Think about your favourite Christmas movie for a minute. Most likely there’s a road trip involved in one way or another, of characters trying to make it home for Christmas. And just like a road trip in real life, often there are missed precautions and mishaps that happen along the way. If you’re hitting the road these holidays, here are some handy tips you should consider before making your journey home, in time, and in one piece, for Nana’s pavlova.
Most drives in Australia are going to be a few hours or a couple hundred km’s long, and even if you’re only going a short distance, the mechanics are usually closed for Christmas, so get your car in a few weeks early for a standard check-up. Oil-change, battery check, tire pressure...the lot. The last thing you want to be doing is waiting on the side of the road for a tow, whilst your family is digging in to Christmas lunch.
With the whole family on board, you might also want to take the extra step and have everything on hand that you’d need in case of an emergency. Things like jumper cables, drinking water and food, phone chargers, pre-downloaded gps maps, fire extinguisher, and a first-aid kit.
Get into the Christmas spirit on your road trip and put together a playlist with all those merry tunes. You’ll have hours to spare staring down the highway, so you might as well try and make some fun out of it. From the classics like ‘Jingle Bells’, to the beloved Mariah Carey hit, ‘All I Want for Christmas’, sit back, relax and let these songs fill you with Christmas cheer.
While other parts of the world are checking the forecasts for snow or blizzards in order to prepare for their holiday trip, here in Australia, we’re hoping it’s going to be warm enough for a Christmas morning swim. But with our lovely summer, comes the threat of bushfires, and sometimes dangerous thunderstorms, so do check the weather prior to setting out or you might be caught off guard.
Christmas traffic snarls tend to put your normal weekday peak hour traffic jam to shame. Not only do you have to deal with local crowds getting in those last minute shopping trips, you also have to deal with everyone setting off to see the family. Most people will be finishing up work for the year on the Friday before Christmas, so Saturday 23rd December is shaping up to be the busiest day on the roads, as well as the usual rush on Boxing Day. Morning traffic tends to peak later in holiday periods so travel early in the morning if you can.
Do yourself and your family a favour and make sure the little ones are just as prepared. It goes without saying, but buckle them up like the special Christmas presents they are, and make sure they have something to play with to keep them entertained. They’ll enjoy the drive more and reduce distractions on the driver. And while you’re at it, buckle up yourself before you pull out of the driveway.
Christmas is combined with our summer holiday period and many people extend the trip into a full on family holiday. This usually means loading up the car with everything bar the kitchen sink. But don’t overload your vehicle and make sure to keep your rear view line-line-of-sight clear. Also, remember to leave space for all those presents you’ll be collecting from the family for the way home.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to be an extra vigilant driver over the holidays. There’s a lot more people on the road, both in cars and people getting out and about. Make sure to always be alert and watch out for both pedestrians and cyclists, or you might even hit a friendly little elf.