Maybe you’re an experienced road trip junkie, but maybe you aren’t. Perhaps the idea of your upcoming long distance move has you feeling a little anxious about so many long hours driving alone, envisioning a white-knuckled relationship with your coffee cup and fearing hours spent without talking to another soul.
We hear you. So here’s a list of eleven things you can do to keep yourself sane while you make the long journey to your new home.
- Set a limit to how many hours that you will drive each day and stick to it
The human body and mind have their limitations, and it’s important not to create unrealistic expectations of yourself. Don’t plan to make the whole trek in record time if you want to enjoy yourself even in the slightest — instead, set a reasonable limit for hours spent driving, allow time for breaks, and stick to it. You might think you are a cross-country drive superhero, but you’ll be much happier and healthier if you cut yourself some slack and take enough time to rest.
- Make a playlist before you leave
Crowdsource some great new music from your friends and make some road trip playlists before you leave. Choose a varied mix with some shameless singalong music as well as some “pick-me-up” tunes to energize you when the day is feeling long. Radio stations will come in and out, so don’t rely on the airwaves to provide your driving music. If you’re on a multi-day trip consider boosting your repertoire with a few podcasts of interest, too.
- Stop at truck stops, not rest areas
It doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but choosing your break spots at truck stops will give you access to fill up on water (or coffee), snacks, and a little human interaction. You’re likely to take a longer break if you’ve got things to check out along the way, and let’s face it — when you’re excited to move to a new city, you’re likely to cheat yourself out of some good rest stops. Which brings us to:
- Stretch every time that you stop
Long hours in the car are tough on the body. To avoid arriving at your new home with a desperate need to find a chiropractor, take the time to stretch your shoulders, back, and hips every time you stop — not just when they hurt. It will keep your body feeling happier, which will enable you to focus on driving safely.
- Buy an extra cell phone car charger and keep it in your glove box
Nobody wants to be searching for the nearest electronics store with a phone that’s nearly dead. Keep yourself prepared by having the proper cords readily available for your phone and other electronics so that you can spend your time on what matters most: driving safely to your new home.
- Make a plan and know where you are going to sleep each night
Part and parcel with point #1 is to have an intended destination for each day as well as a backup plan. Whether you’re camping or staying in hotels, identify a few options for places you can rest for the night along your intended route. Bring an up-to-date and detailed atlas with you as well, which will help to identify nearby towns and populated areas in case of worst case scenario: no cell reception. If you’re planning to camp, be sure to choose well-established camping areas where you’ll feel safe on your own for the night.
- Get AAA or a roadside assistance plan
Whether you’re taking the northern route through the mountains and plains or a southern track across the flats of Kansas, you’ll feel better knowing that if something goes wrong, help is a quick phone call away. This will save you the time and energy you might otherwise spend trying to find a towing company, a locksmith to help you get your keys out of your locked car, or anything else that could potentially go wrong during your drive.
- Enter your destinations along the way into your GPS beforehand
Avoid the oh-so-dangerous temptation to type on your phone or GPS while you’re driving and do it before you start driving. Your GPS will know to direct you to all of your wayside points, or you can easily find them in your saved destinations. Navigation made simple.
- Pack snacks and extra food
We’ll fill you in on a secret: more than one day of surviving on truck stop food will not be pleasant. If you’re going to be on the road for multiple days, pack extra healthy snacks for the road and consider bringing along something simple like sandwich fixings for quick daytime meals.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and consider packing a pillow to sit on
As you’re choosing your road trip attire, consider your comfort top priority. Shoes that will be good for driving are critical, and clothing that will stay breathable and comfortable is ideal. If you’re driving in hot weather consider that there may be times you’ll have sun heating things up through the windows and dress appropriately. Likewise, if you’re relocating to a new home in the winter, keep sufficient layers handy and bring some comfortable gloves or mittens.
- Inspect the vehicle before to ensure everything is in working order and safe for long distance driving
As you plan a road trip, it’s best to ensure that you’ll have a safe drive by checking your vehicle before you leave as well as at the beginning of each day. Make sure the tires and in good shape, lights are in working order, and everything looks to be in its right place. This blog post will give you a few more tips to improve your moving truck experience, too — so best of luck on your long drive. Have fun with it!