Are you the kind of person that just can’t ignore the call of the open road? Sometimes there is nothing more thrilling than setting off in your car and heading out to discover new horizons — the wilder the better. Before you get wrapped up in your latest expedition, there are a few things that you need to think about before you set-off. Proper planning can help you to avoid unfortunate situations further down the line, and having the right equipment for your trip is essential if you ever find yourself in a pinch. Read on to find out what our top accessories are for the intrepid adventurer.
Even if you are driving a top-of-the-line 4×4 vehicle, there is a good chance that the tires currently fitted will not be able to stand up to the rigours of off-road driving. Proper off-road tires can offer higher levels of grip and improved traction, which is ideal if you plan on travelling over difficult roads or terrain. Having a spare tire is also essential if you are going to be a long way from civilisation. If you are investing in a new vehicle, enquire with your car dealer about getting one included, as these days many vehicles are sold without them. Likewise, if you are ordering a new set of off-road tires, it may well be the perfect time to look into getting an extra one.
Heading out into the wilderness? A well-stocked breakdown kit can make a huge difference when there is no-one else for miles around. If you need to change your own tire, having a good-quality jack and lug wrench is hugely important if you want to accomplish the task yourself.
Even if you aren’t driving off the map, having the right gear can get you on your way with less hassle. Having your own pair of booster cables and a strong tow rope will remove the reliance on anyone stopping to help you owning them, allowing you to deal with your mechanical failure swiftly. You can also use your well-stocked kit to help out fellow motorists who find themselves in a bind.
Satellite navigation and a map
Knowing exactly where you are going is one of the most important things to consider before embarking on your road trip, especially if it will take you through unfamiliar areas. You can combat this with a well-planned out route and by bringing items with you that will allow you to find your way should you get lost.
A sat-nav is the most obvious choice for convenient on-the-go route adjustment, and these days you don’t even have to invest in a standalone unit, with most smartphones possessing integrated GPS. Whichever you choose to use, make sure your sat-nav option has sufficient coverage for the area you are travelling. This might mean a new map update for a standalone unit or simply checking you will get mobile phone signal in a particular country if you are abroad.
Unfortunately, satellite navigation, like all technology, is prone to failure at the most inopportune moment. Having a back-up map or road atlas of the area is an absolute must, as is having the skills to read them correctly should the worst happen. Michelin publish an impressive range of detailed road maps for the UK, Europe, and North America, among many other destinations. Practice your map reading skills and keep a trusty map at your side at all times.
Although we might not like to admit it, not everyone is a whizz-kid with a tool box, and being able to admit your inexperience can save you time when breakdowns occur. Having trustworthy breakdown cover can often be the difference between staring cluelessly at your engine at the side of the road and knowing that some actual help is on its way. If you are travelling in the UK, consider joining an auto-club like RAC or the AA. Both of these clubs offer European cover, though you might have to pay more for this extra service. If you are hiring a car in a foreign country, roadside assistance can be included in your rental, but you may need to enquire about additional cover.
With these essentials, you can set off with the peace of mind that you have the worst covered. Do your research and plan ahead to avoid mishaps further down the road, but most of all, drive safely and enjoy your adventure.