I’ve been making longer drives by myself for awhile to my hometown in Kentucky and to my college and know these drives are going to get more frequent after starting school. I’ve never driven longer than seven hours by myself but any long drive can get rough by yourself. Luckily, through trial and error, I’ve developed some strategies for making the drive easier on the mind and body.
1// Be Prepared Mentally
If you start the drive by accepting that it is going to be long and could be rough in parts you’ll be much better off. Yes, you probably will run into traffic and no you don’t have control over a lot of what goes on along the way so it’s okay to play some things by ear and be ready to change gears. Alternate routes might become necessities and as long as you know that’s a possibility you’ll be fine.
2// Snacks and Drinks
I make sure to have easy to open snacks within an easy reach, generally in the passenger seat. I also always have water in the cupholder, again in an easy to open and drink out of bottle. I don’t want to have to be fiddling with wrappers or water bottle lids while on the interstate.
3// Good Music
A playlist is the way to go. You don’t want to be fiddling with the radio every time you change cities and you don’t want to deal with commercials so developing your own personalized playlist is the way to go. Make sure you update the playlist the night before so every song is something you’ll want to hear because you don’t want to be skipping through every song you own trying to get to a good song. I use Spotify and have different playlists for every trip I’ve gone on. I can share those in a later post!
The last drive to Centre I listened to a podcast the majority of the drive and let me tell you it made the ride go by much faster than I expected! I prefer podcasts with a storyline and not just interviews or information. The last one I listened to was S-Town and I would highly recommend it!
5// Stop When You Need To
This is something I’ve struggled with. The very first long drive I did by myself I had to drive through a horrible torrential downpour for 45 minutes and by the time the rain stopped, I had no desire to get off the highway so I never ate dinner and just barely made it to my destination with the gas I had. Since then I’ve made sure to take care of myself and my car by trying to coordinate when I ate and got gas. Luckily for me I’ve been making the same long drive so by now I know the best exits for stopping. That’s something you’ll probably have to discover along the way. It’s hard to prepare for this sort of thing.
6// Give Yourself Plenty of Time
If you are trying to get somewhere by a certain time, make sure you give yourself at least an extra hour and a half for stops and random traffic jams. Hopefully you won’t need that much extra time but it’s better to be early than late because you didn’t give yourself enough time.
7// Wear Comfortable Clothes
I would hope this goes without saying, but wherever you are headed you can wear comfy clothes. Even if you are driving straight to some formal event, there will always be a bathroom to change in. I’m all about comfort when it comes to driving on mini road trips. There is hardly ever a time when comfortable clothes won’t work.
Traveling is what you make of it. If you let yourself get stressed out or nervous about it, it won’t be fun. Long drives by yourself don’t have to be horrible! Jamming out to your favorite songs in the car without fear of embarrassment can be the one thing making the drive bearable! I wouldn’t say I look forward to long drives, but I’ve learned enough to not stress or be worried about it.