In preparation for a 24 hour long road trip spanning over 1600 miles, I looked at at least 20 blogs and websites, looking for ideas for entertaining oneself on a solo trip. I was disappointed to find none of them had any tips I liked. Because of this, I decided to write my own post.
I’ve roadtripped a lot. Like, a lot. Most of my extended family lives in the west, and my immediate family has always lived in the Midwest and eastern United States. This meant a lot of roadtrips for me. I’ve also driven solo from Idaho to Colorado, Chicago to Minneapolis, and this time, Chicago to Idaho. I’ve found the best ways to keep myself entertained, and my own experience is apparently better than reading advice on the Internet.
Without further ado, here are my five phases/tips of solo road tripping, and hopefully some ideas to help you on your next solo trip.
1. Music. Whether it’s a road trip playlist or listening to the local stations as you drive through, music is essential to a road trip. If you’re like me, music keeps me sane. I can drive for a good two hours just listening to music.
2. Silence. Sometimes I can last forever just driving and contemplating life’s mysteries, especially when driving through a beautiful part of the country. Other times, I’m desperately trying to keep my eyes open after 30 minutes. Find what suits you.
3. After music and silence, I approach the audiobook/podcast phase. Depending on how interested I am, I can last forever on this step. My top picks are TED Radio Hour, Stuff You Missed in History Class and Writing Excuses. These vary in length from 20 minutes to an hour.
My lifesaver for audiobooks on a tight budget is an app called Overdrive. Most libraries have this app. You can download audiobooks and ebooks onto the app to listen to and read at your leisure. I typically check out five at a time, just in case. Who knows what I’ll be in the mood for? And I don’t want to get caught in the middle of Nebraska without something to listen to.
4. Rest stops are your friends. I stop to refill on gas, but when my eyes droop, I stop at the nearest rest stop and stretch. Most have walks you can take right next to the facilities, and the best part is they are right off the highway. You can zip off and back on without worrying about directions in small towns. I have even taken cat naps in the car to energize myself.
5. Food. I always keep food handy. I use the passenger seat exclusively for food and entertainment. A water bottle sits in the cupholder next to me, but be sure to keep your water intake under control. Trust me.
On the open road, fast food is easy, but after hours of sitting, healthier food goes a long way to make you happy. Stop at the local grocery store, or even a superWalmart, and grab produce to give your body a break. It may even help you stay alert longer — and save you money.
However you choose to drive alone, remember to stay safe, and look for the joy in every situation. Good luck!