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Testing the waters of road tripping in the great outdoors

The Mercedes-Benz-based EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape for an all-Australian adventure.

Your Life

Testing the waters of road tripping in the great outdoors

BRUCE McMAHON offers some good advice for newcomers to the camping, caravan and motorhome scene.

Thinking about taking to the highways and byways for a solo adventure? For well-prepared and dauntless trippers, these days there’s a fresh, cost-effective option for heading out with a hire caravan or motorhome to explore the country.

Camplify is a peer-to-peer platform that allows owners to rent out recreational vehicles (basically anything on wheels that has beds) when not in use.

And it’s a win-win, Camplify’s Justin Hales says, with owners enjoying the delights of van, campervan and motorhome ownership while also earning from hires. Hirers get the use of an RV without ownership costs or the hassle of storage or maintenance.

So, once the hire van or motorhome’s been sorted and booked, it’s time to plan the trip.  When moving out solo, it takes a little more thought, beginning with a rough plan of where you’re headed. It’s easier to know which way to head and better to sort out rest and camp breaks.

Before leaving, carefully research the route. If driving solo, there won’t be anyone to help with maps: make sure maps and GPS navigation are set up beforehand. Camplify also recommends letting someone know your itinerary and expected arrival times. This will take the pressure off having to message them once you arrive in camp.

It’s important, especially if out on your lonesome, to pack a safety kit with first-aid supplies, maybe a couple of cans of baked beans or such, plenty of water and basics including a torch and tools.

Leave travel plans with someone back around home base and keep in touch with the family, while being ready to make some new mates along the road.

Pack reasonable gear for any outdoor activities (thongs are great for communal shower blocks, but no good for mountain climbing), sort out a music playlist, and maybe grab some audiobooks and podcasts to help on long stretches.

If there’s no one to share the drive, Camplify recommends regular breaks as fatigue while driving can be quite dangerous. Avoid driving late at night and try to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep before setting out on a long drive.

Before heading off, make sure there’s a good amount of charge on your phone. Most of Camplify’s vans will come with car chargers to use while driving. So, before hitting the road, find this within the hire vehicle and put it somewhere easily accessible while driving.

Use the phone, texts and emails to regularly check in with family or friends to update them on your whereabouts. If possible, share your location with a friend or family member so they can keep up with where you are, even when you might struggle to connect in remote areas.

While the Camplify crew suggests “embracing the spontaneity and flexibility of any solo travel, remaining open to new experiences, new friends and opportunities”, there’s also the recommendation to keep van doors locked, even when driving or inside the vehicle. If stopping overnight, stay in a secure camping location and, if camping off road, make sure to share your location with someone before setting off to sleep.

If feeling that something isn’t right when parked up for the night, take precautions to ensure you stay safe. If feeling unsafe, find somewhere new or make contact with someone near to you.


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