HOW TO AVOID ROAD TRIP FAILS

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A road trip is one of the most liberating ways to travel – it’s just you, your vehicle and the open road. Having said that, because it’s just you, your vehicle and the open road, if things go wrong on the trip, your adventure can swiftly arrive at a dead end.

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Don’t let technology lead you astray

A scenic route in the wrong direction

While on a self-drive safari in Namibia, I unwittingly exited a petrol station onto a different road than I’d entered from. I happily trundled westward through mile upon mile of brilliant landscapes before my satnav unexpectedly suggested I take a rather a rough-looking dirt trail. I soon realised that I hadn’t been on the B1 north to Waterberg Plateau Park, but the B2 headed west to the coast. Before making a U-turn to avoid an epic corrective detour, I pulled off the tarmac and reprogrammed my satnav. Thankfully, my mistake was a scenic one and didn’t cost me more than an hour.

Pro tipWhen road-tripping in Namibia (or any other remote destinations), always programme your satnav to allow for U-turns. If you don’t, a wrong turn may result in a 1000km detour.

 

Hot-air balloons over the rocky landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey, trip

A simple 2WD isn’t going to make it over this terrain © Olena Tur / Shutterstock

An Off-road adventure trip is for every vehicle

We were driving in Cappadocia, Turkey, searching for a trailhead when we came across a soft, sandy and exceedingly steep track. We drove down gingerly, wondering even as we did so if we’d make it back up again in our cheap hire car. After our hike, our fears were realised: we couldn’t get enough traction to climb back up the track. We coaxed the engine, shifted stones and debris out of the way and tried a few expletives for good measure. Eventually, we took everything but the driver out of the car and managed to grind out just enough momentum to get going.

Pro tip: Don’t always go for the cheapest option; think about the terrain and hire a suitable vehicle to avoid the false economy of having to call out help.

Car driving through the outback, Australia. Trip

Driving in Australia presents unique challenges, from navigating outback terrain to avoiding hitch-hiking critters © ronnybas / Shutterstock

Watch for unwanted stowaways (especially of the eight-legged variety on the trip)

I once spent six weeks on a road trip in Australia from Sydney up to Cairns with another Brit and a couple of Canadians, so space in the car was at an absolute premium. One day, as the two Canadian girls and I were unpacking some stuff from the boot at the beach, we came across an unwanted passenger – the biggest huntsman spider you’ve ever seen in your life crawling across our Esky cooler. Honestly, I don’t think three people have ever moved so fast and even a couple of burly Aussies we tried to enlist for help refused to go anywhere near the car!

Pro tip: When traveling through Australia, be prepared to come across things that utterly terrify you. Oh, and make sure you don’t leave your car boot open so unwanted critters can sneak in in the first place.