There’s nothing quite as exciting as a road trip, right?
But along with all the excitement, there’s the dread of long drives.
For both the driver and the passenger!
Passengers can get bored very quickly, and drivers can start feeling drowsy after a while.
Not to mention planning the whole trip, having enough gas, not getting lost, and driving safely.
It’s like an entirely different kind of ordeal, right?
And if you’re traveling with kids, well, that’s a whole different story!
So I decided to ask seasoned travelers and road warriors this very question: “How do they survive long road trips?”
After all, there’s no better person to ask than someone who spends so much time traveling and on the road – and enjoys it, too!
The responses I received were nothing short of amazing. The tips are actionable and incredibly out of the box!
Note: These responses are in no particular order.
Janice Waugh – SoloTravelerBlog
Janice loves exploring the world and has a passion for solo travel. She has created a large community of solo travelers that read her writing and follow her on her travels.
Variety is the key to enjoying a long drive. Wherever you’re driving try driving in silence sometimes, with a preset playlist at other times, listen to local radio to get a sense of location and listen to an audio book. I mix it up on my long drives but I especially enjoy the local radio and audio books.
Annette White – Bucket List Journey
Annette is a globetrotter in search of one type of thing: once-in-a-lifetime experiences! The name of her blog says it all – her journeys are worthy of being on bucket lists!
I always turn my road trips into an adventure filled itinerary by planning a route that takes in the tourist attractions, includes a fun activity and stops at delicious restaurants. It ends up taking a little bit longer to get to my final destination, but is so much more enjoyable! Plus, it breaks up the monotony or passing what seems like the same tree or roadside gas station.
Kach and Jonathan Howe – Two Monkeys Travel Group
Kach and Jonathan Howe have a unique travel philosophy – have the most amazing experiences on foot, biking, hiking up a mountain – and come back to a luxury hotel and get pampered in the spa!
Make the most of the journey – put your phone away and look out the window at wherever you’re passing through on the way to your destination. Also, always bring cash when you go on a long drive journey!
Ayngelina Brogan – Bacon is Magic
Ayngelina and Dave share stories of culinary travel and practical tips like How to survive long haul flights.
Download podcasts and listen to them while you drive. They make the time pass quickly and can be entertaining or informational. We love The Moth for storytelling and I also listen to Being Boss on long drives.
Stephen Schreck – A Backpacker’s Tale
Stephen’s story is what we all dream of. He started traveling when he was 22, and then would save up every year and go travel. Over the past few years, he has been traveling full-time and helping others travel, too.
It you want your road trip to have the old-school, epic feeling to it they turn off the apps and navigate with maps. Use the internet to look up sites and experiences before heading out, but don’t be afraid get away from technology, take detours, follow your gut, and had an adventure.
Dr Paul Johnson – A Luxury Travel Blog
Paul focuses on the finer aspects of travel – luxury hotels, destinations, restaurants, and resorts.
I drove right the way across Nepal – from Kathmandu to New Delhi – as part of an expedition with Land Rover. It was a 10-day trip and the roads were quite challenging, with lots of pot-holes and varied terrain, not to mention pigs, chickens, goats, cows and buffalo on the roads. You had to have your wits about you, but this was only possible by sharing the driving with my fellow travelers.
Corinne McDermott – Have Baby Will Travel
Corinne is a mother of two and an explorer! She travels the world and shares tips about how to travel so both you and your kids have the best time.
If you’re road tripping with kids, make sure you have–within arm’s reach–a few plastic bags, paper towel, and wet wipes. Children don’t always give you a lot of notice when motion sickness gets the better of them, so you want to be ready to pounce if you get that fateful call. In the same vein, try to avoid lots of dairy products and overly spiced or seasoned foods before and during your drive. If what goes down ends up coming up, better the contents of your child’s stomach be as boring as possible.
Penny Sadler – Adventures of a Carry On
Penny is a makeup artist by profession who has a serious case of Wanderlust. She loves traveling, having adventures, and Italy!
For long distance trips be sure that you car has been serviced before hitting the road. And even more important, map out the distance between town and cities where you would be able find a mechanic if needed and fill up with gasoline.
On a less serious note be sure to take along your favorite playlist There’s nothing like listening to good music to make the miles fly by.
Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott – Uncornered Market
Daniel and Audrey are serial travelers with a passion for creativity, personal development, technology, public diplomacy, travel and street food.
Download a series of podcasts to listen to so that you aren’t at the mercy of local radio stations.
Follow your curiosity and embrace random detours. If you see a sign for an unusual site or a village/town that sounds interesting, make the turn, particularly if it’s close. The time commitment and detour can help to break up the trip, and sometimes it could yield one of the key memories from it.
Kristin Luna – Camels and Chocolate
Kristin is a journalist by profession and travels frequently and in small doses – a road trip, two weeks in Europe…
I’ve found that you can’t rely on having cell service to use map apps for navigation. In addition to having a car GPS, I always find it a smart move to have alternatives—there are a couple different options like Sygic Navigation that allow you to download and store the maps on your phone so you can reference them when offline. It’s also always wise to keep a print map on hand as a backup.
Erin Bender – Travel With Bender
The Bender family has been traveling for 4 years straight! Erin blogs about her travels and helps families find the best travel destinations.
We are new fans of the audio book. It keeps the kids quiet, which makes for a pleasant drive. They also seem to absorb the story better this way.
Snacks are always a great idea to make long drives more fun and frequent stops – even if it’s to run to a bathroom help break up the time.
Adam Groffman – MyGayTravelGuide
Adam shares nightlife tips, photos, and personal stories from his travels around the world.
Like anyone who’s ever been on a road trip will tell you, the most important part of the trip isn’t necessarily the journey or even the destination – it’s the music! Make a playlist before leaving or else you’ll be stuck searching continuously for the right radio stations every few hundred miles.
Aileen Adalid – I Am Aileen
Aileen quit her corporate job when she was 21 to pursue a life of travel and adventure.
For road trips that span for too long, I know how tough it can be to handle your laundry as you go. You could, of course, wash your dirty clothes in any sink that you may find — but often times, it cleanliness is rather questionable. Laundry service is another option; however, they tend to be too costly if not risky (I’ve had far too many experiences where my clothes either went missing or changed colors).
So one hack that I do in order to not only ensure the cleanliness of my clothes but to also save on laundry expenses is to pack and use a Scrubba Wash Bag! With this piece of invention, I can also pack light with just a daypack as I head on to a month-long trip since I can just wash my clothes anytime and anywhere. For more information about this product, you can read my review here.
Robert Schrader – Leave Your Daily Hell
Robert Schrader has taken several road trips in the past year, from the California coast, to the Canadian Rockies, to Iceland in the middle of winter. Follow his travels—road-bound and otherwise—on his blog Leave Your Daily Hell.
When I’m on a long road trip that seems unbearable, I always remember the cardinal rule of travel — “It’s as much about the journey as the destination.” Sometimes, that entails stopping frequently for pictures; other times, it’s simply being mindful of the landscapes and scenery around you, as oppose to focusing on the passage of time or your diminishing fuel level.
Colleen Lanin – Travel Mamas
Colleen shares tips for families to travel with kids and stay sane! She was invited to the White House as one of the 100 most influential travel bloggers and media outlets for a summit on study abroad and global exchange.
Eat while you drive and stop to play. Munching on snacks and meals in the car keeps children occupied on the go. Stop instead at a park, rest stop or roadside attraction where they can run around and burn off energy. Children who have been stuck in a car for hours may not be so good at using their “inside voices” during a meal in a restaurant and a play break will allow them to get their wiggles out. They might just tire out enough to take a nap once the trip resumes!
Erica Ho – MapHappy
MapHappy is a blog about practical traveling – how to go about it like the pros. They try to help take the stress out of traveling by showing you the right way to do it.
If you are getting sleepy, have some caffeine right away! You can also take a short walk, do some stretches or jumping jacks, or if any of that doesn’t work, pull over and take a short power nap for 20 minutes. If a nap won’t cut it, stop at the nearest motel and get a good night’s sleep.
Christy Woodrow – Ordinary Traveler
Christy and Scott have been traveling together since 2006. They inspire people to live an adventurous life and provide helpful trip ideas for people with limited vacation time.
When music, audiobooks, and conversation get old, play some road games! As dorky as this sounds, these games are great ways to stay entertained and occupied on a road trip: I spy, the license plate game, dressing up the dog, and of course, Mad Libs!
These are 17 superb tips from 17 travel experts.
A big thank you to all the travelers that contributed to the post. They are the stars here!
What road trip hack do you have to survive long drives? Please let us know in the comments!
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