Heading away on a trip is always an adventure, whether that be a day trip somewhere, a weekend escape, or something longer. Unfortunately, most of us don’t really adequately prepare for what may happen or go wrong on a trip. For most of us, we are lucky and things largely go to plan, although this reinforces the perception that we don’t need to be prepared for anything that could go wrong.
I’m going to highlight 3 key areas where I think that people could do better on their trip planning to help them get the most from their trip. This is just my personal opinion but I’d love to hear yours – comment below.
Many of us really don’t think about a medical evacuation plan. I.E – if someone really gets badly hurt or bitten by a snake or similar how we would deal with that. Sure, we may have a first aid kit, but do we know how to use it? Do we know where we will have mobile reception to call for help, or where our satellite phone will work (hint – in undulating or mountainous terrain you may need to be on top of a feature for the phone to work), what about the location of the nearest hospital, and have you identified a likely (easily identifiable) place where you can marry up with an Ambulance or even land a Helicopter? We all assume everything will be OK, but giving a bit of thought to some of these practicalities before you head away will put you in a much better place to be able to handle a serious injury if it happens.
The second thing that a lot of us don’t do is adequately prepare our equipment appropriately for what may go wrong. While most of us like to go off-road as much as we can, for the majority it tends to be limited to a few times a year. And that means equipment sits around which is not always good for it.
How many times do you see a trailer break down on the freeway, probably because the wheel bearings weren’t checked despite the fact it had been sitting in the elements for months without use. Did you know that your winch needs to be run every month to help avoid moisture corroding the electric motor? Preventative maintenance is key, as well as having a plan if things don’t go to plan. It can be as simple as inspecting your gear thoroughly – are there any leaks, are the suspension bushes OK, are any electrical cables damaged?
It is a balance too, because you can’t carry every spare possible – the key is to make sure everything is serviceable, carry some gear to keep you moving for minor issues, and again have a plan if you get stuck or breakdown, whether that is someone more knowledgeable than you, or a Roadside assistance or recovery service. Make sure you understand where key water supplies will be, where the is mobile reception, the location of key towns or farms if you’ll be remote. And consider something like a satellite phone…
This actually is a big one. A lot of us end up heading away over a long weekend, but we don’t factor delays or traffic, or even unexpected opportunities to stop and see something into our trip. Being time poor at all times, we then rush and feel stress when we are not on time, and it turn into an effort to constantly make up for lost time instead of enjoying the journey. In this mindset, we potentially miss a plethora of amazing things on our adventure as we rush to the finish. This is crazy when the whole purpose of our trip (at least in our heads) is to slow down, be mindful and relax. The solution here is don’t try to pack too much in. Realistically, add 30% to all of the estimated timings (much more if it’s a long weekend for traffic) on the trip to factor in some fat if you see something on the way, get held up somewhere, or otherwise, or halve the number of things you intend to see. And reframe your expectations so that you view any change to the plan as a new and exciting experience rather than a negative one.
With young kids, when I travel I have come up with a rule – I never aim for more than 400km at the absolute most in a day’s drive, and I also only look to move every second day – IE – one travel day, one camp day. While this limits the distance I cover, it means we get more out of our adventure, and saves us packing and unpacking every day, and the kids from being stuck in the car for too long. And with 400km to cover in a day, that drive is achievable with breaks, lunch stops and other meandering. The key is to enjoy things, so my advice is plan to do less because you’ll get more out of your break.
I’d love to know – what is the #1 thing you don’t effectively plan for when it comes to your adventures? Reach out by commenting below.