Road trips can be life-changing experiences that open your eyes to the beauty and opportunity in the world. Unfortunately, they can also be hair-pulling, headache-inducing, relationship-ruining experiences that create the urge to leap from a moving vehicle just to end the suffering.
No matter whom you travel with, there will be a period (or a couple) during your road trip when you feel like you can’t go on. To power through these tough times, you might want to adopt a few sanity-preserving habits and anger-abating tricks such as the following.
Know the Route Beforehand
There is hardly a faster way to ignite animosity in a car than by disagreeing about directions. One person prefers one highway over another; one person thinks it’s a right instead of a left; one person bets cutting down side streets will be faster. No matter what happens, even if you reach your destination safely, tempers tend to flare in response to disputes about the best way to go.
If you don’t inherently know your way to your destination, you should have a strict route planned before you leave. Though it might be tempting to take a spontaneous detour, you will be risking an all-out fight from ridiculous route-related emotions. As long as you stick to your plan, everyone in the car should stay sane.
Take Turns With Every Task
It’s true that some people are better suited to different tasks, but as you likely have learned during your day-to-day life, doing the same task interminably will cause insanity sooner or later. To prevent this, every passenger in the car should take turns with different responsibilities, and the changes should occur at regular intervals.
For example, one person may drive for five hours in the morning, and then, a second person can drive for five hours in the afternoon. After the switch, the old driver will assume the old passenger’s duties of navigation. If you have three or more people in your car, you can establish a round-robin-style swap, so no one is responsibility-free for the duration of the trip (unless a person is under 16 years old, in which case it might be best to keep that person out of the driver’s seat).
In many ways, the same etiquette applies during road trips as governs office spaces. Because you are sharing a small, enclosed area, you must be mindful of the sounds and smells generated, so you don’t disturb those around you. In practice, this means you should avoid packing stinky foods like hard-boiled eggs or tuna salad sandwiches, playing music that others don’t enjoy, or smoking cigarettes. Instead, you should double-check your snacks for odor before you depart and pack smokeless e-cigs to use instead.
Avoid Controversial Topics
Though you might be bursting to talk about the election or deeply interested in your fellow road trippers’ religious beliefs, it is best to keep conversation light while you’re driving. Any debatable topic, to include politics, religion, race, and sexuality, can easily incite anger or frustration. If you must talk about these issues, you should save them for after you reach your destination.
As a side note, you might also want to avoid topics that typically bore people to tears. These include observations about traffic, minor personal health issues, the weather, social media, work schedules, and dreams. You might think you have something interesting to say about these things, but no one else wants to hear it, guaranteed.
Plan to Stop
The total trip is only 20 hours, which means if you just keep driving, you’ll can make it to your destination in under a day. Sorry to ruin your plans, but trying to cover vast distances without breaks is itself some kind of insanity. Your body needs an opportunity to move and stretch, and your brain needs a respite from the constant vigilance of driving. Plus, rest stops give you the opportunity for some alone time away from your road trip buddies ― even if you spend it all in the bathroom.
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Have Too Many Snacks
You might not feel like you are burning energy, but the truth is driving for long periods is hard work. To keep your brain and body engaged, you need fuel, which means snacks. Before you leave, you should purchase a smorgasbord of tasty treats. It’s a good idea to stay as healthy as possible, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about tossing in an indulgent sweet or salty snack. A road trip should be fun, and snacks make it more-so, so you definitely don’t want to skimp.