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Why road trips will make a huge comeback

Forget cheap air travel, the near future looks like it's going to be about holidaying closer to home. And who doesn't love a good road trip!

Alborz Fallah
Alborz Fallah

Before the Coronavirus pandemic we lived in a world with cheap airfares and expensive fuel.

The future looks almost completely the opposite in nature, which could spell the beginning of a new era of driving holidays and road trips.

The price of fuel is at historic lows, while Tiger Airlines and Virgin Australia are both in deep trouble. Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar are soon likely to hold a monopoly on the domestic market.

Meanwhile, international travel is unlikely to resume in a normal fashion for at least 12 months – and even if that comes around sooner, we are going to be far more cautious about exploring the world before jumping on an international flight or a cruise ship.

What does all of that mean? Well, once the current COVID-19 restrictions are lifted nationally, there will never be a better time to go on a holiday somewhere in Australia in your car. A proper, good old fashioned road trip with friends of family.

Australia may not have autobahns like Germany, but we do have a lot of roads.

In fact, our great nation has the ninth-largest road network in the world – which is amazing given we have just 25 million people, and are only the 55th most populous country on earth.

As of 2015, we had around 823,000km of publicly-accessible roads. Of that, about 356,000km are paved and the rest (466,000km) are unpaved, which might explain why we also love go-anywhere off-road vehicles.

Interestingly, the M1 is actually the world’s longest national highway at 14,500km. The point? We have a hell of a lot of good roads, and so many amazing places worth going.

As it stands now, with the cost of petrol at around 90 cents per litre and an average fuel consumption of 10L/100km (because you don’t want to do this in a Hyundai Getz) it will cost you just $90 to go from Sydney to Brisbane – and even less between Sydney and Melbourne.

That’s far less than any flight, but there are no excess baggage fees and you can stop along the way.

Some of Australia’s best driving roads are in Tasmania, which can be readily accessed from Melbourne once the borders reopen. You’ll also find plenty in South Australia.

Hell, if you really want to go all out, why not drive from east to west or vice versa?

If you love driving, start planning your driving holiday and road trip. Stop at as many local towns as possible along the way and do your bit to help those businesses recover.

Accomodation costs are at historic lows and most hotels have unprecedented vacancy rates, so it’ll likely cost a lot less than you expect.

The question then comes down to what car is best suited to the task, and that is a very personal choice – or not a choice at all.

Between the CarExpert team we have done pretty much every amazing road in Australia in a huge variety of cars and can vouch for the fact it’s often the journey and not the destination that is the enjoyment of a road trip. So choose wisely.

Where do you want to go, and which car will you be taking?

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Alborz Fallah
Alborz Fallah

Alborz has been writing about cars since 2006 when he launched CarAdvice. He is an honourary adjunct professor at the Uni of QLD and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. Despite having reviewed and driven thousands of different cars, he still can't work out how to replace a windscreen wiper.

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