(Photo \ Bretty Phibbs)
This weekend, NZTA Waka Kotahi is encouraging motorists to check for likely delays and plan ahead if they’re looking to travel along popular North Island holiday routes, as the use of many crucial roads in the network is still impaired by cyclone damage.
With the likelihood that trips within Waikato, Coromandel, Taranaki and out of the main cities will be delayed by traffic (Aucklanders are especially likely to see longer journeys), it’s essential to plan ahead to ease frustrations. This might mean travelling in off-peak hours and preparing a few tricks to pass the time on your journey.
Make a playlist
Don’t wait until you’re out on the road to spin the digital DJ decks – you’ll be stuck with the same old stale tunes or gaining and losing data connection with the fresh tracks you’ve queued. Instead, look to new NZ releases or albums in your “to listen” list and download them with your chosen streaming service. A really good soundtrack can make for an explorative and refreshing trip, where things feel new and exciting, even if you’re staring at the brake lights of the vehicle in front.
If you’re travelling alone, or have a deeply niche shared interest with your fellow travellers, the world of podcasting can be a good dive for a long trip. It’s not often you’ll get the hours to listen to episodes uninterrupted and there’s no better listening space than the car.
Bring tasty, Easter-appropriate snacks
Keeping well-fuelled along the trip means thinking ahead and packing your eats in accessible spots – this means you’ll avoid any awkward reaching into the footwell behind your seat. Hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies might be a seasonal favourite, but there are plenty of ways to keep your foodie heart happy. Bring a chilly bag, stop for an award-winning pie or dive into a pack of chips – just don’t leave yourself hungry.
Tune into the local radio stations – We especially like this one. Find a frequency here
Though it’s a slightly unusual way to connect with road trip destinations, a town’s local radio station can tell you a lot about the place you’re passing through. Tune in to hear what the tracks on local rotation are. You might stumble upon a new artist you love or find a town that has a really particular taste.
Catch up on shows and movies (for passengers only!)
If you’re lucky enough to be a passenger being chauffeured between home and holiday spot this weekend, you may have a few hours of aimless lounging to fill. Pre-trip downloads are your best friend for a long trip – all sorts of streaming apps, including Netflix, Disney+ and AppleTV+ all have some allowance for offline viewing.
Be a good passenger
In the event that you’re the driver’s only company, it might be best to remain more engaged. There are classic roadie games you can play to keep everyone awake. What did that lady take from the market? What do you spy? Are we there yet?
There may come a point in the stop-start traffic where you start to feel frustrated and tired. It’s crucial to plan a stop and make sure you take a break to refresh before continuing on. Think about planning a break you can look forward to, where you get to explore some locally-owned store or well-stocked cafe while stretching your legs. Maybe there’s a regional attraction you can visit or specialty good you can pick up for the loved ones you might be visiting. A good stopover can make the holiday feel like it’s already started.
Follow official advice
The official NZTA guidance for ensuring safer roads includes checking tyres, wipers, lights and indicators, ensuring your WOF is up to date, driving to the conditions, wearing seatbelts and keeping a safe following distance. Ultimately, the best roadie is the safest one.
This article was republished courtesy of NZ Herald