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If the thought of hitting the open road and exploring the amazing sights of this vast brown land appeals to you, then maybe it’s time to consider a great Australian road trip in your retirement. Discovering the many hidden treasures of Australia is an extremely rewarding experience and sits high on the bucket lists of many retirees. But to make the very most of your great Australian motor adventure requires some careful planning.
Of course, behind every great plan is a solid budget. Sit down and work out a comprehensive budget well before your trip, taking into account all the major costs like fuel, food and accommodation. The last thing you want happening on your dream trip is to run out of money. You should also consider whether there’ll be any geographic and seasonal cost variations along the way – prices in regional areas and across different states may vary. An emergency fund can be handy for all those unexpected events, but also for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
To make sure your big road trip goes smoothly, you should try to carefully plan your itinerary. Spending time researching your route, possible break locations and fuel refills, as well as all the various destinations and attractions will be time well spent. Checking the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website for seasonal weather patterns will also help make your trip memorable for all the right reasons. Try to avoid wet seasons where flooding could quickly become an issue and times of extreme temperatures.
The next step on your big adventure should be to ensure you’ve got the right vehicle that will stand up to the challenges ahead. This is particularly important if you’re going off-road or towing a van or trailer. A four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle will get you into some truly spectacular parts of the country, while also getting you out of the odd spot of trouble. If you’re not a frequent off-road driver, take a course to help you avoid the usual traps, as roadside assistance may not always be able to save your bacon quickly. Whatever vehicle you’re planning on driving, it’s crucial to get a full mechanical service and to check your tyres (especially the spare) before heading off.
Apart from getting your route and wheels all checked out, it’s worth getting a full medical check-up, as well as optical and dental assessments. Speak with your GP about getting repeat or advanced prescriptions if you need any, as medical facilities could be few and far between out on the road. Make sure you also have a fully equipped first aid kit on-board for minor emergencies. Most importantly, invest in some good health and travel insurance – it could literally be a lifesaver.
Once your transport and health are all sorted, organise for your mail to be collected by someone you trust or get it redirected – burglars love the sight of overflowing mailboxes. Reviewing your past bills will give you an idea of what is likely to come in during your trip. For regular bills, set up direct debit payments, request digital billing or make sure you have access to internet banking on a mobile phone or device.
While being out on the open road and disconnecting from civilisation can be a cathartic experience, it’s important to stay in touch with family and friends during your travels. Mobile phone coverage won’t always be available in remote areas, so keep loved ones posted on your travel plans. It only takes a quick phone call or email when you have a signal. Besides, sharing your adventure is half the fun.
But above all, Enjoy your trip!
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