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Travel stress free this Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching and vacation planning well underway, we reached out to some of our ambassadors and friends to get all their top tips for travelling during the holiday season.

If you have the option to get big stints of driving done early in the morning or later in the day, I’d highly recommend it to avoid the midday frustration in traffic. A good podcast is always a must. If you haven't listened to Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen by Campside Media, it's a wild 10 episodes to get you through the longest of drives!

Travel with your loved ones. Any trip made around Christmas is the best for me when I’m with the friends and family I love, they are the ones that make everything worth the trip.

Ryan Formosa

My tips for the busy Christmas period are to get organised early and get setup so you can go more remote than others and have a Christmas only surrounded by the people you want with you. Also don’t forget to get that bigger fridge so you can cook up a mean feed and have plenty of room for those cold beers! Leaving earlier and coming home later is another good idea, so the roads aren’t so busy.

The best tip, if you’re travelling without accommodation on wheels, book in early! With this years’ lockdown and travel restrictions I’m sure everyone will be getting their holiday fix and we might see more holiday goers than ever before. With the amount of people out and about, it’s important to remain safe.

Check up on the area you’re visiting for any warning signs. If you’re trying a new activity, make sure you know the rules and your own boundaries when leaving. Really, I could go on forever. But basically, it’s the holidays, take your time on the roads, enjoy your locations safely and look out for each other. Most importantly, don’t forget the big F word...to have FUN!

Take it easy. I think it's really important around the Christmas period to consider others on the road as it can get crazy with people travelling to their favourite spots. And if you’re like us and like to go off-grid and away from the hustle and bustle, it is essential to be prepared for the trip ahead, with all the recovery gear, food, and water necessary. And if there is one thing to remember, it would be to take your rubbish with you, only leave your footprints behind and have a great time.

Go prepared and make sure you wear a Christmas sweater! Jokes aside, the winter can be unforgiving, so our rule of thumb is to try to have a back-up plan wherever we can. It’s important to make sure your vehicle is capable, and that you have the right recovery gear. The two most crucial pieces if you were to get snowed in or stuck for days in the cold are: can you keep warm, and can you keep fed? Even if you’re heading out for a “quick drive” in the winter, make sure you have enough warm kit and clothes if you were to break down. We helped rescue a guy in the Arctic who had “just popped out for a drive” with his son. Their car had slid off the road due to the ice and without anyone else around for miles, and without any gear for warmth in his vehicle, he decided to brave the storm looking for help. We found him 6 miles into his walk through the middle of the night, in -13C temperatures, without so much as a wool hat. Even if you have a diesel heater, we’d recommend having sleeping bags rated down to -32C (-25F) in case the heater breaks. A few other important ones are: Two batteries, backup communication (sat messenger), Breakdown cover, etc.

With only 4 hours of light in some areas in winter, you’re often rolling into camp in the dark. We’ve found it best to mark all of the potential camp spots as we drive along, so when the sun goes down, we’ve already got options in the area. There are also some good spots on iOverlander and Camp4Night.

With having two young kids, the biggest thing would be to ensure there's plenty of things to keep them busy and fed. Our favourite go-to’s at the moment are activity sticker books and, if it really hits the fan, a fully charged iPad is always a lifesaver to get through the final parts of unpacking or packing up.

Our best tip during the silly season would be to book early if staying at an RV park, like 12 months early, or find a remote hidden gem, with a backup option in case it's already snagged.

Time is irreplaceable over the holidays, so spend as much time as you can with your loved ones! If you’re looking for a great gift for the overlander in your life, just about any item from the MAXTRAX catalogue will please anyone.

Try and avoid the crowds and go the extra mile to find that hidden spot! Lock in the hubs and take the road less travelled. Pack a little extra food because the shops get crazy busy this time of year, and don’t forget a deck of cards or two to play some games!

Pack a whole lot of patience & kindness. We are all out here trying to enjoy the holiday season, think ahead and plan your trip well. Expect delays but remember we all want to enjoy our vacations. Don't ruin someone else’s and don't let yours be ruined either.

Three tips I try to remember are respond with kindness, accept imperfection, and don’t lose sight of what really counts. You can’t change how others act during the stresses of the holiday season, but you can change how you respond to situations. Before you start preparing, acknowledge that things may not go exactly as planned. It’s ok if it’s not perfect. Imperfection is healthy and normal. For some of us, it might just take a little practice

With long lines and nasty traffic, the holidays can get hectic. When overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, ask yourself, ‘where does this fit in the grand scheme of things?’ If you’re frustrated by the long grocery line you’re standing in, remember that it is just a long grocery line — nothing more. Don’t let it spoil your afternoon.

Exploring places off the beaten track can be hard during the holidays but worth it to find peaceful moments. It’s also so important when arriving and leaving to tread lightly respect the country- leaving nothing but footprints!

Research your destination well to get the most out of your trip, there’s nothing worse than getting to a destination and it’s packed.

Having a great lighting setup is also important. If you’re looking for a gift idea, 12v lighting is always a winner, whether it’s lights or gear to get their system setup. You can never have enough ways to see what you need during the night.

Christmas travel can be stressful. I think simply accepting that it will be busy and adjusting your schedule and expectations to be realistic can make a big difference. Shops, cafes, and restaurants are often overrun. Rather than spending time queuing, we usually stock up early before we go, pack our coffee brew kit and avoid the chaos.

Christmas camping for us is about kicking back and relaxing after a busy year. This usually means minimal driving, so when camping off-grid it’s the time our solar setup has the biggest workout. Solar is a great gift and enables you to run your fridge worry free and enjoy endless cold drinks and leftover ham.

Obviously booking ahead is a good idea. Also make sure your vehicle is in tip top condition, because if anything goes wrong like a blown tyre on the RV, it can be very hard to get anything done over such a busy period when everyone is on holiday. This is a big one for me as my parents used to own a tyre shop and over the festive period, we would literally have people knocking on our doors begging for a new tyre.

We love to find those secret little spots no one knows about and stay away from the crowds. If you're in a new town, jump on google earth and look for spots that are a bit out of town or aren't visible from the main street. We also love to chat to friendly locals who might share some insights on where we can explore off the beaten track. 

If you’re looking for a great gift for the adventurer in your life, the one piece of equipment we couldn't live without is a head torch. There are many different kinds out there, but we like the rechargeable ones and also ones that are water resistant. 

Hopefully some of these tips have taken the stress out of trip planning this holiday season. For more information check out our tips and tricks for Christmas on the road and our tips for staying warm while winter camping.

If you’re looking for a destination to explore this holiday season, check out some of our favourite Christmas vacation destinations and NO LIMITS series to see some more epic locations around the country.