Tips for a Comfortable Long Drive

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Oct 26, 2014.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    1 - Pack the right equipment -

    This has been detailed before.

    2 - Leave on time -

    Preferably around 0300-0400 A.M. Bundle the kids in the back seat and let them sleep. The early exit will help you beat city traffic and reach the highway in no time. Moreover till the kids are asleep, you and the missus can enjoy some quiet time on the open roads :)

    3 - Wear loose clothing -

    No waist restricting tight pants or shorts. Wear loose comfortable clothing, preferably made of cotton and not synthetic fabrics. Cotton will help the body breathe, and absorb sweat. Wear shorts, and a loose t-shirt. In Winters, wear jeans, a t-shirt and a loose sweat shirt on top.

    To be cautious avoid wearing clothing that would attract unnecessary attention (especially in a country like India). Ladies take note please.

    4 - Have a shower before driving out -

    Very very important to be fresh and ready. Keep time in hand when you set your alarm clock.

    5 - No Alcohol the night before driving -

    Your mates have come over, and you are meeting up after a long time. A few beers won't hurt right? Well they will hamper your sleep and your reflexes the next morning. Plus Alcohol has a tendency to de-hydrate the body. If you are drinking the night before, then make sure you are not driving the next morning. Better to hand the wheel to someone till you sleep it off and are adequately rested.

    6 - Pack water and water purification pills -

    Cant be too sure of the water bottles sold on the highway. Though most of our tummy's have become cast iron grade to such things, it is best to pack your water from home (as much as possible). I prefer packing a ColeMan the night before with Ice so that I can chill my beverages in it overnight. The duration for which it can keep water cold will amaze you. I have seen it go over 36 hours in one instance!

    7 - Eat before pushing off -

    The excitement would be too much, but it's best if you have a small bite before moving out. Helps concentration and will keep you going longer before needing a break. Also where kids are involved, it'll keep them pacified longer.

    8 - Pack a breakfast/Brunch -

    Your family might groan at this(since the whole idea of a road trip is outside food!), but best to prepare some paranthas and/or a vegetable that can be had on the way. Why?

    A - Home food

    B - You won't have to stop early for your break so you can pull off a longer stint when you are fresh as a daisy.

    C - You'll beat traffic by saving that extra hour or more

    D - You don't have to hunt for that clean hotel to stop at. Just park in a open or safe enough area and have a quick bite right there.

    D - You'll save some money as well in the process.

    Note - Dry food should be the preferred choice, something that does not spill easily and is easy to eat as well. Pack in disposable packaging or strong plastic containers like Tupperware.

    I generally prefer some oil free paranthas and/or Theplas. With some dry vegetable it can be wrapped in a roll and had easily.

    9 - Kid proof the vehicle -

    I think I had this covered earlier, but I'll mention it again. Put old bed sheets or water proof covers on the seats if possible. This will save them from all the crumbs and bits of food that will get accumulated. It will also be easier to clean up afterwards. Keep tissue paper handy. Preferably one in the front and one in the back.

    With kids, hand each one a rugged plastic packet to throw all their trash in. This will not only help keep the vehicle clean, but also help them understand the importance of correct disposal of waste. I generally keep one packet in each door pocket. So that there is no excuse ;)

    10 - No Sugary drinks -

    No Pepsi, Coke, Red Bull, nope. All these are nothing but pure sugar that you'll be pumping in your system for nothing. Avoid at all costs. Get un-sweetened Juice packs (Remember Fruit Juice, not Fruit Juice Beverage), Pack the gear for Nimbu Paani (A few cans of plain soda won't hurt). Keep Chaach (Buttermilk) Tetra packs if you have to have something especially during summers. The salt will keep you hydrated and the buttermilk, your body cool.

    I generally prefer carrying my own equipment for tea, since the ones that you get roadside are too sugary. Just ask for boiled water, mix a little milk powder, a tea-bag and you are good to go!

    Warning - Some people feel sleepy after Buttermilk, so avoid if you are one of em.

    11 - Snack right -

    Your kids can feast on whatever they like (Hey they're kids! They're supposed to enjoy). But watch what you eat. Driving really works the brain out, and the brain can burn a lot of calories under stress. The inclination is to eat the un-healthiest option available (Chips, fried snacks, Haldiram Bhujiya and what not). Keep a check on it. You'll not really be able to burn off those calories any time soon. Prefer Salad items like Cucumber, Carrots with Chaat Masala (Mooli or Winter Radish at your own risk :D ). If you must, keep some diet snacks handy to munch on.

    12 - Be careful of what, to who and where you speak -

    The Good ol' adage -Never talk to strangers; be extremely careful even when you're approaching to anyone asking for directions. Avoid loose talks.

    Be extremely polite when you're out of your state/country & also give utmost respect when talking to strangers. DO NOT get into any unnecessary discussion unless it pertains to your travel & point of interest.

    DO NOT ever talk about Politics, Religion & Sex and avoid getting into any troubles.

    Even if you're riding/driving alone, keep a mentality that you're not alone & give the same excuse with anyone you meet stating you're just going ahead or the group has gone ahead of you.

    13 - Take a Holiday, but don't let your brain be on one -

    Take an extreme care about your personal belongings. If possible, make a count or note about each of them.
    Keep all your receipts carefully in one place until the trip completes, this includes Tolls receipts, fuel bills, Lunch/dinner tabs etc. Not only will this help you track your expenses, but a number of times act as proof when hassled by our lovely Cops.

    Keep all your vehicle papers in a safe location, preferably in your backpack. Lock, Lock your vehicle every time.

    When stopping for a meal, make sure your vehicle is parked in a manner that it always visible to you. Always check the menu and the prices. Else you'll end up paying 800 Rs for Tea and some toast (yep it happens).

    Avoid UNNECESSARY exposure of all your expensive gadgets such as DSLR, Phone, navigation device, iPod.

    Also avoid wearing expensive jewels & instead opt to wear travel related or cheap imitations during travel. Preferably, no jewelry.

    14 - Check in the right place -

    There are websites that let you read reviews by other travelers about a place. Sure.

    But if you want to check out a place on your own, trust your instincts. Not all fancy hotels are safe & not all lower class hotels are bad. As a good thumb rule, If you plan to stay in a hotel & it has attached restaurant, have the food first without revealing the intention to stay & then get a room. The service will give you an idea of how good or bad is it going to be.

    15 - Handle your money properly -

    Most villages, towns that you might pass thru on your sojourn, may not even have ATMs for quick withdrawl of cash. Hence it's best to do the following -

    1 - Though risky, its always recommended carrying cash because not all towns & villages have ATM & even if they do, no guarantee they have the money you need & even if they do, no guarantee they work in first place!!

    2 - Carry cash in mixed bills. Avoid carrying the bigger notes, since you'll have to wait longer for change, or for that matter try several shops willing to break a bigger note for you. Keep the bigger notes for payments like hotel charges etc.

    3 - Keep the cash in small chunks at different places like rolled in a tee shirt, behind the vanity mirror of car, under the floor carpet of the car, some in the wallet, some money in a different suitcase; in case you loose something by mistake you don't loose everything. But as a thumb rule, try to pay by credit card wherever they accept & save as much cash as possible

    4 - Lighten your wallet by leaving un-essential cards at home. Reduce the number of debit cards, credit cards etc that you carry. Keep one debit card + one Credit card per person. Between you and your spouse, that's 2 of each, which should be enough.

    5 - Before driving up, plan your route, and check online if any Bank ATMs are along the way. Do carry a printout for location sake, or better still save them to your GPS device / Cell phone maps.

    16 - Join a travelers group -

    Please get associated with any good & free travel groups even if you're not an active & avid traveler; quick browsing through the group a week before the trip will help you mentally prepare the route, get some idea from people who have taken the route in past, set a real expectation about the journey or even the commute & may be even help to find accommodation.

    With the advent of the Internet, planning a road trip has never been easier! Like you found these pointers online. So read up, plan out properly so you have that perfect road trip that you'll be reminiscing about until the next one.

    Drive safe and with a bit of caution, make your road trips memorable.
  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    A special thanks to Aargee for providing his valuable inputs to the article.

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