How to survive long road trips is a question you might have been asking yourself since you were a child. Remember how boring it was, then, to be strapped to a seat for what seems to be an endless drive?
Now that you are all grown up, there is no reason your road travel experiences should be as awful. Below you will find some simple tips, tricks, and hacks that will make those dreaded long haul road trips as exciting, rewarding, and bearable as possible.
1. Set a road-time limit and stick to it
The longer you drive, the less focus you will become. Know your limit and stay under it not only for safety sake but also to keep the trip interesting.
2. Do not be in a hurry
Remember, it is the adventure, not the destination that matters. No matter how far away you are traveling and how long it takes to get there, you will get there when you get there. Not before, not after. Racing through a road trip beats the purpose and takes the fun out of it. And that will only get you in plenty of troubles — speeding tickets, or worse.
3. Have a roadmap
In order to survive long road trips, you must keep them from affecting your body and your mood. For that, build a shared itinerary with milestones and plenty of pit stops to stretch and relax. A good practice is to take a break at roadside diners, gas stations, and attractions.
4. Designate drivers before you leave
Designate drivers and set the driver rotation before your road trip starts. If it is a long road trip, it would be unfair — and frankly dangerous — for the same person to drive all the time. A better practice is to let someone else take the wheel so everybody can rest and enjoy the trip.
5. Set a road trip music playlist
The rule of thumb is that the driver chooses the music. But honestly, that should be a group activity. Everybody should weigh in on the music selection and the playlist will contain tunes you all tolerate. Sorry Karen, no Gregorian!
6. Stack up on food
Like the sneaker commercial goes, “you are not yourself when you are hungry”. Before you hit the road, shop everybody’s favorite snacks and — non-alcoholic — drinks.
7. Manage anger before the trip starts
You cannot survive a long road trip confined in a car cockpit with someone you are not in good terms with. The roadtrip will only be one of the worst travel experiences you will ever have. Sort things out with your travel mates before the trip starts, it will make it easier to share expenses and good memories.
8. Keep the conversation light and flowing…
Sing-alongs, convivial jokes and discussions make road trips fun. Stay off your phone and be a team player.
9. But respect others alone time
Seasoned travelers know this: not everyone has to be social all the time. If somebody chooses to listen to music, read, or take a nap, let them do so. Forcing them to participate in the group’s activities against their will only ruin the fun for everyone.
10. Personal hygiene matters
Mind your grooming, what you eat — especially if it is likely to affect your digestive system, and be mindful of others. There is a very limited personal space in a car and no one could survive long road trips if they have to stand unpleasant body odors.
11. Keep the driving advice to yourself
At best, correcting someone who is driving is annoying. At worst, it is stressful, distracting, and can have dreadful consequences. Same goes for unpleasant jokes and discussion matters that unnerve.
12. Stop whenever needed
You might be on a schedule or have set precise pit stops along your itinerary, mind others’ impromptu request to take a break. Use that time to stretch or explore your surroundings. You never know what hidden gems you might discover.
This post was mostly inspired by this question that appeared on Quora. What are your best hacks and tips for surviving long road trips? Tell us all about it in the comments or on social media.