Tips for planning an epic road trip

Thinking about hitting the road this summer to check out our beautiful country? Before you pack up and leave, check out our top tips for planning a road trip so you have nothing but fun with your friends.

The essentials

  • Music – Good songs are a must for road trips. Check out our epic roadie playlist.

  • Food – Be sure to stock up on water, fresh fruit, nuts and a few yummo snacks for the road

  • Check your car – Whether you know how to do it yourself or need to pay for it, before going on a long road trip you should check your oil, water and tyres.

  • First aid – Make sure you have a first aid kit packed with the essentials: scissors, antiseptic cream, bandaids, wipes, bandages, tape etc.

  • Overall – Be smart. Take breaks. Swap drivers. Stay alert.

road trip location

Picking a location

  • Consider your bucket list: If you’re heading north or south, we recommend hitting some of the hot spots across the country such as the Waitomo Caves, Tongariro, Bungee jumping in Queenstown or kayaking through Milford Sounds. If you’re going all that way, you might as well visit all your must-sees. Think of the ‘gram.
  • Know your travel time: If you only have 10 days to do a road trip, make sure you take into consideration how long it will take you to get back home.
  • Who do you know: You can save on accomodation if you stop in areas where you have friends or family who will let you couch surf for a few days here and there.
van roadtrip

Hiring a car/campervan

  • Think of where you’re going: If you plan on camping the entire time, it may be worth spending a little bit extra so you can hire a self-contained van if you don’t want to use public facilities.
  • Consider your driving skills: Vans are big! Before you decide to drive off on one, think about yourself and other drivers – can you really handle it on the open road?
  • Do some research: There are a tonne of places that offer competitive prices and also have apps that can help you map out where you want to go.

Tips for camping

  • Freedom camping: If you’re planning on travelling in a van or self-contained vehicle, check out our top tips for Freedom camping so you, the locals and the environment can coexist harmoniously.
  • What to pack: You know the main things (tent, pillow, sleeping bag etc.) but don’t get caught short because you forgot silly things like toilet paper, gas cooker, torch, rubbish bags, food containers and insect repellent.

What are your go-to tips when planning a road trip?



  1. Gabriella Monaghan November 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Definitely need some good healthy (and not so healthy) snacks. I go back to work, after being on maternity leave, in Feb so I’m hoping to do a big road trip before I go back. These are some good things to think about.

  2. felicity beets November 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Organising good music is a definite must – including CDs (or similar) for locations where the radio signal is not very good. Always nice to have snacks to stop for a quick picnic along the way too.

  3. Sarah Blair November 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    I love road trips!! Last year we did a crazy 6 day road trip from Te Awamutu (where we live) to Bluff and back! It was amazing!! We are planning on going the other way (north) this year! The tips are great, thanks 🙂

  4. Amanda Carr November 10, 2017 at 8:11 am

    We have been looking at doing a road trip in a camper an around the north island with the kids as have never travelled around nz before it would be great to see around. I love the ideas about what to take as well.

  5. Vikki Sainsbury November 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I would LOVE to take a road trip in a campervan! It’s the budget that stops us 🙁 When we do get to go away with our 4 year old I always check the car first (oil, tyres etc), take snacks and stuff for the wee one to do, we stop often. We are lucky as our wee one is really a good traveller 🙂 Music is a definite for us as our daughter LOVES Michael Jackson and his CD is always playing haha

  6. Hollie Laird November 8, 2017 at 10:20 am

    This is great timing for us as we are embarking on our annual camping road trip this coming summer. Last year we had a newborn so this year will be a different scenario as we will have a toddler! In some ways I am not looking forward to the travel side of things, but given the tips, we may just survive this one too 😉

  7. Kym Moore November 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    We did a massive road trip when I was a teen. It was 6 weeks around the whole country. Thoroughly recommend doing it! See your home ❤️ we did a mix of camping and motels and it was good. I recommend great music!! Lollies and making sure you have a power pack or three all charged up just in case.

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