Road Trip Tips From a Road Trip Warrior
I consider myself to be a Road Trip Warrior of sorts. Florida? 5 times (3 of which were of the 24 hour straight variety). Prince Edward Island? Check. Philadelphia? Check. Chicago? Check. New York City? Too many times to count. VANCOUVER? Why yes, via Chicago > Denver > Las Vegas > San Francisco > Seattle > Victoria. I have spent tens of thousands of kilometres behind the wheel, and over that time, I have discovered how to make hours in the car as comfortable as possible.
Road trips have many advantages to traditional air or rail travel. They are a great way to see a region. They are typically less expensive. And, you can usually bring more 'stuff' along with you (though, this of course depends on how many passengers and the size of the vehicle!).
However, there are two major drawbacks. First, is the substantial increase in travel time. And the biggest draw back, of course, is being confined to a car, where you will likely be sitting. And this causes problems. Unlike flying or taking the train, where you can go for a walk and a stretch whenever you please, being in a car limits your freedom of mobility to only when you make a stop. And as you know, sitting for long periods is never a good thing, no matter how comfortable the seat in your car may be.
So, here are some tips to help make your next road trip more comfortable:
✓ Make sure your seat is properly adjusted (especially if you're doing the driving). Modern cars typically have numerous seat adjustment options (mechanical or power), and usually have tilting/telescoping steering columns as well. Some even have adjustable pedals (if you're lucky!). Most experienced drivers already know how to do this. Check out this article for good, step-by-step instructions. Seating position also applies to passengers in both front and back!
✓ Dress comfortably. I know this sounds obvious, but it's something often overlooked. Wear comfortable shoes. Better yet, if you're not doing the driving, take off your shoes! Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Take off your heavy sweatshirt or jacket. For passengers, bring pillows or even a blanket.
✓ Make frequent stops. I know people think that getting from point A to point B on a road trip in the least amount of time is ideal (hey, we all have that one friend who boasts about making it from Toronto to Montreal in less than 4 hours), but if you arrive and can barely walk, it's not worth it. Stopping every 2 hours for a stretch is a always a good idea.
✓ Pack responsibly. Although you can typically pack heavier on a road trip than if you were flying, it doesn't necessarily mean you should. Heavier luggage increases the risk of you hurting yourself when you have to lift and load it into and out of the car, especially if you have multiple destinations on your trip. Check out this post from the Ontario Chiropractic Association for tips on how to handle your luggage.
✓ Don't forget to eat and drink. Pack water and snacks. Individually-wrapped sandwiches make things easier, as do water bottles. It's also good to take an extended rest stop and eat along the way, too.
✓ Have fun! I know this sounds silly, but from my experience, it's definitely true. Enjoy the ride. If you're lucky enough to be travelling through some picturesque areas, put down the smartphone or tablet and enjoy the scenery. For me, the drive from Denver to Las Vegas was absolutely breathtaking (that's where the photo in this post is from). Put on some great music and sing (and in my case, dance) along! Have engaging conversations with the people you're travelling with. Enjoy the journey!