“Are we there yet? How many more miles…?” For parents these are almost universally recognized as the often repeated questions that bored children ask on family road trips. We all know how a long ride in the car can be hum drum or even downright tedious! Vivid are the childhood memories of the sometimes stressful moments driving all the way to Grandma’s with the family.
Even driving alone or with one or two passengers, the close confinement of a vehicle and the tedium of the road can take their toll on even the most cheerful among us. Fortunately there are some ways to plan for and enjoy time together on long road journeys, even with kids and pets!
We’ve learned a few tricks, having driven hundreds of different vehicles well over 7 million miles, coast to coast, north to south, with people, pets and luggage. Now we’ve all heard that “life’s a journey so make the most of it!” That’s the whole idea of this article. Make the most of every mile together and the journey will be as fun as the destination!
We’re pleased to share with you some long distance life savers for relieving stress and making the trip fun:
- Think exciting trip instead of long car ride. If your attitude is positive about the journey, so will be the experience.
- What’s the purpose of the trip? Depending on where you’re going and why, your planning will be different. Are there strict time constraints? Business trips will be more itinerary focused than pleasure trips, for example.
- Consider the ages of all passengers. The needs of 80-year olds are very different from 8-year olds and 18-year olds.
- Plan meals. Brown bagging, drive-thru or eat-in restaurants – consider dietary limitations of all passengers. Calculate time for food stops.
- Keep a cooler. Make sure there are always cold drinks available including fresh water for everyone. Keep perishables refrigerated!
- Share the driving. When possible, it’s always good to share the responsibility of driving so everyone gets a chance to enjoy the view or take in a book/video. It’s also a vital safety concern.
- Coordinate rest stops. When you gotta go, you gotta go, but you’ll have fewer needed stops if you can all try to synchronize when nature calls. Stay hydrated but try not to drink too much fluids.
- Safety first! Regarding the above, always be sure every driver is sober, alert and prepared to drive whatever distance is required of him or her. Make sure the vehicle is properly inspected and maintained. Seat belts – yes, always. ZERO TOLERANCE for “texting & driving!”
- Plan for medications of all passengers. Sufficient supply of necessary prescribed medications should be safely kept on board.
- Bring lots of music and videos. Let everyone bring their favorite music and video. MP3 players, headphones, smart devices, CD players, iPods, etc. will give everyone entertainment options.
- Lean to compromise. If playing music in the car, give everyone some time for their own choices of music. Same thing with snack & drink choices, etc.
- Play games! There are lots of verbal and road cue games that can keep everyone engaged for hours. That could be another article!
- Bring bottled water for the pets too! Water your pets with quality bottled water because drinking from foreign sources can make them sick.
- Stop at the touristy stops. Take in the history and unique features of the changing landscape. Talk to the folks and experience the culture of the locals. Remember this is about the joy of the journey.
These are just some of the things you can do to make your long road trips more pleasurable for all on board. Of course if nobody wants to drive, we can easily recommend a professional driver service for that, aptly named Professional Drivers!