Who doesn’t love a road trip? Having the opportunity to spend an unlimited time at a magical place, making wonderful memories with your loved ones, and of course, the adventure! Whilst a road trip provides so much freedom, it is important to plan in advance a few things that might just help make it a smoother trip, so that all you need to worry about is having a good time.
Picking a destination
Researching possible destinations is always our favourite part. There are so many research tools available now such as Instagram, Pinterest, travel blogs, YouTube, so the options for trip planning are pretty much endless. We tend to gather all of the information, put it together on a map and make decisions on what is viable within the timeframe we have, and also what is going to make sense in terms of budget. Looking at specifics such as potential attractions is also key, checking out what free activities we can enjoy in the area and also what can we enjoy within our budget.
Plan for the unexpected
If 2020 has highlighted anything, it is to be prepared for the unexpected. Plans change and it is good to have financial back up in case they do. Thanks to American Express’ new feature Plan It™ Instalments, we were able to fly back to Australia and book a five week Australian road trip. Plan It allows you to pay off your credit card balance across a period that is convenient and flexible for you, with periods ranging from three, six, nine or twelve months, with zero percent interest, and a fixed monthly fee. It has meant that we have been able to prep well for this trip at short notice, plan for all our upcoming activities and just enjoy a true Aussie adventure without any financial stress!
It is available now to eligible American Express consumer Credit Card Members. Set up is easy in three simple steps, just by logging into your Amex account online or through the Amex app.
Prioritizing what is important
Everybody has a different on view on what a fun road trip is! For us, we love to have a mix of sleeping in a 5-star resort, and sleeping under a billion stars in our campervan. We like to cook most of the time in the van, but we won’t feel guilty for buying a good flat white or enjoying brekky at a local café. Know what luxuries are important to you and what you will be willing to splurge a little extra on during your trip.
Do you have a little extra time? Why not tap ‘avoid highways’ and take the slower road. It will probably be more scenic and you will avoid a few tolls along the way. In Australia, tolls can add up pretty quickly at $3 - $12 each time, and so a great way to save some extra cash is to plan ahead.
Pick your travel times
If you are able to travel the longer distances during the week or outside of rush hour times, this will save on fuel consumption and amount of time sat in the car in traffic.
Get your cook on!
Eating cheaply doesn’t mean having to eat badly! The best thing about Australia is you can find free bbqs on the beach in most places, utilise these free spots and cook with an epic view at the same time, or enjoy a picnic outside sourcing fresh Aussie produce. Stock up on snacks when doing a big supermarket food shop for longer drives, pack foods like nuts and granola bars that will help avoid those spontaneous purchases from the petrol station.
Pick where you stop for fuel
Be smart about where you stop to fill up for fuel, use a smartphone app such as FuelChecker to help find the best prices in and around your area. It makes sense to avoid filling up away from bigger cities where it tends to be more expensive to fill up the tank.
Campermate is an absolute must for road tripping across both Australia and New Zealand. It tells us where to find campgrounds, petrol stations, grocery stores, water and everything else you could possibly need access to on a road trip.
For our first few stops during our NSW trip itinerary, we’re checking out some recommended stops south of Sydney, exploring the Sapphire coast and its stunning beauty both inland and by the sea.
Start in Sydney
Pick up your vehicle, whether it is a campervan or car from Sydney and hug the scenic coastline South towards Batemans Bay. This area was sadly affected by the recent bushfires, so heading South and supporting the regional towns is an amazing way to give back to the local communities.
Pretty Beach – Murramurang National Park
Enjoy Pretty Beach campground, it has extremely clean facilities including hot showers and toilets, a washing up area and of course its best feature is that it is right next to the ocean. Our camp spot was a 30-second walk to the beach – the perfect way to start the day. On a good day, you will find some friendly kangaroos jumping on the beach.
Just a 10-minute drive from Pretty each is this gorgeous spot, the Gantry at Bawley Point. Once claimed by the ocean, it has been restored again and is a popular fishing spot, but also the perfect place to sunbathe and take a swim! If you get lucky with a lovely sunny day, you won’t want to leave.
This place is the perfect retreat after a few days in the campervan. Around 3 hours inland is the stunning private getaway Currajong retreat. After surviving the bushfires in early 2020, this unique experience has re-opened its doors. Here it is possible to stay in a private tented accommodation, the views are sensational overlooking a babbling brook down in the valley. Star gazing is a definite must-do activity, and the bath out on the deck is a tub of dreams!
In under an hour, you can be back on the coast with spectacular beaches and turquoise waters. The Sapphire Coast is certainly worth the long drive from Sydney, in winter it is possible to spot whales from the shoreline, and in summer the ocean is the perfect retreat from the warm sun.
Get a card that will cover the cost of your trip and help plan for your future adventures too. American Express’ new Plan It feature allows you to plan for all the expected and unexpected expenses that can come up during your trip.
Thanks to American Express Australia for sponsoring this post.