How to Survive a Long Car Trip

Get ready to have fun on the road.
Get ready to have fun on the road. (Image: Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Road trips can be a blast given the right combination of planning, flexibility and ingredients. When taking a long car trip, one of the most important things to remember is to keep your spirits up at all times and not to succumb to the frustrations of being cooped up in a car. While a long car ride can include unexpected delays, such as traffic or flat tires, it can also be full of good surprises like courteous motorists and beautiful scenery.

Things You'll Need

  • Snacks
  • Small cooler
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Books on tape or CD
  • Road atlas
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • CDs
  • Camera

Plot your itinerary ahead of time. Purchase a road atlas if you do not have one already. Mark your route and any points of interest where you plan to stop. Indicate your overnight stops and hotels. Leave yourself an extra day or so in order to allow for unexpected travel delays or fun digressions from the itinerary.

Review the day's itinerary as a group each morning before you set out. This way everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations regarding length of drive and planned stops.

Purchase a small, potable cooler to fill with ice packs and a few items that you will want during the drive so that you will not have to stop as frequently. Pack a reusable grocery bag with some dry snacks. These will keep you and your passengers from getting cranky between pit stops.

Bring a few stainless steel or other reusable water bottles. Fill them before you leave the house and at each gas station or restaurant along the way.

Bring a couple of novels on tape or CD that you and your passengers would enjoy. Listen to them during long stretches of road or when driving at night to help break up the trip.

Bring your favorite music and organize it ahead of time. Listen to CDs in place of the radio whenever you need a break or want to lighten the mood.

Take pictures. Document your funny mishaps and unexpected scenes or vistas, as road trips can often create memories you won't want to forget.

Be flexible. Allow yourself an afternoon at a water park, a few hours at a museum, an hour of shopping or a hike in nearby mountains. Giving yourself and your passengers a little leeway to have fun will break up the driving, make the journey go faster and keep your passengers happy.

Take turns driving. This is important for your morale and safety.

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