What To Do When You Get Lost During A Road Trip

Getting lost is an inevitable part of a road trip, but how well you plan your route will make all the difference between taking a wrong turn versus ending up in the completely wrong city.

The first step is admitting that you’re lost. For some people getting lost is a fun and exciting experience, for others it might feel like the end of the world.

Whether you’re the type of traveller who wants to get back on track as soon as possible, or whether you prefer to buckle in and take the scenic route, here are some tips to help you find your way on the road.

How To Avoid Getting Lost On A Road Trip

Research Your Route

It’s important to know where you’re going and how long it’s going to take. This is especially important for long road trips in the outback, where towns and service stations are few and far between.

For the sake of being thorough, you’ll want to print out your routes and itineraries, or at least bring some notes along with you. Maybe there’s a tricky turn, or maybe your route is hidden amongst an intricate rabbit warren of twisting and turning roads.

Bring Paper Maps

Similarly, make sure you bring some paper maps or an atlas of the roads in the region you’re visiting. Technology can’t always be relied on, and if you’re in the outback (or even just a state like Queensland) your phone can easily get overheated and shut down. There’s nothing worse than your map taking a nap.

Check The Weather

Rain, hail, or shine, always know what kind of weather to expect and never drive in bad weather – especially if you’re driving on an unfamiliar route!

Keep Your Eyes Open

It’s important to pay attention to the road, and everything that’s happening around you! Where’s the traffic going? What landmarks have you passed? Is that enormous red kangaroo coming your way?

If you’re following a lot of traffic you can generally tell you’re going the right way (or at least you’ll have someone to ask if you’re not) and if you do get lost you’ll want to remember which landmarks you passed on the way so you can backtrack.

Keep Petrol Levels High

This is mostly for our outback travellers and people planning on travelling for long hours (yes, we see you, don’t forget to take regular breaks).

If you get lost when you’re going long distances, a full petrol tank could mean all the world between getting back on the right track and finding yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere.

What To Do When You Get Lost

Embrace The Scenic Route

If your meticulously planned itinerary has just gone down the drain this is probably the last thing you want to hear, but getting lost isn’t always a bad thing. If you can afford to take your time, being lost is a chance to investigate new surroundings and see something new. Some of the best cafes are found when we stumble our way into towns looking for directions.

Use Common Sense

If you’re in an unfamiliar location you’ll have to keep your wits about you. Is it getting dark? Do you know where you took a wrong turn? Is it best to take a break before you try to find your way back? These are just some of the important questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you make any decisions.

Slow Down

It can be tempting to slam on the brakes and start frantically scrutinising your map, but the best thing to do is to slow down and find a safe place to stop before you try to get your bearings. Just make sure you’re not blocking any traffic when you do stop.

Phone A Friend

Or, really just anyone who might know where you are. You could call the site manager at the holiday park you’re headed to, or maybe you remember the number from that café you visited in the previous town? Someone might know where you went wrong.

Ask For Directions

The best thing to do is ask for directions. If you’re near a town or still on the east coast, there are probably a lot of people around. The good news is that Australians are a friendly bunch for the most part, and they love giving directions if you ask nicely.

Getting Lost Doesn’t Have To Be Scary, Just Plan In Advance And Enjoy The Adventure!

You’ll find some of the most interesting and peaceful towns when you go off-route! But understandably not everyone wants to be lost, so follow the tips we gave you so you can at least minimise the amount of time it takes to get back on track. A good road trip is all about careful planning, so make sure you research everything you need to ensure you’re safe, comfortable, and happy!

If you’re new to road-tripping you might want to hire a motorhome instead and enjoy a safety net with a 24/7 roadside assistance team that can help you along the way! If you’re keen, go ahead and organise your rental by calling our friendly reservations team on 1300 664 485. You’ll also want to check out our Cruisin’ Motorhomes and GoCheap Campervans vehicle pages to see what motorhomes are available to hire at our branches.

Or, if you’re a pro with plenty of road trip experience under your belt, check out our ex-rental motorhomes for sale. With a motorhome of your very own, you can go for a road trip whenever you like! If you don’t see the type of vehicle you’re interested in, go ahead and submit an enquiry form or give us a ring on 1300 124 329.