Car Yoga and 9 Other Ways to Beat Long Drives


In case you haven't noticed, America is huge. Tooling across just two or three states can challenge even the most patient soul and driving from coast to coast is a test of sheer physical endurance. Whether you're traveling solo, with friends and family, or with co-workers, make things easier by mastering these 10 ways to survive a long drive.

1. Make Reservations

Know what makes a long day behind the wheel even worse? A long night behind the wheel. Don't assume every city or town you pass through will have lodging vacancies. Conventions, concerts, college sporting events, and county fairs can deplete hotel rooms quickly. Plot your trip, know where you'll be stopping each evening, negotiate a great room rate, and make reservations ahead of time. (See also: 10 Ways to Save Money on a Great American Road Trip)

2. Invest in Roadside Assistance

Long drives can be exhausting for cars too. Arrange for AAA coverage or roadside assistance through your insurance carrier before you hit the road. Particularly if you're travelling alone, the peace of mind is well worth the money.

3. Pack Snacks and Water

A good supply of healthy and inexpensive snacks keeps everyone energized during those long stretches between stops. And as a rule, two or three days' worth of non-perishable high-protein food and water are must-haves for emergencies — particularly if you're traveling in remote areas or during winter.

4. Avoid Marathon Days

Set a specific drive time limit each day and avoid "marathon" driving days of 12 or 14 hours. Without compromising your safety, set mileage-based goals along the way, too. For example, stop for lunch after the first 200 miles; plan a coffee break after another 100 miles; stop for the night when you've driven 500 miles. Small goals will add structure to your day and help you stay motivated mile after mile.

5. Don't Be a Stop Cop

Okay, okay…we get it — stopping too often eats into your finely-tuned schedule. Get over it. Denying yourself or others regular bathroom breaks, opportunities to stretch, or moments to simply breathe some fresh air turns a long trip into a bladder-busting nightmare.

6. Get Your Game On

Boardless games like trivia, spelling bees, and I Spy are fun ways to pass the time for kids and adults. Remember, safety comes first. Avoid anything that's too competitive and if your game is delivered through a mobile app, make sure playing it is hands-free.

7. Choose Truck Stops Instead of Rest Areas

Rest areas are great places to take quick bathroom break or change a flat. But truck stops offer more services that cater to weary road warriors. Larger bathrooms (some with showers), cafés, and small markets can help restore your mood and your motivation.

8. Move It

If you've made long drives before, you're probably familiar with the medical condition known as Gluteus Notfeelmuch that develops after about four hours of being folded up in a car. Fight it by making a conscious effort to stretch, jump, walk, or strike a few basic yoga poses each time you stop for food or fuel.

9. Skip the Shortcuts

The longer your trip, the more tempting shortcuts become. But in unfamiliar territory shortcuts can easily turn into maddening mazes that guzzle gas and burn daylight. Plan your route and stick to the main roads.

10. Rotate Drivers

If you're traveling with other adults, alternate your time at the wheel every two or three hours. Capitalize on what each driver is best at and determine who prefers driving at night, urban driving, driving through mountains, etc.

What's the longest road trip you've taken? What methods did you use to survive the drive?

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