The drive was miserable at best. My brother was cranky because he had been out late the night before. I was cranky because he was being a brat. My mom was cranky because we were going at it. So it goes.
Less than an hour into the trip, our dog had to vomit...on me. He hadn't been car sick ever before, but he chose a very long ride on which to suddenly do so. He had repeat offenses three other times during the trip. I felt bad for him, but the smell made me feel worse. And it put all three of us in wretched, tired moods.
Traffic and sweltering heat did not help. Of course were were traveling on a day when there were over 1,500 RECORD HIGH temperatures throughout the Southeast region of the U.S. We also managed to hit three or four bad patches of traffic congestion due to construction, lane closures and accidents. It was a very,very long day.
For all those who are vacationing out there, I have some serious advice to make these long car trips with your family more bearable. My mom made some really good choices that I'm including in this list, and I will never be able to thank her enough.
Briana's tips for Long Car Rides:
- Drink a lot of coffee and/or water before getting in the car
- I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but drinking a lot of fluids does two things. One, it prevents dehydration, which leads to headaches, car sickness and other more serious symptoms. Two, it forces you to pee a lot. Frequent stops to use the bathroom and stretch your legs helps to break up the driving a little bit, which in turn reduces the aches and pains caused by sitting for too long.
- The water bottles are an extension of number one. Keeping hydrated is important, any health expert will tell you that. The healthy lunch will help keep you energized, focused on driving (safety first!) and won't make you feel sick like most greasy options found off of the highway and at rest stops. It's cost-effective too!
- Unless you subscribe to a satellite radio provider, chances are that you won't have a decent radio station to listen to since you'll be traveling in and out of coverage areas. So my advice is to invest in an auxiliary cord if your car has a jack for it, or buy some blank CDs. Making a playlist on your iPod or burning a few CDs with songs that the whole family can agree on (or at least tolerate) is a good idea. Silence can be deadly and leaves a lot of room for fighting.
- This is the strange one. A frisbee, a football or really any toy that will force the family to play for a few minutes in the grassy area of the rest stop. Not only does it break up the sitting and driving, but the exercise also releases endorphins in the body. In the words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't go around shooting people. They don't!" Happy travelers are less likely to fight. That's a big bonus, especially in my family.
- This kit should include items such as band-aids, Tums, Pepto, painkillers, antibacterial ointment, etc. Any minor emergencies can be dealt with easily. Keep it in the clove compartment or center console for easy access be a passenger in the car.
- If everyone in the car has become too tired, it's a bad idea to be on the road for your safety and the safety of other cars traveling. It's not a bad idea to budget out some money to take a hotel room for the night if it will mean happy, healthy travelers.
That's all I have to say about that. Safe summer travels, and have a happy and healthy Independence Day!