This fall I went on a small tour that took me from Charlotte, NC to Bloomington, IL and finally to Prescott, AZ. Now, I’m no stranger to long trips in a car. My family moved from Arizona to Illinois …then back to Arizona……and back again to Illinois. We made that 24 hour drive a handful of times throughout my life to visit family and take vacations out west, because plane tickets for a family of 6 is more than the gas money to get there!
So, you could call me a pro at this. Here are some things I’ve learn over the years to make a 24-hour drive seem slightly more bearable.
Keep Your Mind Occupied: After a few hours on the road you’ll realize how boring driving is (if you didn’t realize that already.) When I get bored I get drowsy, and everyone knows the dangers of driving while drowsy. Here are a few ways to keep yourself occupied while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel:
Music: Spotify and Pandora are just a couple apps that offer great music playlists with so many different genres. I like to listen to stuff that is upbeat and loud to keep me entertained and alert.
Comedy Shows: I’ve used Spotify to stream comedy shows from countless great comedians. I’m sure there are other apps to use as well, but this is one I know of for sure.
Podcasts: If you like to learn on-the-go this is a great way of keeping your mind active without having to physically do anything. I enjoyed listening to The Liturgist Podcast and learning about The Multiverse and The Enneagram personality types. (I’m an 8, in case you were interested.)
Audio books: I like to read, but reading and driving is probably not the best idea. There are a few different apps that will read your favorite books for you! Audible and Audiobooks are both great resources to use for this
Stay Hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated while driving. If you get dehydrated you can become sluggish and groggy which is not only bad for driving, but there are other worse symptoms that you want to avoid. Just make sure you’re not overdoing it though. If you have to stop more than once every 3 hours just to use the bathroom, maybe slow it down a bit.
Healthy Snacks: When the monotony of driving starts to hit after about 10-12 hours, munching on food tends to help break up that monotony. It gives the body something to do that’s still safe to do while manning a 2-ton death machine. Here’s a list of snacks that are easy to munch on in the car that offer a natural energy boost:
Apples (I prefer the applesauce in tubes. Just as delicious and I can eat it much easier while driving!)
Coffee/Caffeine: After 12+ hours of driving, it might be time to call in the big guns. Down some coffee of caffeinated tea to get that heart pumping oxygen to your brain a little faster.
Stretch: Every time you stop to get gas, food, or use the restroom take some time to stretch, jog around the building, do some jumping jacks, or anything else to quickly get your body active again. It’s not healthy to sit for prolonged periods of time and could even cause blood clots to form in your legs. Plus, it is a great way to wake up your body and brain before more driving.
Stop: If you don’t have a partner with you to switch off with, it’s more important to pull over than to keep driving through the night. There are usually plenty of rest stops or truck stops that are safe places to take a nap in your car. Keep a blanket and pillow with you just in case you absolutely need to stop and rest for a bit. If you’re lucky enough, make a bed out of your back seat! If you’re like us and your van/car/truck is full of music gear, try your best to sleep sitting up. If you’re rich, finding a hotel and sleeping in an actual bed is, of course, an option, too. No matter what, safety is more important than arriving a few hours earlier. It could ultimately make the difference of you arriving at all.