For many people, spending a week on the open road is the highlight of the summer. Road trips allow you to enjoy the journey as well as the destination, making them a phenomenal way to travel. Unfortunately, spending hours behind the wheel or cooped up in a little car can put strain on you and your travel companions. Whether you’re trying to keep the kids occupied or debating with friends about the best route to take, there are healthy ways to navigate these conflicts and keep the trip fun for everyone. Learn how to make your road trip as stress-free as possible with these tips.
Take Your Car in Beforehand
No one wants to deal with engine troubles or a flat tire in the middle of the interstate. Avoid unexpected problems by taking your car into the shop before you leave on vacation. This quick check-up ensures you aren’t hitting the road with a breakdown just waiting to happen. Ask your local mechanic to change your oil and refill brake fluids and antifreeze. You should also make sure your tires, windshield wipers, and air conditioning system are all in excellent shape. These precautions will help you address any problems early so you don’t have to deal with unexpected issues in the middle of your vacation.
Clean Your Car (and Keep It That Way!)
No one wants to spend hours cramped in a dirty car. One of the easiest ways to make your road trip as stress-free as possible is to thoroughly clean out your vehicle before you hit the road. Pick up any leftover trash, fold and stow blankets or umbrellas, and vacuum out crumbs and other debris. This will give you a clean slate to start the trip. As you travel, make sure everyone does their part to keep the car clean. Avoid spilling drinks or crumbs and throw out trash every time you make a stop. A clean vehicle creates a comfortable space in which to spend time and helps keep everyone in a better mood.
Make Driving as Easy as Possible
Spending long hours behind the wheel can start to get to you after a while. If you’re driving, make sure you don’t push yourself too hard. Take turns with other drivers so no one has to keep going the entire trip. Make a point of getting out of the car and stretching or walking around every time you stop—even if it’s just at a gas station. There are many ways to stay relaxed—and therefore safer—behind the wheel. Learn how to identify and avoid road rage, plan the perfect playlist to keep you awake and entertained, and have a reliable copilot who can help you stay on route. Everyone handles driving differently, so make sure you know how to de-stress and create an easier experience for yourself when it’s your turn in the driver’s seat.
Prepare for Mistakes
Let’s be real: no vacation ever goes just like you planned. You’re going to run late, take a wrong turn, get distracted by something you come across, or run into other roadblocks along the way. That’s okay! Be ready to face these mishaps when they occur. A little mental preparation can help you adjust to the situation and come up with a solution when you need one. Remember that you’re allowed to change your plans as long as everyone is happy with the update. At the end of the day, you still have a vacation to enjoy. The most important part is traveling and making memories with the people around you.