Like many of my blog posts, this one is inspired by events happening in my own world. My son, Talon, and I are taking a quick road trip together next week. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to make those fun pitstops along the way, so we’re going to have to get creative in staying alert for our 13-hour drive.
As a plus, Talon has his driving permit and although he already has over forty hours of drive time he’s about to get a whole bunch more, albeit boring - his words, not mine. Tee-hee! I’m thinking the art of learning to read a paper road map is a way of the past, but they’ll be plenty of time for us to talk about other life lessons. Plus, I’ll be teaching him how to plan out a road trip and to ensure we have directions on paper in case something happens with our phone connection, and it will help both of us have confidence in knowing where we're going.
While I thought of many other tips for making a road trip successful, I've narrowed it down to the top four tips that I think are a must when it comes to planning out a road trip.
4 Tips for a Successful Road Trip
Food. I mean, duh! If you don’t think about what your food situation is going to be on your road trip, then you’re crazy. Not only will I plan out potential specific pit stops around food, but I’ll make sure to have our truck packed with more than enough snacks and food for both directions.
If you’ve ever been on a road trip then chances are you have a go-to food your brain associates with being on the road. For me it’s Corn Nuts. Not exactly sure when that started, but every time we’re in the car for more than a couple hours I start craving the salty snack. What’s yours?
I’m also going to make sure we have both fresh and dried fruit, mixed nuts, jerky, and I’m making this delicious Cinnamon Almond Granola. As a delicios bonus, I'm going to add 3-5 drops of Madagascar Vanilla essential to the mix. You can add whatever essential oils you want (check the label to make sure they're recommended for internal use), or omit using essential oils, if that's not what you're into.
Oh, and they're not food, but I’ll mention two other things in this tip too: gum and water. The repetitive motion of chewing gum increases circulation and alertness. If you want your gum to also curb your appetite, ypu should try doTERRA Slim & Sassy Metabolic gum.
You know how important it is to hydrate, so make sure you're still drinking plenty of fluids. I realize even you're not exerting physical energy, and it will mean a few more bathroom breaks, but you're body still needs it, especially if you're prone to headaches. Plus, the added bathroom breaks will ensure you're moving your body, at least a few times.
Music/Audiobook/Podcast(s). I’ve been asking Talon what his thoughts are around listening to music and/or finding an audiobook that we both might enjoy. Gotta love Google! There are tons of suggestions out there for good road trip books for teens and adults. I think I’ll leave the ultimate decision with Talon though.
Since he’s going to be doing the bulk of the driving I’m not going to fuss about the music choice. Good thing is I can handle a little bit of everything. We both have Bluetooth, so worst case scenario he can listen to whatever he wants and I can fill my ears with podcasts I enjoy.
Aromatherapy. You better believe I’m going to have a diffuser going, I’m traveling with a teen boy! Just kidding, that’s not why. Not only am I used to diffusing essential oils at home, but using essential oils to help keep us alert is going to be a must as we travel across the boring Midwest. There are only so many cows and crops you can stare at without it becoming a blur.
Some great energizing aromas are in the mint family - Peppermint or Spearmint are super yummy. Citrus oils are uplifting, my personal favs are within the same family: Wild Orange, Tangerine, and Clementine. Some of my go-to diffuser recipes pair an energizing oil with a citrus oil. There’s really no wrong recipe – pick the essential oils that you like best and create a custom blend. Below are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
Games. Another quick Google search will turn up several blog posts with road trip games that include detailed explanations of how they work. There are some great classics I thought would not only help to entertain my teen and I, but also help him with paying attention, especially with details, to things all around him – not just the cars on the road. Those are: the license plate game, the alphabet game, and I spy. The two I thought could be entertaining and might spur additional conversations are 20 questions and word association.
When my son was little we used to play slug bug – you know, giving a friendly tap on the shoulder whenever you see a Volkswagen Beetle. From that game, since we live in Colorado, he developed a game we called Jeep-o. Same concept, no hitting though, just one point per Jeep, and we played it when just driving around town. As my son got older, we started another game, yellow. It’s exactly as it sounds. This is another one you can play around town too and determine the length of the game. We typically play until a person gets ten points. You get one point for seeing a yellow car, bus, truck or van, two points for seeing a yellow motorcycle or Volkswagen Beetle, and if you were lucky enough to see a yellow plane you win the game immediately. We’ve developed additional rules along the way, like the whole cap of a semi-truck has to be yellow, three quarters of a vehicle has to be yellow, and if you call out yellow and it’s actually not, you lose a point.
Like with anything I share, these are suggestions that can be tweaked to your own families’ preferences and tastes. How cool that we live in a world with so many choices and awesome technology!? I would love for you to share in the comments if there’s a audiobook, podcast, car game or food that’s a must try.