Living a relatively short drive away from our home town means that we often drive back to stay for the weekend and visit friends and family.
Car trips can be boring, but we always try to make the most of it. Our trip takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, usually on a friday afternoon and then returning on the following sunday afternoon.
Tips for Road Trips
1. Pack Snacks
It doesn't matter if we leave straight after lunch, if I am driving I always need some food to keep my energy and concentration up. It is important to make sure that your blood sugar is not dipping too low when you are driving 110kms/hr on a busy highway. My favourite snacks include: almonds, cut up apples, flavoured milk, rice crackers, ham and salad sandwiches, homemade muffins and, of course, chocolate!
Your travelling buddy is obliged to take charge of obtaining, opening packets and providing your mouth with snacks.
*Please take care when eating and driving. You should never prioritise your attention on anything but the road. For more substantial meals you should always stop, stretch your legs and give your brain a rest.
2. Keep Hydrated
Dehydration make me cranky and it's also dangerous and bad for your concentration. I prefer to have drinks that are in cups with a straw when driving as it is safer than drinking from cans or bottles (no sharps edges, no cas to remove) although this means that I'm usually drinking soft drink or a delicious Slurpee. My latest craze is 7/11's Zilched Mango Slurpees. They are seriously yummy and not full of sugar (although they are full of controversial artificial sweeteners, but don't worry I'm not living off them or anything).
For a healthier choice you can purchase a drink cup with built in straw and fill it with water or your beverage of choice.
3. Listen and Learn
Ok, so you might think differently of me after reading this point... I enjoying listening to ABC Radio National. It is my radio station of choice. No FM "cool" rock'n'roll for me. I won't even pretend that I listen to TripleJ. Mr Canbella turned me on to RN years ago and I've never looked back. (Except when they have those weird spoken word with trippy music segments. What is that all about???) They have great stories that draw you in and teach you something about the world. I love being taken in by a topic that I never would have ever cared to research.
Another option is downloading podcasts from interesting places and listening to them. I also download podcasts from RN, they have great stories. Another great place to learn about people and the world is "This American Life".
4. Rock Out
Upbeat, happy, pop or rock'n'roll is the order of the day to keep things rolling on car trips. We keep a collection of our favourite turns in the car (no iPod connector in our old ride) and love putting them on and singing (with the volume turned up so we don't hear our own voices.) It's also a great way to learn about each others musical tastes. For group road trips it would be great to have each person make a CD or playlist of songs they love.
Another way to enjoy music is The Radio Game. In this game the passenger must operate the stereo. They will scan through the stations. At each station (that is playing a song) they will stop. The first person to correctly state the Artist wins a point. (You could also do Artist/Song or Song.) If you jump in with the wrong answer you lose a point. If no-one guesses within about 20 secs, you move on. Unless it's a really good song, in which case, rock out! That's it!
Take the time to just talk. Really talk. Decompress from the work work, talk about your dreams, plan imaginary holidays. Anything you like really. I think the car trip really gives you space to get in to long, deep conversations that might otherwise get interrupted by life or a waitress.
And most importantly, drive safely and take breaks when needed!