This one is harsh. Just because someone was your study buddy in ‘Intro to Marketing’ doesn’t mean you’re destined to spend two weeks crammed in a car next to them. Don’t underestimate the amount of time and closeness you’ll be experiencing with the people you’re road-tripping with. Make sure they’re cool, and you’re cool too – this could potentially help you figure out who you’re willing to flat with next year, too.
Road trips can be great fun, and you really don’t need to worry about the rules in the end. Enjoy watching those early morning sunrises with your besties or getting blazed with Home Brew at R&V. Make this summer roadie yours, stay safe and try not to get 3rd degree burns and alcohol poisoning at your favourite music festival.