When I was growing up, I lived 8 hours away from extended family. Which means whenever we wanted to visit, it was a day-long road trip. Over the years, we created traditions for our road trips to make them memorable and bearable.
Michael and I also live pretty far from family. It takes a day to travel to see family on either side. So, just like in childhood, we have created some traditions as well. These traditions can also be tips that you can try the next time you set out on a long road trip.
Taking the Dog
We used to take our dog with us all the time when we travel. There have been a few times she stayed at home, but for the most part, she is a part of our traveling crew. When we travel long distances, she sits in a large crate. If we are just driving around town, she will sit in my lap, but it’s safer to have her in the crate. If the road gets bumpy, she won’t get tossed around the back of the car. I know that there are seatbelt harnesses available on the market, but I haven’t found one yet that has been proven more effective than the crate option.
Stopping to Rest
When I was small, we always stopped at the rest stops along the state lines. I’ve started doing this again now as an adult. The bathrooms are cleaner than a lot of the gas stations. I can’t vouch for the whole country, but most of the rest stops in the south are situated in park-like environments so we can take the pup for a good walk. On previous trips, we would just stop at the gas station and it was hit or miss where we could take Jerzee for a potty break. Also, there are a lot of information brochures for ideas on future travel excursions. And this past month, the info centers were decked out in holiday decor.
Listening to Topics
Usually, the radio stations get lost about an hour outside of Dallas, so we use audio books and podcasts the rest of the trip. We like to check audiobooks out from the library to take with us, but lately, we have been downloading podcasts instead. Our favorite podcast of the moment is Dear Hank and John, two brothers who have a YouTube channel and answer advice type questions. We have a USB connector above our radio that allows us to fill a flash drive with hours of podcasts to listen to.
As a kid, the one time we ate at Cracker Barrel was when we traveled. The restaurant is just set up for travelers. It has the little store to purchase candies and treats (and now also to rent audio books). My brother and I would play chess while waiting for a table or for the food to come. And I would always get the same thing – a vegetable plate with a bottle of root beer. We have stopped as adults at Cracker Barrel, but we don’t like to leave our pup behind in the car for too long. I do, however, have specific snacks for the trip in the car. Michael gets fruit snacks while I like eating pistachios (I like the shelled variety because it gives me something to do with my hands and slows the snacking a bit).
So these are a few tips to help make road trips more memorable and a little more bearable. Let me know in the comments below, do you do road trips, or are you more of a flyer? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.