As you navigate the seasons of your life, your may discover your pastime is travel. Here are my tried and true tips to pleasant road trips! Taking a plane?
You have decided to take a road trip and you know you are going to be in the car for h-o-u-r-s. Is it comfort that will make the trip more pleasant? Companionship? Entertainment? Snacks? It’s all those! but more than anything, it is the preparation before the trip that makes it pleasant.
- Have an old school back up plan. Get a map! AAA Auto Club is a good resource. They will even map it out for you! With GPS, you don’t normally need a map, but if there is a road closure or emergency, the tiny screen of a navigational device or smartphone app does not show enough. A map shows options that GPS can’t.
- Make sure your car is clean, has gas and is road-ready. Keep a trash bag in the car. Is this a leisurely drive? Or a hurry-up-and-get-there drive? If you can agree on that, you are half way there.
- Companionship: Choose carefully who you travel with on the road because road fatigue can challenge the best friendships. Long, boring hours, difficult weather patterns, or conflicting radio preferences can make travel tedious. Choose your conversation topics carefully because, in a car, there are no separate corners.
- Entertainment: My husband Ed and I have a rule: any trip 90 minutes or more deserves new music! From the time we were dating till now, our love for music has always been the most evident on our road trips. With iTunes and Pandora, you can load up can sing for hours! When you get tired of that, Audible has an excellent selection of books that are very entertaining on a road trip. (I recommend Tina Fey’s BossyPants. I listened to it all in one trip and felt like she and I were best friends when I arrived!)
- Comfort: It’s all about the yoga pants, baby! Wear them with a t-shirt and take a light jacket. If you have a large scarf, it can double as a cover up while you are in the passenger seat. If you have washed your hair the night before, you will have time to style it comfortably before you jump into the car. I suggest light make-up: foundation with sunscreen, blush, eyebrows and lip gloss. If you have a travel emergency, you still look put together, but if you get a chance to catch any zzzzs, you have less to smear. Take a pillow, or even a throw, or use your scarf. Slip on shoes make it easy to wear just socks while traveling. Unless you are the one doing the driving, then try to keep your shoes on for safety.
- Make every stop a “movement break.” Walk, stretch, bathroom. Keep all your bodily processes flowing.
- Pack your console with care items: mints, lip gloss or chapstick, phone charger, wipes, bandaids, and a hair tie or clip. Take sunglasses and a hat with a brim, just in case you need extra protection while driving into the sunrise or sunset. (If you are flying, this goes in your carry-on.)
- Snacks: Sweet or Salty? That is the over-used question when we travel! There are so many choices, but before you choose, think about how you want to feel at the end of the trip. A steady diet of candy and chips, soda, fast food and minimal water to reduce potty stops, will make you feel miserable when you reach your destination. Try to offset your boredom and cravings with:
- whole grain crackers, fruit, veggie sticks, nuts and jerky
- a protein bar that has 10 grams of protein or more. Why? It will make you feel like you are eating a candy bar, but really gives your body a boost.
- Try to drink water in volumes when your gas tank is below 1/4 of a tank. By the time you need relief, it will be time to get gas–bam! Two stops in one! Add a light, healthy meal, and it’s three stops in one!
Will you be flying?
All of the above tips work when you fly too, except with a few modifications as noted above. Plus I would add these tips for flying too:
- Get to the airport early, with face masks and gloves. Keep your distance from others.
- If you are bringing presents, don’t wrap them. TSA has the authority to unwrap them to search the contents–and that includes bags that are checked AND bags that are carry-on. Fold your gift wrapping flat in the bottom of your suitcase and pack your clothes on top. Better yet, make a deal with whomever you are visiting to have enough paper on hand for your presents.
- Have a carry-on bag that includes the items from #4, 7, & 8 above.
Did I miss anything? What tips do you have that you could add in the Comments section below?
Have a great trip, and a great holiday season!