Our little family just took a 43 hour road trip from the West Coast to the East Coast. Needless to say, it was super exhausting but I think we did our best to make things go smoothly. I think by now we have our own routine going on when it comes to road trips. I am not saying we are experts but we love jumping in the car and driving around. Our favorite road trip so far was The Pacific Coast Highway Drive in California. My husband drove the Arizona – Chicago distance 25 times in the past eight years. He might be an expert.
Even though this recent trip was a little more complicated to organize because we were moving, we do have some things that have been helping us during our road trips. I thought I would share them with you, just in case they can help you too in the future.
TIPS TO MAKE A LONG ROAD TRIP EASIER
BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT
- Most people are not car specialists so if you don’t wanna get stuck in the middle of nowhere not knowing what to do, take your car to the shop and get it checked! Make sure you check the tire pressure and that you do have a spare tire in your car that is ready to go.
- Check on the map or Google Maps on where you are headed and write down the main roads that you have to take. Get familiar with your trip before you head out.
- Buy a car charger and an AUX cord
- Download helpful Apps for navigation and road support (see the apps below)
- Get some snacks, drinks and pack sandwiches. It is easier to eat healthier on the road when you pack your own snacks and it also helps you save some money.
- Plan some fun stops along the way. You can look at these as mini trips! Something to look forward to every once in a while!
FOR YOUR COMFORT
- Pack some blankets, comfortable socks and pillows for your passengers or when you switch drivers. This will also make it easier for you to take a nap in the car when you are driving by yourself and you have to stop at a rest stop to rest.
- Make sure you have one roll of toilet paper, paper towel, wet wipes and hand-sanitizer with you.
- Pack a set of change of clothes in case you have to change your tire in the rain or you spill a drink all over you. (Or if your dog gets sick on your lap. Been there, done that)
FOR YOUR SAFETY AND NAVIGATION
- Have a flashlight and a first aid kit packed in your car
- Apps that can be helpful and we love using:
- WAZE – Community based GPS. The BEST thing you can have since sliced bread 😀
- iExit – An amazing Interstate Exit Guide
- TollSmart – Toll expense calculator, so there are no surprises along the way.
- GasBuddy – Find the cheapest gas prices along the way. Both USA and Canada!
- Roadtrippers – Awesome sights along the way! Exciting mini stops! Plus restaurants and hotel finds!
- Urgent.ly – Fast and safe roadside assistance
- Flush Toilet Finder – Do NOT underestimate the worth of this one
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT – RADIO
- Turn on the radio, play music. I love Spotify and used it during this entire trip. You can download the free version but that one has some restrictions. If you want to use the paid version, there is a student discount if you are still in school!
- Listen to Audio Books on Audible – $14.95/month, Free Trial for 30 days!)
- Listen to Stand Up Comedy. That will keep you awake for sure! – My favorites are John Mulaney and Brian Regan
- Call up family or friends and talk to them! Connect your phone to the speakers via Bluetooth or an AUX cord
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT – GAMES
- 20 Questions
- ABC Game – Going through the ABCs find one word starting with A then B then C…You might have to skip X and Q
- Cow Game – You count the cows on your side of the road. Whoever gets the most, wins! However, you lose all your cows if you pass a cemetery on your side. Extra points for horses!
- Sorry, I am Late – One person goes: “Sorry, I am late, because …. (and the reason is a plot to a movie). Everyone else has to guess which movie was the person talking about. For example: Sorry, I am late because my ship crushed into a giant chunk of ice and my boyfriend froze in water, even though he could have fit next to me on that piece of wood I was comfortably camping out on… so what is the movie?
- Father Owned A Grocery Store – One person starts saying: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples. The next person says: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples and bananas. The next person goes: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples, bananas, and cucumbers. And so on. Great memory game! You can do it based on the ABC or to make it harder just with random things too.
- Story Make Up – When someone in the car falls asleep, everyone else who is awake would make up a story to tell the person when he/she wakes up. The goal is to make the story crazy but believable enough for the sleeping person to believe it. 🙂
- Have a journal with you! Write about what you see, feel and experience on your trip
DOWNLOADABLE GAMES – Downloading option COMING SOON!
- Travel Bingo – Download a free travel bingo here!
- Travel Scavenger Hunt – Download it for free here!
- License Plate Game – Download free sheet here!
WHEN YOU ARE GETTING TIRED
When you feel tired you should definitely find a place and stop. But I understand that sometimes you will get tired in the middle of nowhere and you will have to toughen out some time before you find a place to stay for the night.
These techniques have worked for us to wake us up a little bit:
- Open window for some fresh/cold air
- Drink water! Seltzer water works for us even better! We love La Croix!
- Chew gum
- Pinch or slap yourself! (I know, it sounds ridiculous but it does work)
- Sing out loud, as loud as you can
- Talk to the person next to you or if you are by yourself, talk out loud any way!
If you are just in need of a break but not planning to stop for the night just yet:
- Stop and take a coffee break. Sit down in a coffee shop and relax a bit.
- Do some stretching
- Jog around the rest stop
- Do some jumping jacks and squats. Get a workout in 🙂
- Yoga in a rest area if there is a park
So this is it so far, I would LOVE to hear your input on this one. The more ideas we gather the more we can help each other out on those long and dragging road trips!
Please share your ideas with us below! How do you prepare or make a long road trip easier?