I just got back from a solo road trip. I spent 15 hours behind the wheel to get myself to the Apostle Islands (more on that trip on Friday). So here are four things about solo road trips.
- Passing Time People recommend audio books, which would probably be nice. Unfortunately, I forgot to download one before I left. Fortunately, it turns out I’m pretty content to have some one-on-one time with my brain, letting it clear out the clutter. I recommend it. But in the wee hours, when your lids a drooping, a road trip play list consisting of songs you can sing along to will help you stay awake and focused.
- Navigation Without a copilot to navigate, you’ll want to be prepared before you start the car. In the old days you’d bust out a map and study the roads. Now, with GPS, you don’t need to familiarize yourself with the route—but you should anyway. Don’t wait until you’re on the road to determine your route. Compare maps to the directions your GPS recommends, and make sure it’s directing you the way you actually want to go.
- Arm’s Reach Keep important stuff in arm’s reach. By “important stuff” I mean food. Pulling over to dig it out of the trunk or spend money on gas station junk food just keeps you on the road longer. Other important things are water, Kleenex, and your phone.
- Making Stops Is a road trip about the journey, or the destination? Only you can decide. Me, I don’t like to stop. I want to get where I’m going. That means bypassing spontaneous stops that could turn out to be awesome—quaint diners, antique shops, roadside oddities, etc. I do recommend, at the very least, limiting pit stops. I like to go at least four hours between, because stopping every couple hours starts to take a mental toll, making it feel like you’re never get there.