Happy Mag’s foolproof guide to a successful festival road trip

With the 10th anniversary of Wide Open Space Festival almost upon us, and with its location being the most central of central places (Alice Springs), you’re probably gonna need to hit the road.

Now listen, road trips can often feel like wading through a river of shit. They’re long. They’re cramped. They can often subtract from the whole festival experience. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

This is where ya good pals right here come in. Being the good-hearted philanthropists we are, we have put together a comprehensive, definitive guide to a successful road trip. Let’s get to it:

happy mag's guide to a successful festival road trip
Photo: Brooke Tunbridge

If you’re taking the wheels to your favourite festival, make sure you do it right with Happy Mag’s definitive guide to successful road trippin’.


Okay, so the last thing you want is to get stuck with your dickhead mate commandeering the aux chord. The best way to avoid this is to come prepared. Put together a playlist before you leave. And if you don’t want your aux chord privileges overthrown, you better make this playlist good.

You want a tip? Put anything by Electric Light Orchestra in there. ELO are a damn gold mine. That band’s greatest hits record alone would make the ultimate playlist.

But let’s not get carried away. Safest bet is to fill the playlist with artists who are playing at the festival you’re going to. This way, if anyone criticises your choices, you can accuse them of being a poser who doesn’t actually listen to any of the bands they’re on their way to see. Genius.

The Car

These days everyone wants to be seen in some trendy, vintage car. Well, have fun on the side of the road waiting for the NRMA to show up. Be practical.

Personally, I drive a 2005 Subaru Liberty Wagon. Bullet Grey. The car has never once failed me. Nothing flashy – just reliable. It’s got plenty of boot space for luggage, as well as roof racks, and central air-con. What more could you ask for?

Other infallible options include your dad’s Prius (can’t argue with electric), anything with a CD player that’s still running, and all trucks made by Toyota. Do NOT hire a Wicked Camper.


About an hour into your trip, you’re gonna want to make your first servo stop. Not for petrol, but for snacks. Advice: avoid servo sandwiches at all costs.

Over the 2016/17 New Years period, I found myself venturing down to the Hunter Valley for Lost Paradise. At our first servo stop of the trip, I momentarily found myself blinded by the questionably cheap prices of the store’s sandwich range. Foolishly, I purchased not one, but two sandwiches! Eight hours later: food poisoning.

Learn from my mistakes. Just get a bag of chips, or something else airtight.


Lastly, though perhaps most importantly; don’t go on road trips with shitty people. When you and your friends organise the trip, make sure you fill up the car. If you’ve got a spare spot, I guarantee that some irritating kid you knew in high school will come crawling, trying to scab a lift.

With the wrong people, a road trip can be a long, sweaty, awkward mess. Do it with your mates. You might even still be mates when you’re done.


And that concludes Happy Mag’s official guide to good road trippin’. Apply this well thought out advice to your next road trip for a guaranteed good time full of sunshine and laughter.

If you want to put these steps into action, make sure you check out the details to Open Wide Space Festival here.