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Seven Tips for a More Enjoyable Road Trip

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By Susan Melony

There are a lot of great reasons to take a road trip. Besides the practical side of things, which is that you can create your own schedule and save money when you travel with others, you will also discover new places you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Not to mention, you can avoid the anxiety associated with flying.

That doesn’t mean your road trip is guaranteed to be a success, however. Road trips can also be uncomfortable, dangerous, and frustrating.

No matter why you have decided to take a road trip, the tips on this list will help make sure that the time you spend in the car is as enjoyable as possible.

Share the Road

Road trips can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself in an accident, which can ruin your entire trip.

Follow all of those tips you’re used to hearing, like putting down your cell phone while driving and brushing up on your knowledge of the rules of the road, but you should also focus on being courteous to other drivers.

If someone is driving faster than you are, allow them to pass. Avoid driving in someone else’s blind spot and be especially careful when it comes to sharing the road with truckers. You should always give truck drivers plenty of space and pass them as safely and quickly as possible. Around 13 percent of all truck accidents involved a fatigued driver who isn’t paying attention like they should, so it's well-worth the effort to keep your distance.

Make Sure Everyone Knows the Rules

As the driver, it’s your job to know the rules of the road. And it’s everyone else’s job to know the rules you have in your car.

Don’t have any rules? Make some! Then, share those rules with all of the other passengers in your car. A few rules you may want to make for your car while you’re driving include:

  • Everyone has to wear a seatbelt;
  • No yelling or screaming;
  • Don’t touch the dash controls without permission;
  • Keep feet off the backs of chairs and the dash.

Ask your passengers if they have rules they would like others to follow as well. For example, siblings may agree not to play music or videos without headphones, while another adult passenger may ask everyone to throw garbage in a bag inside the car.

Make Stops Fun

Stops are important when you’re on a road trip. They ensure everyone has a chance to go to the bathroom, or stretch their legs, and you may want to get something to eat. Instead of making every stop all about utility, plan stops along your route that are fun too!

By all means, grab something to eat and switch drivers, but you should also look for stops that are interesting to you and your passengers. Look for weird roadside attractions that aren’t far from your main route or find a park where everyone can take a quick stroll in nature. The drive won’t seem so monotonous and getting back in the car will be easier when everyone gets a chance to do something fun when you pull over.

Focus on the Comfort of the Driver

Many road trip lists remind you to focus on the comfort of other passengers, but in addition to worrying about what technology or games the kids have in the backseat, you should also be worried about the comfort of the driver!

That might mean getting a more comfortable seat cover, but it also means giving the driver complete control over the radio and climate controls. The driver will have an easier time focusing on the road if the air is set just the way they like it and they get to listen to music they actually like.

Bring Peppermint Essential Oil

There are a lot of ideas out there on how to stay awake on the road. Contrary to popular belief, blasting the A/C or the music don’t really help. Instead, bring along a little peppermint essential oil.

There are many ways the peppermint plant is used, but one of the best uses is to increase alertness. If you start to feel a little drowsy while you’re driving, but you aren’t ready for the next stop yet, take a whiff of peppermint oil to wake up.

Do you or any of your passengers get a little carsick? Peppermint oil can help with that too! If your stomach is starting to bother you or one of your passengers, let them take a sniff.

Make Snacks Accessible

There are a lot of great road trip snacks, but it doesn’t matter how delicious or filling they are if the driver and passengers can’t reach them.

No matter what kind of snacks you choose to bring along with you, make sure that they are accessible to everyone. Open snack bags and place them in the cup holder in the front seat for the driver and make sure snacks are in the cup holders for passengers in the backseat. The front seat passenger can be tasked with holding onto extra snacks and passing them out, when needed.

Drive the Right Car

The car you drive can have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your trip. If your vehicle is loud, smelly, or doesn’t have a lot of leg room, you aren’t going to like spending hours on the road.

If your personal car isn’t up-to-par, rent a car! It may cost a little bit of money upfront, but driving a car that’s right for your trip can completely transform how you experience your vacation.

Road trips can be a lot of fun. They can be convenient too, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to have a great time. From rules to snacks, the car you drive to the stops you make, there is a wide variety of things you can do to set you and your passengers up for a successful trip, no matter what your final destination.

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