Hooray for long holiday weekends! If you’re smart, you’ve already planned an exciting trip somewhere. But because the weekend isn’t that long, chances are you’ll be driving.
After nine years of traveling and thousands upon thousands of miles logged all over the country (and Canada!), I’d like to consider myself somewhat of an expert roadtripper. I can probably drive to Jersey from Alabama with my eyes closed, and I can navigate unfamiliar mountain roads while singing and eating like a champ. None of which is recommended, by the way, but you catch my drift.
Whether you’re going 2 hours or 40 hours, a road trip is so much more enjoyable when you’re prepared. Here are some road trip essentials:
Snacks—Road trips require good food, duh. But you need to be strategic with your food picks. Get healthy snacks that will keep you full so that you’re not constantly stopping to eat fast food. Don’t load up on high fiber goodies that will make you speed toward gross gas station bathrooms. Eat foods that will keep your mouth busy (read: sunflower seeds) when you’re nodding off.
Music—An obvious one. But take it from me—the right CDs/radio stations/XM channel can make or break a trip. Find some tunes that will keep you singing and bopping along through the late-night hours. Hell, if one song on repeat makes you happy (like Ted and Marshall’s 500 Miles), own it! #Protip—the comedy stations on XM are pure gold for cross-country drives.
Hybrid—I’m only half-kidding with this one. The amount of money you save on gas for a hybrid is wild. Pokey the Prius gets a little over 50 mpg on highways, 70 in national parks. You can drive to the moon with that kind of mileage!
Active Imagination—If you can keep yourself entertained for hours on end, you’re good to go on a long drive. Make up stories, listen to crazy AM radio stations about aliens, talk to the voices in your head, daydream to your heart’s content. Be your own best friend and you’ll never get bored. However, if you have the imagination of a paper plate, perhaps you need a…
Road Trip Buddy—Friend! But don’t just ask the first person who comes along. You’ll be in an enclosed space with nowhere to escape for hours on end, so choose wisely. Your buddy should be a good conversationist and keep you entertained, but should also have the ability to close his or her eyes and pass out so that you can sneak some Backstreet Boys into the CD player.
Views—Any long trip will fly by when your nose is pressed up against the window watching the scenery. Highways suck less with snowcapped mountains surrounding you. Side roads give you a taste of of the local flavor.
Patience—There will be traffic. Bad weather. Unexpected stops. You just need to take it all in stride (boom.) and not let it bother you. If you were flying, you’d have delays, smelly seatmates, and long layovers. The drive is part of your journey—embrace it!
So next time you’re heading out on a road trip, use these tips and have the best time ever. Thank me later.