It’s everywhere – on our streets, our suburbs, our countries, and throughout the world, on television, in films and music, and played in various games. Yes, it’s our love affair with cars. So let’s take a look at some of the cool things that make up this landscape of created beauty.
Finding a Car that Matches Your Personality
Do you relate to the Hipster lifestyle? Or do you dress and live your life surrounded by the Rockabilly Era of the 1950’s? Are you a free spirit and want to travel the country? Or do you live by an Eco-Friendly Ethos and reducing your carbon footprint is at the top of your agenda? You may even want a rare beauty that no-one else (or hardly anyone else) has to reflect your affinity for something unique. Whatever the reason, you are bound to find a car to suit you and your personality by asking (and answering) yourself the following questions. This should start to clarify what you are looking for.
Do you prefer city, suburban, rural or coastal life?
Coastal life is usually associated with a carefree and laid back vibe. So convertibles, Jeeps, the Subaru Manx dune buggy, and campervans (such as the surfers choice – VW Combi) first come to mind.
Suburban lifestyles conjure up images of SUV’s and people-movers with plenty of seating for the family. It also represents first cars for teenagers from the small, sensible hatchback to the older, but popular sports car.
Rural escapes require more storage than a small two-door convertible can carry, so the larger two-door coupes, small to medium sized station wagons, and crossovers all fit the bill.
City streets are great spaces for small eco-friendly electric micro cars, but also reflect thoughts of businessmen in their Mercedes and BMW sedans.
What body shape do you prefer?
Choosing a cars body shape is essential to what your needs are. A van offers you plenty of space in the back for camping gear or camping conversion, and while a coupe offers just two doors, those doors are usually larger to allow for getting passengers, pets or shopping into the back seat. They also offer more boot space than a convertible. However, if the car is just for you and you like to feel the breeze run through your hair, a convertible is an ideal choice. If you’re going off-road, then a sedan or hatchback is not going to get you far. An SUV is usually the best option with steering and space for equipment geared towards adventure. If economy is at the top of your list, then you may want to look at a small hatchback or electric car like the Nissan Leaf – just make a note of how far a single charge will take you (usually 75 miles or 120km’s for a Leaf), and where you can recharge on your journey.
Are you a tech-head that loves all the gizmos and gadgets?
You will probably want to look at the luxury end of car searching for those extra little eccentricities. While there are lots of top-end versions of cars with extra bells and whistles, there are also car brands that have unique features like retractable hood ornaments, GPS synced transmission, fiber optic simulated stars woven into the car headliner, and thermal imaging night vision that the Rolls Royce Wraith has as standard. Vertical gull-wing doors, or Volvo’s drowsiness detection, or BMW’s brake drying system may peak your interest. Another idea you may be interested in is the ‘unique’ type of car that may not be so expensive, but stands out because of its eccentricities like pop-up head lights, rotating front seats, or a car with only three wheels. There are many different features in cars from around the globe that you need to spend time sorting out what attracts you most.
Are you a show off or do you like to blend in?
If you like to blend in (and there’s nothing wrong with that as you’re probably less likely to have your car keyed or targeted in any way), then you’d probably look at more reliable and available classics like the Toyota Corolla or Mazda 2, and possibly in white. If, on the other hand you like to be the center of attention, and want everyone to know it, then a statement car is what you need. Perhaps a Chevy Corvette, BMW 4 Series or M3, or an Acura (Honda) Accord with fat alloy wheels, color changing led lights, full body kit and car wrap thrown in. Remember that with bling also comes cost, whether spending more on the initial purchase or with body kits and accessories.
What color would you choose if you had the choice?
We don’t often have the option of color when it comes to buying a second hand car, as there are often more urgent requirements such as mileage and condition to take into consideration first. However, if you broaden your search and don’t mind what car brand or body shape you get as long as it’s the right color, or search outside your own location, you may find something with all the other requirements as well. If you find the perfect car but it’s not your first, second, or even down the list to seventh color choice, then I have an alternative answer to this problem. Car wraps are the new go-to for customizing your car while protecting the original paintwork, with a range of colors and designs set to ignite your imagination. Of course there is a cost, but it is much cheaper than a total repaint. Research and factor in the extra cost if you have decided on a particular car.
What decade do you wish you lived in?
Why you love the era can be reflected in what car you want. Even if the cars of that era are few and far between, you may find similar models that have been produced and updated in more recent times. The Mini, Fiat 500, and VW Beetle have all enjoyed a revival. I love the 1980s for example. The awesome variety of music, the often hilarious B-grade horror movies, questionable fashion, and the evolution of car design and eco-features as unleaded petrol started to roll out in the mid-eighties. Of course there was the amazing DeLorean which featured majorly in ‘Back to the Future’, but these aren’t in great supply these days, especially since there weren’t many made at the time. Pop-up lights were popular, and cars like the Toyota MR-2, Acura (Honda) CR-X, and Chevy Corvette all had great design and street presence. Classics from the 80’s won’t set you back much, and you could do a makeover for just a few hundred dollars.
What type of music do you enjoy listening to the most?
Quite often we forget about our in-car experience and how it affects our mood. The joy of music is one pleasure we can enjoy in this space by ourselves or shared with others, so think hard about how the space will work for you. If you like music to cruise down the road to, take a look at cars that have a smooth ride and luxurious, comfortable interior about them. From experience, European cars such as Audi, Saab, and BMW have proven to be all of these. BMW also have a huge back catalogue of car models to choose from, that you’d be hard pressed not to find a model that suits you. If, on the other hand you like rocking to some serious classics, you may want to get a car with a larger engine and decent cabin space to handle the customized stereo and speaker system you want to install. You may also want to look at cars with a manual gearbox to give you that extra grunt and engine control, and a strong, solid body that handles well. Whatever your vibe in music, check out my suggested playlists on the website. There will be some songs in there not on the generic playlist websites.
Where in the world is your ideal destination?
Perhaps this is represented by your heritage, lifestyle choice, or the charm, history and language of a nation. If this sounds more like what you’re after, then research the country you are drawn to and look at what cars they produce or what they drive if they don’t produce any. For example, Italy is well known for its fashion capital Milan, screen legend Sophia Loren, and the rather cute and economical Fiat 500 Nuova (or ‘Bambina’ as it was known in New Zealand) produced from 1957 through to 1975. More modern versions of the 500 started to appear in 2007, along with the upmarket Abarth version (featuring all the bells and whistles), and are still being made today. So you can get a really good deal on one of these and feel like you own a part of Italy and its automotive heritage, and they come in a range of fun ‘Pop’ colors. Perhaps your destination is simply the beach or mountain lifestyle.
Essential Car Prep for any Road Trip
Congrats! It’s YOUR time to hit the road either on your own, with a partner, with friends, or with family. It’s a road trip on your terms, your adventure, and at your pace. Road trips allow you to stop and explore places along the way that you never knew existed. From small towns and villages to waterfalls and secluded beaches that are off the beaten track, the excitement and passion for adventure beats any coach tour hands down. Even if it isn’t your first time, there are always new experiences to be had on your journey. Prepare ahead now so you can chill and enjoy your next ride to the fullest.
- Get a major service done on your car a week or two before leaving in case anything needs doing where time is involved
- Ensure your tires (even the spare) have plenty of tread and have the right air pressure
- Buy and fit any accessories you may need ahead of time (weeks ahead if ordering online) such as roof racks, tow bars, spot lights, roadside emergency kits, etc.
- Wash, vacuum, and de-clutter your car before packing
- Keep the car instruction manual handy either in the glove box or under the front seat
- Registration and Insurance should be up to date and available should you need them securely in a safe place
- Cover yourself with 24-Hour Roadside Assistance if any unforeseen circumstance arises
- GPS Navigation and leads, as well as printed maps in case car or phone devices break down
- Car charger and cradle for your mobile phone
- An extra set of car keys
- Tire chains and an ice scraper if you are traveling in ski season through snowy conditions
- Cash and coins for parking or tolls where card facilities aren’t available
- Extra can of gas (petrol) in case you get lost and run out
- A 2 liter bottle of tap water (or coolant) in case of overheating or needing to be topped up
- 2 or more pairs of sunglasses
- A couple of torches with new batteries
- First Aid Kit (including antiseptic, band-aids, cotton balls, disposable gloves, car sickness tablets, pain relief, tweezers, and scissors)
- A couple of self-tested retractable umbrellas and cheap poncho raincoats
- Towels for the drivers’ seat if you get too hot or sweaty, or to dry off
- Pillows, cushions and travel pillows for your neck
- Sunshade for the windscreen in hot weather when parked
- Tissues/Kleenex, a few rags or paper towels, and trash bags
- Pens and paper
- Recommended and approved sunscreens in the car and in your luggage
- Drinking water – the more the better
- A cooler for cool snacks and drinks
- Any medicines you may be taking – ensure you have enough for the whole trip and some extra just in case, and have your prescription on you
- Sunhats or hats designed to block the harsh elements
- A pack of toilet paper, lip balm and moisturizer
- A couple of cans of bug spray
- A range of new batteries for any usage like the torch, and an external portable charger for all your electronics
- All adapters, chargers, and cables for those essential gadgets and devices
- Ensure you have a data plan with enough space to cover everything you use it for
- Install all relevant apps on your phone including maps, emergency numbers, and guides
- Good quality and comfortable flip-flops, hiking boots, or other shoes specific to your journey
- Awesome music playlist
- Alternatively get your passengers to submit their favorite songs and put together a podcast or burn a CD old school if your car has a CD player!
- Professional camera for those who enjoy the art and science of getting the perfect photo
- Travel Journal to record your adventures
- Physical books or an E-reader containing your favorites or new titles to read
- The latest apps for downloading movies and television shows
- Board games, cards, video games, joke books, or make a list of driving games such as ‘Guess that Tune’ (random radio searching on the car stereo) or ‘Darkest Secrets’ (where each person reveals info about themselves no-one else would know – can be as innocent or as revealing as you want) – check out 10 Awesome Road Trip Games for Adults
- A Mascot! Do you have a choice soft toy, hat, or quirky ornament you want to take selfies with on your road trip?
The list is endless, so add to it what you want. Try packing as economically as possible utilizing every inch of space in your car so you have room for whatever you need on your journey. The idea is to be prepared, regardless of what life throws at you when you’re on the road. After all, you don’t want to end up at ‘Wolf Creek’ like the movie.
10 Awesome Road Trip Games for Adults
The revelation game. This can be as tame or as revealing as you wish. You could start with something light like admitting to a particular song or musician you love that may not seem as cool to anyone around you, or a secret crush you had from school. You could discuss the weirdest dreams you ever had or confess to something you tried in the past. You could even divulge the strangest things you have looked for on the internet. Let your imagination run riot.
A game where you and your present company come up with your own ‘Superhero’, what you’d wear, and most importantly what super powers you would possess. You could limit this to one, two, or three superpowers – and find out why these traits were chosen. Be as detailed as you want. You could even add a ‘sidekick’ and how they would help you in your quest.
Do you harvest a secret passion or personality to become someone in your imagination? Different from ‘Superheroes’, this game lets you come up with who you would become if you had the chance – no superpowers involved.
Whether or not you or your passengers have tatts, this is about finding out what you would have done in the future, where on your body it would go, and the significance of it. You could also do this with body piercings. Step it up by taking some henna ink or tattoo transfers with you on the road trip to ramp it up a notch and experiment with different patterns and designs.
So this is the ‘Category’ game. This is where everyone has to come up with as many songs as they can think of from that category. You could pick a genre, a year, a decade, a country, girl groups, boy bands, divas, quirky songs, tunes from soundtracks, or one-hit wonders. Someone may have to check if songs are actually one hit wonders on their phone for the last suggestion to avoid arguments. You can also come up with song titles about topics like days of the week, cars and road trips, animals, colors, cities, seasons, weather, religion, numbers, money, inspiration, fashion – you get the idea. Or you could have a laugh over ‘misheard lyrics’ – everyone has their own take on what they thought they heard from certain songs when they were growing up.
This is where you can showcase your knowledge about movies. The most obvious category here is ‘road trips’, but you can choose any genre. Get your passengers to come up with and discuss what part of those films they loved or found the funniest, or the most shocking. You could also choose to discuss the career of a particular actor/actress with their best or most memorable performances. Take this to the next level by revealing what character you’d like to play and how you’d change it up.
Back Seat Driver
Pick a car on the road and study the occupants as you drive past, or in front of, or behind. Now make up a narrative about their connection to each other, their hobbies, their jobs or study, and who they remind you of. Give them names and decide where they are going and what the reason is. You never know, it may make a great basis for an intriguing film script.
This is a great game to begin part way through your journey away from the comforts of home. Advance preparation before the trip is essential so everyone knows their character and has time to make up and rehearse their story in detail so it appears life-like and not funny. After you have had a pit stop somewhere and are back on the road again, start a conversation beginning with ‘Now that we’re all together, I’d like to confess something. All of you have done something in your past that you weren’t proud of. All of you think this is made up…and yes, all of us have made up a crime…except one’. This is where the catch is – none of them knew this would come out of your mouth. Each person in turn has to confess to their horrid crime. The other passengers can ask questions so make sure everyone knows their plot. After everyone has revealed their deepest, darkest secret, it’s time to guess who is lying and who is telling the truth. Of course, once everyone has decided who must be the ‘real deal’, it’s up to you to reveal that no-one is. Then everyone can relax and laugh it off. Perhaps have a treat for the most believable participant.
A Car Match Made In Heaven
Ask your passengers to come up with their ideal car if price and origin was no obstacle. It can include as much detail as you want – make, model, year or era, color (both inside and out), body type, engine size, accessories etc. Would it be a classic, a project, an overseas car, or a new build? Would it be to live in like a tiny house on wheels, a pimped out van or high-top station wagon with velvet upholstery, a ‘Bond’ car with your own gadgets and inventions, or a concept car that hasn’t seen the factory floor yet. Let your minds explore the possible and impossible in this fun game.
The Narnia Complex
Everyone has their own idea of what the ideal world would look like right? Well it’s time to fess up what each person would include in their vision. Kick it off by getting everyone to take it in turns with ‘…I found a door in my wardrobe and it lead to…’ Let’s get details here!
Remember to have fun, and if you’re artistic and imaginative, make up some of your own – it may just start a new trend.