My adventures in Melbourne and Adelaide saw me having a plethora of emotions while on road trips with people that I had never even met before. I hit it off really well with most of the people I jumped into cars with and with some, it was just plain awkward. I’m referring to those last few hours of driving that gets spent fidgeting just a bit more or turning up the music so the silence in the car isn’t too deafening.
So, for new travellers, here’s my 2-cents.
1. People back out and cancel on you all the time. When some plans get cancelled, other plans take shape. So being open and flexible is the key. My plan to head to Werribee Gorge State Park in Melbourne fell through the night before while the Couchsurfing website was down for maintenance. Luckily, someone posted on a closed Facebook group (thanks to Miranda, I got added in) that they had empty seats in the car for a trip to do the 1000 steps instead. And the rest, of course, is history.
2. Although travel might be the common thread holding the 5 of you, it’s very very likely that you may end out of topics to talk about by the end of the day. To prepare for scenarios like this, make sure the stereo of your (otherwise falling apart) car works. Trust me, you’ll thank me when this actually happens.
3. Be spontaneous! I cannot stress this enough, because you are almost never gonna have a backpacker who plans adventures by the minute, let alone, by the hour. Everyone just jumps into the car and wants to have a ball of a time. It almost doesn’t even matter if destination A changes to F. Everyone is in it for good laughs. And, of course, free drinks are a bonus. 😉
4. Have “the money talk” at the start of the day. Finances are always a sticky business BUT setting the budget right before anything even begins is the crux. There is, unfortunately, no two ways about this. It helps ensure that everyone is in the same page, or in this case, car and avoids disputes on who is gonna burn a hole in their pocket at the end of the trip.
5. Let your stereotypes go. No two French people are gonna be the same, and no two Canadians are gonna be the same, so whatever your previous experiences are with certain nationalities, let them go. You either click with your travellers, or you don’t, and usually it has absolutely nothing to do with which part of the world they are from/have lived in.
These are my favourite 2 pictures from my most spontaneous road trip ever in Adelaide! We planned on heading to Coorong National Park, only to realise you had to have a 4WD, so we detoured to Barossa Valley for (free) wine tasting and ended the day catching sunset at Mt. Lofty Summit. Photo on the right is me having a good laugh over literally nothing with my favourite road trip buddies, Melissa (Canadian), Clare (British) and Rebecca (German).
So now, go forth and plan your own adventures! Till next time, travel safe!
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.