Time for a road trip to the beach, lake, mountains, or to visit family.
Air travel can prove costly, especially if you have kids. Plus, you have to deal with all the frustrations and stresses of airports.
We are a family of six. Much of our travel is by mini-van. We don’t travel that far, except to Alabama to visit my parents. It’s about a 15-hour drive.
We leave around 5:00 pm on an afternoon and drive through the night while the kids watch movies and sleep.
Usually, I drive the whole way. We avoid hotels to save dollars. I learned what works for me to stay fully awake and alert on the drive.
If you’re considering an all-night road trip, these will help you get there safely:
1) Get enough Sleep.
This isn’t a groundbreaking insight, I know. But get plenty of sleep the night before. On the day of your drive, try to get a nap in. It’s hard for me to nap during the day. But I’ve found that 20-30 minutes early afternoon to kick my feet up, close my eyes, and just rest, has worked well.
2) Tag Team.
Only once have Christie and I tagged team. It’s a manhood thing for me. I tell her, “I’ve got this. I’m the one with chest hair!” Seriously, I’m 6’7 so it’s hard for me to sleep in the car. But again, just closing my eyes to rest goes a long way.
3) Coffee up.
I’m not a fan of energy drinks. Black coffee is the way to go. So fill that thermos up. And partake as needed. I recommend black coffee because it’s strong and bitter. Cream and sugar can be heavy and lull you to sleep.
4) Don’t eat.
A big meal before you drive, or as you drive, can drain your energy and make you very drowsy. So, eat a big meal three to five hours before your trip. Then don’t eat until you get to your destination. Feel free to snack. But snack on light foods like, nuts, protein bars, apples, and such. But not too much. Don’t interfere with the work of the caffeine!
When you stop for gas or bathroom breaks, use that time to stretch out. Stretch your hamstrings and lower back. Also, stretch toward the sky cat-like by lengthening your whole body as much as you can. Do some jumping jacks while you’re at it.
6) Listen to comedy.
On my first couple of all-night road trips, I tried listening to podcasts and audio books. I thought they’d be stimulating enough to keep my mind active and energized throughout the trip. Wrong. They were narrative lullabies that wooed me to sleep. Music did the same. So, I downloaded a bunch of comedians to listen to—Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, Tim Hawkins, Gary Gulman, Mitch Hedberg, and Nate Bargazi, to name a few. Hard laughs worked like a charm to keep me alert and awake.
7) Flick your ear.
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes you just need to inflict a little pain on yourself to keep you going. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Flicking the back of your ear definitely sends a jolt to your nervous system. But you can’t hold back. No weak thumping allowed. You gotta put some heat on that flick.
8) Take a 20-minute nap.
When all else fails, pull over to a rest stop, set your phone alarm for 20 minutes, lean back and rest your eyes. Any longer than 20 minutes and you’ll most likely feel heavy and hungover. Even if you aren’t able to nap, just resting your eyes and mind can give you a boost of energy and alertness. Keep the car running too. It provides some background noise that helps woo you to sleep.
Anything else you would add? What has worked for you?
BEFORE YOU GO:
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