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The long road survival guide: Everything you need to know

Planning a long road trip is daunting and exciting at the same time. Picture: Pexels.

Planning a long road trip is daunting and exciting at the same time. Picture: Pexels.

Published Dec 23, 2021


Planning a long road trip is daunting and exciting at the same time. Depending on the route you take, you may get to see some of the country's most scenic landscapes. Whether you are travelling from Durban to Johannesburg or East London to Cape Town, here are some tips travellers should know when planning their long road trip:

Get 8 hours sleep a few nights before departure

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Try to get 8 hours of sleep before your trip, especially if you are the one driving. Being well rested keeps you alert on the road. If you can, get someone to assist with the driving, and alert your insurance company accordingly.

Leave early

Try to start the trip early (before 5am is ideal) as it gives you time to get to your destination during daylight hours. Factor in your stop times and activities along the way, so you don't end up getting to your accommodation too late.

Stop every 200kms

Some people love to drive straight to their destination, but this isn't ideal for their body or vehicle. Taking regular breaks to fuel up, eat or use the toilet helps keep the mind active. You also get to stretch your legs and take in some fresh air.

Playlist goals

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Create a playlist for the journey that suits everyone's preferences. Try to steer away from music that will make one fall asleep. Instead, opt for upbeat music, audiobooks or entertaining podcasts.

...Or play a few games

Games are also fun on road trips. The games like Spot The Car (in which you count how many of your vehicle brand are on the road) and quizzes are sure to keep everyone's energies up.

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Make accommodation plans ahead of time

Do not be spontaneous with accommodation, especially during the peak holiday season. Call and pay for your stay ahead of time to avoid any surprises. The last thing you want is to stay in your vehicle (which may be unsafe and illegal) or drive through the night. Having a plan where to stay also eliminates unwanted hours in your road trip.

Carry some cash

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Carry cash for your toll roads or other places where cash isn't accepted. It also comes in handy if you wish to tip the fuel attendant, a car guard or a staff member at your hotel.

Pack the essentials

Besides some padkos, carry a first aid kit, ensure that your spare tire is in order, and tick off other essentials needed for the long trip. Bring bottled water to hydrate along the way.

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