Americans love to travel and a recent survey by the Bureau of Transportation found that nine out of ten long-distance trips are taken in a personal vehicle.
Long car rides can be tons of fun but they can also be tiresome on the body and mind. It’s important for drivers and passengers to stay both comfortable and mentally stimulated.
Sometimes, keeping your mind on the destination and your foot on the gas isn’t enough to get through hundreds of miles of terrain.
Read on to learn what to do on a long car ride to stay comfortable and pass the time.
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What to Do on a Long Car Ride to Stay Comfortable
It’s taxing on the body to sit in a cramped car for hours on end. Driving down a long stretch of flat, unchanging road can be taxing on the mind. These tips will help you stay comfortable whether you’re taking a day trip or taking the next week to drive across the country.
Pull Over Every 2 to 3 Hours and Stretch
It’s tempting to drive for eight hours straight so that you get to your destination faster. The truth is, your body is going to resent you for it if you do. What’s the point in rushing to your vacation spot if your body is stiff and sore when you get there?
Every 2 to 3 hours, pull over at a rest stop, gas station, or other location off the highway. Get out of the car and move around. If possible, consider changing drivers.
Make sure that you stretch your neck and back by rotating your arms and performing light twists. Stretch your hamstrings and walk around to get the blood in your legs flowing.
Recognize When It’s Time for a Nap
Never drive while drowsy. Countless people have nodded off while behind the wheel, costing either their car or their lives. If your eyes are heavy and your mind is cloudy, it’s time to take a nap.
If you have another driver, it’s possible to take a nap in the passenger seat while the journey continues. The key is to keep your neck safe and your head supported. We recommend using a gel travel pillow to maximize your comfort while you catch some z’s.
Keep the Air Temperature Regulated
Temperature is one of the things you can control in a car and it can make a huge difference to your comfort. Cooler temperatures are generally preferable if you’re trying to stay awake and alert.
That being said, running the AC for hours on end can dry out the air and your respiratory tract. To ensure good ventilation and circulation, roll down the windows any time you’re off the highway and the weather permits. (You may also want to pack some nasal spray in case things do get uncomfortably dry.)
Things to Do on a Long Car Ride to Pass the Time
So you know how to take care of your physical comfort, but what should you do to keep your mind active? Maintaining an active mind is always important when you’re behind the wheel. The key is finding entertainment that will make you feel alert without distracting you from the road.
Play Car Games
Car games are a time-tested and children-approved way to pass the time during a long road trip. There are plenty of classics that you can play, or you can get creative and make up your own!
Perhaps the most timeless car game is the license plate game. The goal of the game is to spot as many different state license plates as possible. If you want to make it competitive, keep track of points and award one point to the passenger who spots a new state license first.
You can also play word games in the car. Pick a topic and go through the entire alphabet coming up with related words that start with a certain letter. For example, if the topic was “girl’s names,” your answers might be Abigail, Brenda, Carrie, Diana, and so forth.
Curate the Perfect Driving Playlist
One of the best things about a long car ride is the radio! Back in the day, drivers were at the mercy of the radio or the tapes they had on hand. Now, you can use apps like Spotify to make a playlist as customized and lengthy as you desire.
The best driving playlist is one that you can sing along to. Avoid songs that are lowkey or make you feel like you could get cozy and go to sleep. Stick to the songs that make you want to dance and sing!
No matter how long you’ve known someone, it’s still fun to hear stories about their life. If you’re riding with other passengers, use your long car ride to get to know each other better! Ask questions and tell stories that your passengers haven’t heard before–or love to hear.
If you want to combine storytelling with car games, start making things up! Make up a popcorn story with your passengers. You start the story off with an opening line and the story develops as each passenger contributes one line at a time.
Make the Most of Your Roadtrip
Why do so many Americans travel by car? The truth is that sometimes it’s the more financially sensible or convenient option. However, nothing beats an old-school road trip.
Before you hit the road, make sure you know what to do on a long car ride to stay comfortable and entertained. With our tips, your trip will be a big hit!
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