Now we’re well into 2016, now is the time to be planning that next trip. It doesn’t have to be ‘The Great Escape’; a weekend away is sometimes all you need to clear the cobwebs and get you thinking about what you like doing, rather than what you despise. And while many people complain about the huge expanse of time since their last holiday, far fewer have actually done anything constructive about it, like some low level planning to get an idea off the ground. Put simply, if you are not thinking about your next trip, it will never happen!
So what can you do about it? For starters, put a stake in the ground and identify a few timeslots during the year when your life can accommodate time away from your normal activities. For some, this may be limited to a period of low activity such as the Christmas shutdown period. If school children are involved, school holidays will be the key driver. Or, if you are retired and planning a trip north, earmark the touring season.
With a few loose dates in mind you can begin the low level planning, considering location, budget and things you’d like to do. Resources such as magazines, online portals and even social media are a great resource for identifying areas of interest. I like to keep a scrapbook of destinations that have caught my eye. This can be in hard copy or a computer folder to save links to blogs, photos or even YouTube clips.
For those who get a little stressed by the whole idea of planning, my hot tip is to hop straight into it and flesh out some ideas. By dedicating just a few minutes to a ‘brain dump’ of ideas, you’re not burdening yourself with what may otherwise be considered a massive job. And often, that’s just enough to get the juices going. The more research you do, the more you’ll be thinking about the trip and before you know it, it’s wedged in your subconscious as something you’re going to do!
What sort of accommodation do you want – bush camping or holiday parks? And what activities interest you? Your scrapbook will be the jewel here, as you may have already identified camping spots and activities from your previous research and filed them away. Bookings will be required for the peak holiday seasons, so take that into account.
Budget will be a key driver for many adventurers and given that fuel is one of the most significant costs in a touring trip, consider where you can go that won’t break the bank. I remember when we used to cram as much travelling as we could into each trip. Okay, so we were a little younger back then and we lived for touring and racking up huge days behind the wheel. These days, it’s more about the relaxation element, enjoying good company, food and maybe a bottle of vino after a day of leisurely activity. Point being, you don’t have to travel huge distances for a relaxing break.
As far as destinations go, we’re spoiled for choice where we live, South Australia, with the Murray River, beaches of the Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre peninsulas, Flinders Ranges and the gateway to the outback virtually on our doorstep. Like many people, we have our favourite destinations that we can return to time and time again: Coffin Bay National Park, Flinders Ranges, and the deserts – just to name a few. So what are your favourites?
The joy about return trips is they often involve relatively little planning, as you’ve done it all before. But don’t get too complacent. National parks can be closed from time to time for pest control, back burning and fire damage.
Caravan parks can be booked out by community groups and then there are road closures from weather events. One of my biggest lessons learned is about relying on high level maps for trip planning. Just because there is a line on a map doesn’t mean it will be open or traversable at your time of travelling. Verify any route through reliable resources. Contact the relevant road authorities, national parks, nearby roadhouse and tourism offices in the region and confirm your route is viable. In remote areas, a road closure can create a lot of back tracking and dependencies on existing fuel and supplies.
Well folks, I hope that’s encouraged you to start thinking about your next adventure. Remember, you can only reap what you sow, so get into it and start your trip planning today.
See you on the trails.