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Tips for Road Trips

With summer just around the corner, you might find yourself longing for the open road and a warm breeze flowing through your windows before starting that first out-of-college full-time job. Whether it’s solo trips or trips with friends, long drives can be exhausting. These tips might make your next trip more bearable and even more exciting.

Photo by Elizabeth Harris

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Two hours into the drive and eight more to go, with cramping legs, growling stomachs and the urgent need to stop for the restroom; this is an unfortunate description of what most long drives look like, and feel like.

Regardless of the amount of excitement you and your road-tripping friends might have for the ultimate destination, very few people find excitement for the drive.

Although it’s true that cross country drives may never be easy, there are many things that can help them go by much quicker.

Snacks/Drinks

First things first, pack a cooler.

Before you head out on your adventure, stock up on all your favorite snacks and drinks.

Even though it may not be the greatest option for your summer beach bod, having something to snack on the whole drive will help keep your mind occupied, and keep you awake.

If you pack healthy snacks then you’re really ahead of the game.

Having cold drinks readily available is a must.

“My favorite road trip drink is ginger ale because it’s a nice alternative to water that also helps sooth your stomach,” said Jill Burroughs, junior public relations major.

If you’re looking for something to help keep you alert, pack drinks with caffeine.

Although drinks can help during a long drive, it’s important to think about how much liquid you consume. Drinking too much can cause more bathroom breaks, ultimately making your trip take even longer.

Find the balance between staying hydrated and over-expanding your bladder.

Music/podcasts

To avoid using all the monthly data available on your phone plan, make a few playlists before you leave and download it to your phone.

Whether it’s listening to music that you know and love or listening to a new song a thousand times trying to memorize every word, it can usually do the trick when you’re trying to stop thinking about your ETA.

Listening to audiobooks or podcasts also makes the time fly even faster than your car on the interstate.

Once you get into the story being told, you’ll be excited to hear what happens next and sometimes even forget that you’ve been sitting in a car for hours on end.

Charging

It would be a tragedy if you were using the maps app on your phone for directions when suddenly, your phone dies, leaving you lost until you find the nearest gas station with an overpriced charger for sale.

Bring the needed charging cables for your electronic devices.

“I definitely always recommend bringing a portable phone charger, that makes my road trips more enjoyable because I can listen to my music longer,” said Garrett Lawson, junior public relations and journalism major, who travels consistently with the MBU Cheer Team.

Just in case this does happen or your phone decides to malfunction, it wouldn’t hurt to have a set of printed directions on hand.

Plan your stops

If your goal is to get to your destination as fast as possible, or if you want to take your time and sight see along the way, planning your stops will help keep you on track.

Be aware of what your gas mileage is. How far can you drive on one tank of gas?

How long can you go without a restroom break?

Is there anything cool along the way you’d like to see?

These are important questions to factor in when planning your stops.

Ideally, making as few stops as possible by coordinating your needs will shave time off your trip.

Comfort

There is almost nothing worse than wearing tight-fitting jeans for a long period of time.

Wear whatever you are the most comfortable in to make the trip less dreadful.

Shoes that are easy to slip on and off are a good idea if you’re someone who prefers to kick them off.

Bringing a pillow for your back or passengers to use against a window can also be a nice touch.

“Honestly, the stereotypical neck pillow makes napping so nice,” said Lawson.

Enjoy the views

Skylines, mountains, ocean shores, sunrises and sunsets … regardless of your destination, you are bound to see beautiful sights.

During your drive, be sure to take advantage of the fact that you’re seeing new places.

Take a moment to think about them as you see them.

Finding podcasts that relate to the area you’re passing is also a fun way to learn about new locations as you look at them through your window.

Ultimately, having the right company is what will make the trip go by quickest.

Bring friends who are easy going, have great taste in music and make you laugh the whole way there.

Try some of these tips on your next trip and you’ll be ready to hit the road.

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Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is photo editor and journalist for MBU Timeline. Harris is majoring in Communications with minors in Broadcast Media and Public Relations. Born and raised in Orange County, Virginia, Harris moved to St. Louis in the fall of 2013 to attend MBU. Harris enjoys spending her free time reading, doing yoga or anything outdoors.

@mbutimeline

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