Having 2 road trips under my belt, I feel like a pro. Okay, not really but I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to help you prepare for yours. These road trips have both been over 10 hours each and yes, it is as long as it sounds. However, they can be rather enjoyable if you’re open to the adventure.
Top 5 Tips
1) Bring snacks and drinks. This may seem like a common sense tip but if you’re thinking about picking up munchies at a gas station during your trip, I’d advise differently. It not only costs more, but also adds extra time to your journey and your choices are limited. Buy drinks beforehand in a multi-pack and take want you think you’ll need (you can never pack too much water!). Buy snacks ahead of time and/or make them yourself since your choices of snacks at a gas station are less than ideal. They’re mostly packed with sugar, salt and unneeded calories with no nutrition. If you do opt for the healthy snacks, you can save a lot of money by buying them in bulk and packaging them in smaller portions yourself before the trip. You’re already spending the whole day sitting on your bum, so empty calories and non-nutritious food is the last thing you want to be eating. My favorite on-the-go snacks are:
- Fruit – apples, grapes, dates and other easy to eat options
- Veggies – carrot sticks, snap peas
- Peanut butter to go cups – perfect for dipping your fruits and veggies in
- Dried fruit – mangos (I’m obsessed with these), raisins, apricots, pineapples
- String cheese – because who doesn’t like string cheese!
- Beef jerky – high in sodium but also high in protein and delicious!
- Bottled coffee – my favorite is Starbucks Iced Coffee + Milk
2) Stay hydrated but not too hydrated. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I pee ALL THE TIME! Seriously, I think I have the world’s smallest bladder. Anyway, the last thing you want to be doing is making your 10 hour trip even longer by taking pit stops to use the restroom every hour. Getting dehydrated on road trips is really easy to do so make sure you’re drinking enough liquids but also not too much.
3) Pack a lunch. Depending on where you are road tripping to, I suggest packing a lunch. Even if it’s just a sandwich you’ve prepared the night before, you might not have very many options on your trip. My family and I realized this while driving through the Middle of Nowhere, Nevada. We were getting hungry, it was around lunch time and we were in the middle of a tiny town that was the biggest town for the next couple hundred miles. There was no fast food restaurants, no Subway, not even a knock off version of a fast food restaurant. We ended up eating at a café/bar, paying over $10 each for a sandwich and fries and it taking over an hour to get in and out. If you are passing through some scenic places on your trip, packing a lunch lets you stop and enjoy those places while eating a delicious (and possibly more nutritious) lunch!
4) Bring things to do. This one is pretty obvious, but I thought I’d offer a few suggestions for keeping yourself occupied.
- Books – If you get car sick reading in the car like yours truly, this may not be the best option for you. I still brought a few books and took a break looking out the window every couple of minutes to make sure I didn’t throw up.
- Movies – Download some movies onto your iPad or tablet of choice before your trip. This also is a little challenging for those prone to getting car-sick; however, at least have the option available in case you can handle it because when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no service you’ll be glad you did.
- Podcasts/Book on Tape – If you’re road trippin’ solo or even if you’re in the car with others, a podcast or book on tape is a fun way to pass the time. This also helps for those of you that get car sick. 😉 My favorite podcasts are The Black Tapes and School of Greatness.
- Games – Car games are great to pass the time and get the whole car involved!
- License Plate Game – Everyone starts with the letter A and has to find all the letters of the alphabet (in order) on car license plates. No letter or license plate can be used by more than one person (i.e. if someone finds a “C” on a license plate, no one else can use that same license plate for a different letter or the same letter. If there’s also a “D” on the license plate, the same person who found the “C” can claim the “D”.) The first person to get all the way through the alphabet to reach Z wins. Modification – If there are not many cars around, you can also use road signs. Billboards and other advertisements do not count.
- I Spy – If you don’t know how to play this game, that’s why they invited Google.
- 20 Questions – Have one person think of an object in a category everyone agrees on (i.e. animals). The rest of the car takes turns asking this person yes or no questions to try to figure out what they are thinking of. You have up to 20 questions before you have to guess.
- Just ask questions! – Depending on who you’re road trippin’ with, this is a great one! I went on a road trip earlier this year with my boyfriend and we definitely learned a lot about each other this way. Whoever was the passenger, looked up fun questions to ask your significant other and we took turns answering them. It was fun to get to know each other this way and brought us closer together.
- Crafts – My mom takes yarn with her everywhere and road trips are no different. If you’re a crafter and your craft can be done in a small space, this is a great opportunity to knock some out!
5) Enjoy the journey. I’m sure a lot of you have heard the saying “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey to get there.” I feel like this quote was made for road trips. While I’m sure your destination is something you’ve been looking forward to, don’t forget to also enjoy the journey getting there. Sometimes, this can be even better than the destination.
I hope these tips help you enjoy your next road trip a little bit more!