Whether it’s a jaunt down south for the weekend or a pilgrimage across the Nullarbor, planning is key.
Some love it and some hate it, but planning an itinerary is the surefire way to make sure you arrive at your destination in one-piece, stress-free – and isn’t the point of a holiday not to stress?
Western 4W Driver Magazine Owner-Editor Chris Morton has his own tried and-tested planning system, one he learnt in his army days.
Mr Morton said although it seemed obvious, no matter the length of the trip, start with the end in mind.
“The destination is the most important thing to consider. Knowing where you are going, how you are going to get there and what you can expect – such as weather, terrain and attractions – is going to have a major impact on your planning.”
“The time you have allocated to the trip, the time of year, who is coming with you and the types of activities you intend on participating on are also major factors,” he said.
Mr Morton likens it to a catching a plane – no matter if it’s a short flight or a longer one, the pilot will run through the same checklist.
“The length and complexity of a trip should dictate the amount of planning required. Even for trips you have done previously, it is good practice to review what you did last time, what worked and what didn’t,” he said.
Mr Morton said prepping for a longer trip was about more than taking extra supplies. Instead, pack smarter and endeavour to take multi-purpose items.
The biggest point of difference is time.
“Short trips are much easier and involve less time to plan, however, that’s where more mistakes happen,” he said.
“Longer trips have more thought put into them. In our experience, it’s the small things which tend to get overlooked – it’s easy if it’s not on a checklist.
“Something as simple as a bathmat – useful if stopping in a caravan park – or a spare shopping bag to cart towels and toiletries to and from the ablution block is handy.”
According to Mr Morton, the worst mistake one can make is assuming.
“We took a little trip just after new year down south,” he said.
“We were staying in a caravan park and not leaving the bitumen. I failed to conduct a basic check of our caravan. I didn’t even take a tool kit. We had a major water system failure – a seized water valve and a leak in the waterline.
“I assumed we wouldn’t have any issues.”
Although he acknowledges he is often more thorough than most, and has been accused more than once of being “Captain Prepared”, Mr Morton’s planning has proved invaluable time and time again.
“If you have prepared adequately, and have a good plan, then it takes the stress out of most situations,” he said.
“The key is to remain flexible. If your plan doesn’t allow for hiccups or bumps in the road then you are going to stress yourself out.
“Enjoy every experience and new vista around the corner.”
With proper planning, even the worst setbacks can become part of the adventure.