Road Trip Survival Guide

Megan Aune

The time has come–it’s summer vacation! And with many COVID restrictions finally lifted, a lot of us will be hitting the road to visit friends, family, or even places we’ve been missing. I, personally, was unfamiliar with the joys of road tripping before COVID. As much as I love to travel, I’d always done it by plane, but like everyone else, the pandemic forced me to make a lot of changes to my routine. And now, I find myself reluctant to go back. Though the long drives have their trials–especially if you have your entire family or friend group in a tiny car–road trips can be unexpectedly fun. Keep reading for the ultimate road trip survival guide. 

It’s About the Journey

When you’re excited about your destination, it can be easy to fall into go-go-go mode. But road trips are like a dozen mini-destinations! Usually, I’m a pretty type A, by-the-minute schedule person. But in my experience, traveling is a lot more fun when you take things as they come and try to enjoy any deviations to the plan. And if the plan allows for detours, even better! So many cliched phrases have come from this sentiment (live in the moment, carpe diem, it’s about the journey) that it’s a wonder I didn’t listen sooner.

Know Your Role

Any seasoned roadtripper knows that car seating assignments come with certain responsibilities. Passenger: DJ and navigator; backseat: snack dispenser and potential liaison to the third row; driver: all you need to do is keep your eyes on the road, my dude. Choose your seat carefully!

Mix Up the Soundtrack

So listen up, passenger seat: it’s all about variety. Being on aux also means being the main people-pleaser of the car. Even with a great playlist, it can be hard to maintain that energy after six hours on a nearly empty highway. To mix it up, try a podcast or audiobook, or a soundtrack everyone can sing along to (pro tip: Mamma Mia makes for great adventure vibes). Sometimes it’s even necessary to let someone else play their music for a bit, just to relieve the monotony–even if we all know the passenger probably has the best taste. 

Good Snacks are Key

I start every road trip saying I’m going to be healthy, only to give up at the first pit stop. Y’all, this is simply not the time to start your new diet. Especially when we have, in our very own state, the largest gas station in the world–Buc-ee’s! Snacks galore. And if there’s anything that’s going to revitalize you during your tenth hour on that seemingly endless stretch of highway, it’s your favorite treat.

Talk to Locals

Okay, I’m not going to lie–this one kind of terrifies me. I always feel like it’s going to be so awkward! But once I actually walk up to someone, I usually find that locals are more than happy to talk to a traveler, especially if you haven’t been to the area before. If you want to find the best restaurants, activities, and sights in one of the places you’re travelling through, ask a local for their recommendation! They can help you avoid tourist traps and usually point you to even cooler places. Or, go online and find some super-cool blog to give you the best tips.