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Whether you're looking for adventure on the open road or hoping to save money on airline tickets by piling the family into the minivan, long car trips don't have to be painful. Sure, you may be stuck in one spot for an excruciatingly long period of time, but with a little planning and the right gear, we bet you'll be singing along to your favorite songs for hours on end in no time. Here are some of the best ways to make your road trip more comfortable. Plus, if you're bringing the kids along, you may want to peek at our family road trip survival guide too.
Set a Reasonable Schedule
If you've got hours on the road ahead of you, it's easy to get overeager. Don't sacrifice safety for your schedule. Waking up too early or staying on the road too late results in drowsy driving and cranky co-pilots. Plan for a realistic start time, get plenty of rest before your trip, and pull over for the night if you're feeling too tired.
Stretch Your Legs
Whether you're driving by sights worth stopping for or simply need a break from behind the wheel, it's important to plan for stops during long trips. This is even more true when you've got kids in tow. Getting out of the car to stretch, use the restroom, and walk around may feel like a time suck, but a break you can look forward to is worth adding onto your ETA.
Buy Supportive Accessories
Just because you're not paying for an expensive airline ticket doesn't mean you can't invest a little in your comfort. Whether it's a product for back support, like a lumbar pillow for your lower back, or something as simple as a blanket so you don't have to fight over cabin temperature, having the right gear can make all the difference. For phone convenience, cup holder mounts and ports with multiple chargers can also help the car safely connected.
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Bring Snacks and Hydrate
Drinking water may feel counterintuitive when you're trying to avoid too many restroom stops, but staying hydrated can help prevent pesky headaches on the road. Pair a full water bottle with a variety of healthy snacks, and you'll help keep hunger and boredom at bay between meals. Pack fresh fruit, bagged popcorn, and trail mix with chocolate for the perfect mix of healthy, sweet, and salty.
Plan Entertainment in Advance
The last thing you need in the 11th hour is to run out of radio stations. Plan ahead by curating lots of road trip playlists (songs you can sing along to are a must!), podcast options, and audiobooks. If you have little ones joining you for the ride, let them pack a small bag of backseat activities. Magnetic puzzles and games, new books, and a movie-ready iPad will help keep them amused.