Although summer only has one full month left, the semester has finally ended, freeing Mitchell and I up for a road trip back to our hometown in the Portland area. This 12-15 hour trip is about 500 miles of traveling through desert. So it’s kind of a drag. But totally worth it to be back in the lush green beauty of western Oregon.
Since this is a trip I’ve made dozens of times over the last five years, I’ve become a rehearsed road tripper. Following is some advice to make your road trip more bearable.
Okay, obviously we need food to survive, but sometimes traveling in a car for long periods makes a person a little sick and without an appetite. However, it’s important to keep regular meal schedules. Eating can make you feel reenergized in a matter of minutes*
Additionally, I love to plan where we will stop for our meals. We typically eat out for most of our road trip meals because (a) it’s nice not to have to plan and pack meals, (b) it’s a good chance to get out and sit somewhere else besides the car seat, and (c) it reduces mess in the car. Plus, I feel like planning to eat at a favorite restaurant along the way gives you something to look forward to and maybe become a family tradition.
What you eat is also pretty important. If you fill up on lots of chips and candy, or eat all greasy meals, you’re not going to feel 100%. Don’t forget to eat some veggies, fruits, or healthy fats to keep up your energy and get your necessary nutrients.
*No scientific evidence on my part, purely antidotal.
Along with eating good meals, it’s super important to keep drinking water or other ultra-hydrating drinks. So in between chugging 5-hour Energy drinks, make sure you keep a bottle of water or juice with you.
If you’re anything like me, or other totally normal humans, you might not like drinking that bottle of water you got at the start of your road trip. I have to be dying of thirst before I drink warm water. So I was thrilled to get a Hydro Flask which can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours (or if you’re a hot coffee or chocolate kind of person, it keeps those warm for up to six hours). It’s also a great way to save money from buying plastic water bottles that aren’t eco-friendly.
This is especially important if you are driving alone. One of my favorite things to do on a road trip is listen to an audiobook. Music can get kind of old on a 12+ hour road trip, so it’s nice to have the option too as well. I can’t recommend this book enough, and if you’re into podcasts and haven’t listened to this one yet, you totally should! I’ve also downloaded movies or games on my laptop or tablet to keep myself entertained as well—obviously as a passenger.
Other activities might include:
- Coloring books
- Reading an actual book
- Catching up on social media and/or emails
- Planning your trip
- Looking out the window
- Shoving your face with food
I secretly like road trips because often times it’s just me and Mitchell which means I can have his undivided attention for hours on end. Not that he doesn’t give me any attention, I’m just kind of needy.
It’s good time to talk things out or daydream together. If you’re not that close to a person, you have a great chance to get to know them. Hopefully you like the people you’re road tripping with, or this might not be as good of an option.
Okay there I go stating the obvious again, but I bring this up because one time Mitchell and I thought we could drive through the night across two states in order to “save time.” Boring story short, we had to stop before we were halfway through our journey. So when you think about planning your trip, try to be realistic.
Decide what cities you want to stop, where you want to get food, and where rest stops will be or won’t be. This will not only remove huge amounts of stress, but it will also keep your trip going in a timely manner. Nothing like extending your road trip with an unnecessary hour of searching for meals or places you’re allowed to use the restroom.
This can also be said for getting ready for your trip. The day before is almost as important as your trip. Make lists to make sure you don’t forget any of your things. Consider pre-packing your car so you don’t have to worry about it the day of your trip. Make sure your belongings will be safe if you do decide to load your vehicle the night before.
Road trips are usually a means to an end, but they can be fun and stress-free. Where have you gone this summer (or where are you going)? What other tips help your road trips to be fun?