A friend of Susan’s recently asked her for some advice. She’s wanting to take 6-12 months off work and is thinking about doing a lap of Australia. “Where should she start?”, she’s asked.That’s a big question! It got me thinking and reminiscing about the start of our planning and what our main decisions were. These were the things that we talked about, and changed our minds about, the most!
It came down to two T’s: Timing and Transport.
Timing and playing with the weather
Timing is everything! How long do you want your trip to be? You probably have some things that which will restrict the time that you can spend on the road, including work or family commitments and the amount of money you have to fund the trip.
The other timing consideration is time of year. There are definitely some times to avoid in certain parts of the country. For example, you’re best avoiding the top part of the country in the height of summer, as it’s their “wet” season; prone to cyclones and extremely hot and humid. You’ll probably also want to avoid some parts of Australia in winter, unless you’re keen on seeing snow!
Our timing was influenced by several elements. The amount of time we had to work for before the trip to save enough money, the amount of money we could save in that time impacted the amount of time we had on the road and finally work commitments determined when we could leave.
We were initially hoping for 12 months on the road, but quickly realised we wouldn’t have enough money. We found a great budget spreadsheet by Expedition Australia, which helped us to work out how long we could travel for with the amount saved.
As we were starting our trip in March, we decided to head in an anti-clockwise direction, so that we arrived in the Kimberley region at the start of the dry season. The flaw in our plan was the unseasonably cold and wet winter towards the end of our trip. There will always be the unexpected!
Transport and your travel style
Your transport options are varied! Camper van, sedan, four wheel drive or even combi van? What you choose will have influence on where you can travel to (you may be restricted to sealed roads), how you will sleep and how much “stuff” you can take with you. Think about whether you want to take your home where ever you go (camper van), whether you want to tow (caravan or camper trailer) or if you want to camp (a larger all wheel drive or four wheel drive might be better).
Make sure you keep in mind what you’ll need to take with you, as your transport option will need to have enough space to fit it all in!
For our trip, we contemplated just about every option and discussed the pro’s and con’s of each. In the end we settled on a four wheel drive and camping, as we really wanted to get off the beaten track and escape the tourist crowds. We wanted to see the heart and essence of Australia. And also keep our travel costs down!
So let’s get started
So your task to get you thinking about your road trip is to answer these three questions:
- How long do you want to go for?
- When do you want to go?
- How do you want to travel?
Talk to the other people who’ll be travelling with you when coming up with your answers, and write down your thoughts so you can refer back to it as you progress.
So that’s our two T’s to start you planning your big trip. In our next post we’ll introduce you to our three P’s, to really get your preparations underway!