When it comes to road trips, I've learned a thing or two after traversing tens of thousands of miles. But I'm always finding new tips to make future journeys better. Sometimes it's also the simple tips which are the most important.
If you drive a lot, you probably know everything about the lack of comfort, from being stuck in the traffic to driving for hours without stop and dealing with resulting aches and sores. Stiffness, weird smells, lack of entertainment, the need for periodic cleaning and maintenance, etc. The list goes on and on and on. Why do we even bother with our own cars? That’s right, the public transportation is all the same and worse. At least, you can do something when it’s your own car.
1. Air It and Keep It Clean
We know it’s a bother! We’re always in a hurry, we buy food in drive-ins and eat when stuck in a jam, then, upon arrival to our destination we stride off to that meeting we’re late to and leave the wrappers of that hamburger and a paper cup from Starbucks right where they landed. Then we forget all about it. It’s okay since life has more important things to offer. But take a time once a week or at least every other week to clean things up in a car before the stale smell of that one uneaten piece of pepperoni pizza starts haunting you in your sleep. Air fresheners and diffusers can mask smells but there is a limit to them.
2. Get a Wireless Headset and a Portable Charger / Power Bank
Getting on the road, especially a long one, without any means of communication is only good when you want to get away from everything and everyone which is, generally, a nice and appealing concept sometimes but still, a way to call for a car mechanic at least is a possible necessity—after all, there are things you can deal with using a jump starter and the tools at your immediate disposal and then there are those you can’t. So when you’re traveling through nowhere with no towns and motels nearby, a power bank will come in handy. And to not be disturbed from looking at the road ahead, a Bluetooth headset is a good investment into safety. You don’t want to crush into that van making a sudden appearance from behind a sharp turn.
3. GPS is a Thing
GPS is a great invention that saves us time and efforts we could spend wandering in circles around our destinations. Even if you know precisely where you are going, the GPS navigation system is still useful—you don’t need to keep all the speed limits and side roads in your head. And some GPS systems offer backup cameras, can play music and video and even allow you to read e-books. That’s just simply convenient. A fairly cheap GPS tracker will help you find your car if it has been stolen, so there’s that as well.
4. Seat Comfortably
Short ride or long ride, it is always better to sit right, your neck and back will thank you later. This stress is cumulative and will catch up to you even if you drive for mere twenty minutes a day, like driving kids to school, and then you’re off the road. And if you actually take road trips between states for hours at a time, the aching back will mar every good minute you have, it will spoil the mood and make you cranky, which, in turn, can make you snap and lose it with your business partners or your long-distance rarely-seen sweetheart. To avoid that, put a special pillow on your seat. There are ones specifically made for your neck, back, lumbar area, buttocks; they can be attached to the seat and won’t slide off. If you’re not afraid of getting too relaxed and falling asleep, a full-body car seat massager can be your savior during long rides. And don’t forget to stop every few hours to stretch your legs, maybe make a couple sit ups to get the blood flowing. On the other hand, if you’re going for a really long drive, like, several-days-long, an airbed will save you money on a motel and it offers rest whenever you feel like napping regardless of the area. A nice blanket will keep you warm, there are electric ones for when you’re on Alaska during winter (though in this case, a motel might be a better option, actually).
5. Use Spill-free Mugs
No insurance company (or, at least, none we’ve heard of) will offer your money to replace your car’s white upholstery soiled by an overturned cup of coffee just because there happened to be an unexpected bump on the road or you had to brake suddenly when a dog broke free from its owner and sprinted right before your vehicle. A spill-free mug is cool, you put it in your car’s cup holder and stop worrying altogether. Also, there are thermos mugs offered on the market so you can keep your drink warm or cold and you can also pour a soup there instead of coffee and have a lunch when you wait for a jam to loosen up.
Stock up on everything you need and say to the world “Here I come!”
Alexis is a frequent traveller and always love to travel by his own car. He enjoys sharing his experiences with fellow travellers.