As the holiday season is approaching, many of us will be traveling to visit friends and family near and far. Many people often choose to drive to their holiday destination as it’s easier to fit more people and more things in the car. It’s easier and cheaper to drive than flying to your destination, especially when multiple people are involved. On the other hand, it can be time-consuming and challenging to drive your family for a long time in the car. It’s easy to feel poorly on a long road trip, but the more comfortable you and your passengers feel in the car, the more fun you will have along the way! With these simple steps you can take prior to your long road trip, you can ensure a fun, comfortable, relaxing, and even enjoyable time in the car. Whether you’re traveling with another adult or five kids in the backseat of the car, these tips are simple and highly effective in ensuring a comfortable trip.
Pack extra healthy food to snack on
We’ve all felt the sluggish feeling you get after you travel for a long time. That sluggish feeling is guaranteed to worsen if you snacked on candy and chips the whole road trip! So the first and most important tip to feel your best on a long road trip is to pack and prepare a lot of healthy food and snacks! This way, when you stop to fill up your gas tank or use the bathroom, you won’t be tempted to buy junk food. Good foods allow you to remain energized while driving and maximize your comfort. As the driver, being well-nourished is key for remaining alert while you’re on the road. As a passenger, being well-nourished is vital to stay healthy and feeling great for the rest of the road trip.
Stay hydrated, especially with water
I know it can be challenging to stay hydrated on a road trip, but it’s a must to feel your best. Like snacking, it’s important to stay hydrated with water only and not energy drinks or soda. The sugar in these drinks dehydrates and makes you feel sick as you sit in the car. According to Harvard.edu, drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. When you’re on a long road trip, the last thing you think to do is drink water because you don’t want to stop every hour to use the bathroom. However, it’s still an essential to healthy living, and the extra stops will help stretch your body out after being cramped in the car. Allow extra time for extra stops to feel your best once you get to your destination.
Plan to stop every 2 hours
Like we just covered, it’s important to allow extra time to stop so you can get out and stretch your legs and body to improve circulation, energy, and mood. If you can’t stop every two hours because you’re in a rush to get to your destination, this is where you could have planned ahead. Rushing your road trip can be dangerous to your health and well-being, but also dangerous physically as you might feel like you have to speed. If you have an inclining ahead of time that you will be in a rush, plan to leave a day early if you can! This way, you can plan to stop every two hours, and you might find an extraordinary sight along the way. Taking a short walk, jumping jacks, skipping, and hula hooping are all activities you and your family can do to refresh your muscles and joints after being cramped in the car. Doing this every two hours will guarantee a fun and comfortable road trip, no matter how long it is!
Sleep well and get rest the night before
The night before your road trip, another essential tip to ensure it is a success is to get a good night’s rest the night before. Pack up everything during the day so you can go to bed at a decent hour and get a whole night of sleep. The driver should do this, but also the passengers! If you are sleep deprived and have to drive a long way, you won’t be as alert as you should be. Additionally, if you are a sleep-deprived passenger, you might get nauseous and feel sick even if all you’re doing is sitting in the car. If you leave your home feeling sluggish and ill, it makes it hard to relax.
Prepare all sleeping essentials for each passenger
Create a sleeping kit with all bedtime essentials that is easily accessible in the car during your long road trip. A sleeping kit is everything one needs to fall asleep comfortably in the car. Pillows, blankets, toothbrushes, etc., are just a few examples of what could be in a sleeping kit. If your child has the comfort of his own pillow and blanket, they are most likely to take a nap and catch up on their sleep. Additionally, if you need to spend the night somewhere on your way to your destination, pack an overnight bag with all the essentials you need for that night, so you don’t have to bring all your luggage and items to the hotel. This makes it easy to pull up to the hotel, get your key, and go right to your room to unwind, relax, shower, and sleep.
Plan entertainment to bust boredom!
Boredom and road trips often go hand in hand. There are only so many trees, roads, cars, and other landscapes you can look at out the window while you’re just sitting there. Plan ahead of time fun games to play, music to listen to, audiobooks, fun questions to ask, etc. Each passenger should come up with an activity for the car to do so that it will always be something new and exciting.
Here is a fun list of games to play on your road trip:
- 20 questions
- Story Time: start off by saying one word to begin a story, and the rest of the group must take turns by saying one word to complete the sentences
- Name the song: one passenger will speak song lyrics, and the others will have to guess
- Going on a picnic: “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing…” is a memory game to try and remember what each passenger will bring on a picnic
- The License Plate Game: write down different states you see on a piece of paper, and the person to have the most at the end of the trip wins
- I Spy
- Would you rather
- Road Trip Trivia
- Car Bingo
- The Alphabet Game
- Never Have I Ever
- The Rhyming Game
- The Quiet Game
When you’ve exhausted the list of games and questions, download movies and tv shows ahead of time or bring DVDs to plug into a portable DVD player, computer, or even the car’s DVD player. Sometimes you’ll have enough service to stream movies on a streaming service, but when you don’t, the movie or show will stop playing. This is why it’s important to download what you want to watch while on your road trip ahead of time. Passengers only, of course!
Wear comfortable clothes
There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable with what you have on to wear while you sit in the car. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing with layers to take off some if you’re hot and put more layers on if you’re cold. Odds are, if you are traveling with more than two people, the car temperature might be too hot for some and too cold for others! So prepare and plan ahead of time what you’ll wear and what extra clothes you should bring.
Here is a quick list of the essentials to take on your long road trip:
- Healthy snacks
- Lots of water
- Lotion for face and body
- Tissues/toilet paper
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra comfy clothes
- List of games/activities
- Downloaded movies/shows
- Phone Charger
These top seven tips will guarantee you and your family a comfortable holiday road trip. Another thing to prepare for and consider before the trip is to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road trip and winter weather. It’s important to be cautious of snow, ice, wind, and extremely cold weather. Here’s a quick winter weather road trip check list for safe driving:
- Download your map/GPS ahead of time
- Bring extra windshield washer fluid
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Emergency car kit (first aid kit, flashlight, air compressor, booster cables, etc.)
- Winter survival kid (flares, food, etc.)
- Sand to put under your wheels to help you out of a slippery spot
Additionally, take your car to your mechanic for a road trip tune-up. In doing so, they will check out your heater, defrosting, brakes, lights, oil, and exhaust systems to make sure they’re working correctly. They will also check the condition of your tires and the quality of your windshield wipers. Finally, if you don’t have anti-freeze in the radiator, a car traveling in winter weather conditions will not survive. So, whether you’re traveling to northern Arizona this winter or driving across the country to the east coast for the holidays, these tips will guarantee a comfortable road trip and ensure a safe drive.