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Ten tips for your Christmas road trip

The best laid plans can go awry – and frequently do when they involve a road trip for the much-anticipated Christmas holidays. When the beach beckons and you need a change of scenery, it’s time to swap the routine of the office for some rest and relaxation. Get approval for your annual leave before you finalise your plans!

Your holiday road trip will stay on track with these 10 tips for smooth travelling:

  1. Check your car. Book your car in for a service in November so you know it’s in top condition for the drive. Motor mechanics and maintenance workshops will be fully booked just prior to the holiday break, so get early to ensure you get any repairs done in time.
  2. Plan your itinerary. It sounds unnecessary if you are just heading up the main highway to the beach, but it’s worth planning your fuel stops. Maximise the use of a prepaid gift card, for fuel and snacks at the service stations on the way. If you are travelling with children, plan short driving stints between breaks where they can stretch their legs and use the restroom.
  3. Time your departure. Wherever you are planning to go, avoid the traffic jam on the main highway on Christmas Eve by travelling either a few days before, or after Christmas Day. The NRMA predicts the busiest days on the roads to be the last day of school (in NSW this is December 21), two days before Christmas (December 23), the day after Boxing Day (December 27), and January 4.
  4. Keep safety top of mind. Double demerit points apply throughout the Christmas and New Year period, from Friday December 21 to Sunday January 6 2019 inclusive. Don’t lose your licence for:
  • Drink or drug driving
  • Speeding
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt and child restraint
  • Running a red light
  • Illegal use of a mobile phone while driving


  1. Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue is a major cause of road deaths and serious injuries and Australian national data indicates a significant increase in fatigue-related crashes in holiday periods such as Christmas. Don’t leave straight after the office Christmas party or a night shift.
  2. Check the road conditions. Just before you leave check your state’s live traffic website so you know the latest conditions on the road.
  3. Take an old-school map. If the route is not familiar, don’t rely entirely on mobile phones or GPS to find your way. You may end up out of coverage area or out of battery.
  4. Don’t go on a mystery trip. It may sound exciting to head off without telling anyone where you’re going, but it can be tricky if you have any problems on the way. Tell someone – friend or family – when you’re planning to leave, where you’re going and when you intend to get there. And let th