There are few valid reasons to be up before the sun—and a good road trip is one of them. Whether you plan to be cruising for a few hours or a few weeks, it’s important to keep things interesting, stay aware of what’s happening around you and be comfortable. If you’re not, even a short drive can feel like a cross-country catastrophe. We want to keep that from happening, so here are a few tips that will help make your next adventure a total success.
Prep your vehicle.
Nothing kills the road trip vibe faster than car trouble. Taking a bit of time to get ready for your travels can alleviate major headaches down the road. Simple things like topping off your tank the night before and checking your tire pressure can make a morning departure 10 times more efficient. Tackling routine maintenance like an oil change, alignment or air filter will help keep your ride rolling en route.
If you normally live in warm weather and are headed to colder territories, make sure certain parts of your vehicle are ready to cope with big temperature swings. Check or change fluids like your engine coolant and windshield washer fluid to ensure they won’t freeze solid. If you’ve been putting off that iffy battery, it’s time to splurge on some reliable voltage. Nothing zaps your battery quite like cold-weather starts.
Up your snack game.
We’ve all done it—pulled into a gas station just to fill up on fuel and driven away with a center console full of beef sticks, potato chips, candy and soda. Happens to best of us. But instead of loading up on overpriced snacks at the convenience store, a little planning can make life a lot better.
Start any trip by hitting up a grocery store before hitting the road. Filling a small cooler with snacks like fresh fruits, veggies, sandwiches and nuts will do more than help your budget go further. It will also give you more energy than the highly processed snack foods you often find once you’re already on the move.
Keep your boys comfy.
Today’s vehicles are all about keeping drivers comfortable. That’s why we have stuff like air conditioning, lumbar support, heated seats and so on. But while carmakers have gone a long way in making drives less arduous, there’s one area where they can’t really help you out: your undercarriage. And we aren’t talking about your vehicle.
No matter how comfortable your seats are, keeping your pool balls racked up for 500 miles at a shot doesn’t bode well for your manhood—whether we’re talking feel or smell. Help your bits feel better by using powder to keep that whole situation dry, cool and chafe-free. Trust us. This one’s a game changer.
Caffeine is a road trip staple. Could be coffee. Might be energy drinks. Maybe you chug soda. No matter your choice, one fact remains the same: you need to sprinkle some water in there, too. Caffeine is a diuretic, which is a fancy term for something that makes you pee more often.
While caffeine isn’t proven to cause significant dehydration, drinking water still improves all your bodily functions. Rotating it into the mix will help you stay more alert while you’re behind the wheel, reduce driving errors and improve your physical stamina.
Remember it’s not all about time.
We’re in a hurry to get everywhere always. That makes sense during your daily commute or those times you’re just trying to get errands done. But a road trip is different. It should be an occasion. Excuse the cliche, but that old adage about the journey being as important as the destination is still very true.
Find ways to make the route as much fun as your final stop. Skip chains for lunch or dinner and opt for local spots. You might stumble upon a roadside diner with the world’s best pancakes. And how do you find them? Trade freeways for backroads. Obviously, time is of the essence if you have a hard deadline. But if your schedule’s more flexible, adding an hour or two to your drive isn’t the end of the world—and you never know what you may find along the way.
Make your earholes happy.
Dead air can be a total buzzkill. Luckily, most of us carry around devices that make it a thing of the past. Your smartphone can be the best way to keep boredom at bay without ever taking your eyes off the road.
Make playlists on your music app of choice to match different stretches of the drive (extra points if you include Johnny Cash’s cover of “I’ve Been Everywhere”). Download an audiobook by your favorite novelist or use it as a time to bone up on topics like business, history or politics. Podcasts also keep things interesting, especially now that you can find options that cover pretty much every interest imaginable. Whether it’s tunes or tutoring, good audio can make any drive fly by.
What did we miss?
Everyone has a pre-drive ritual or routine. Share your top tips on our Facebook page or add a comment.