Car Hire South Africa: Packing Tips for the Long Road

travel packing tips
Many travellers find the best way to explore a foreign country is to go on a road trip facilitated by means of car hire. South Africa is no different. A vast, beautiful country supporting a broad variety of eco-systems and boasting a plethora of activity opportunities, South Africa really is the place to be. Car rental in South Africa is an affordable and dependable means of transport and traveling at your own pace means you will have the opportunity to stop and enjoy any and all obscure road-side pleasures. Traveling along the Garden Route, you might wish to stop and stroll through the indigenous forests; while the Karoo and its legendary hospitality could tempt you to pull over at a dinky roadside café to have koeksusters and enjoy some local color.

But traveling by car can be a complicated business. Packing a whole family AND all of their possessions into a vehicle is no easy task. It would be easy enough to chuck everything in haphazardly but chances are you would end up with too little space. Furthermore one has to take into account the safety aspect – even small, lightweight objects like tissue boxes can transform into dangerous projectiles in the event of a collision. In South Africa, car rentals frequently come with handy booklets of information on road safety, local traffic regulations, etc., but safety measures should be taken even before you get on the road – here are a few useful tips:

1. Check the children car seats first. A frightening percentage of children are incorrectly restrained while traveling by car. Before you even begin to pack make sure that the children safety seats are properly installed. If you have time, read over the owner’s manuals or have an AAA expert check your installation.

2. Make sure every little thing is in its place. In the unfortunate event of a crash it is important that any would-be projectiles are correctly secured. Pack as much as you can into the enclosed trunk space and strap down anything that is stored in the cargo area. Also check that the seatbelts are all functioning correctly.

3. Organise. Cars hide a treasure-trove of nooks and crannies ready to be filled with small items that will be handy for the road. Vehicle supply stores stock nifty products to keep them organised. Seat covers with pockets can be used to stow things like maps, phones and snacks. Have one in front for the grownups and one at the back for the kids. Use visor organisers to hold maps, CD’s and directions.

4. Looking back. Rear visibility is of utmost importance. Make sure you don’t stack your luggage so high that you will be unable to see out. An obscured rear window makes driving very difficult and creates considerable risk when driving backwards.

5. Pack a safety kit. Reserve a prime spot for a roadside emergency kit. Pack it with a reliable flashlight, fresh batteries, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, wetwipes, energy bars and bottled water. At this time it might also be a good idea to have a look at your spare tire and make sure that it will hold up in the event of an emergency.

6. Keep it cool. If you are setting out for someplace hot make sure you have a cooler box set aside for items which melt like lipstick and crayons. This box can also be used to store liquid containers that might leak, like sunscreen bottles. Keep it cool with frozen gel packs that stay cold longer than ice would.

7. Long division. Instead of stuffing all your belongings into one big piece of luggage, rather load it into individual pieces that are easier to handle. Colour code them with stickers and ribbons i.e., blue for beach things, red for toiletries, yellow for camping equipment. This way it will be easier to know which one to grab.

8. Heavy weights first. Put the heaviest items as far forward as possible in the cargo area and keep them confined to the floor. This reduces the potential negative effect on vehicle handling that could be caused by the cargo weight.

So now you know. By adhering to a few simple rules you and your family can travel as safely as you possibly could. Why not make your next holiday an African adventure? Car rental in South Africa is the most reliable way to enjoy a hassle-free family trip.