Are you looking for helpful long distance driving tips? Then you’ve come to the right place. This post contains everything you need to know about how to survive long drives.
We all know that a long road trip can feel exciting at first but this can quickly wear off. We start to feel uncomfortable and agitated with every hour that passes. You’re on the third coffee and fifth chocolate bar and it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom.
There are a number of long distance road trip tips to make your journey safer, cheaper, and more enjoyable. This article is a quick read compiled of all of my long drive tips after touring around Europe for an entire summer and exploring many different countries by car.
So, with that being said, read on to discover 11 useful long distance driving tips to help you get from A to B.
15 LONG DISTANCE DRIVING TIPS
These long distance driving tips include tips for planning, how to look after yourself, fun ideas for things to do, ways to save money, and important safety tips.
Follow them and you’ll ensure that you’re just as refreshed and excited eight hours in as you were to begin with!
1. PLAN AHEAD
So, let’s take a look at the first of our long distance driving tips!
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead when you are taking a long drive. If you don’t, you’re only going to stress yourself out and make the journey more difficult.
Road trip planning includes figuring out stops along the way and scheduling sleep time.
If your road trip is going to span over several days, you should plot stays at hotels or campsites along the way to ensure that you have somewhere to stay.
BEST RESOURCES FOR ROAD TRIP PLANNING
We’ve got a lot of posts on this website to help you prepare for a long-distance drive. From tips around entertainment to planning, we’ve got you covered. Check out these other posts before setting off on your trip!
Here are some useful articles for planning ahead:
- Best Audiobooks For Long Car Rides
- Best Podcasts For Long Distance Driving
- Best Road Trip Playlists
- Driving an Old Car Long Distance
This leads us nicely onto the second of our tips for a long drive…
2. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
The worst thing you can do is hit the road while feeling tired.
Getting enough sleep the night before will ensure your drive is as safe and efficient as possible.
It’s one of the best long-distance road trip tips that you need to remember.
When under-slept, you are more susceptible to micro-sleeps, which are temporary lapses in focus. There have been a number of studies that have shown that if you are awake for 20 hours, you can be as impaired as a person who is deemed legally drunk.
Forward planning will enable you to be prepared for your road trip in advance, ensuring nothing will distract you from getting a full night’s sleep the night before.
You might find this article useful on How To Drive Long Distance Without Getting Tired.
3. KEEP HYDRATED
It is only natural that you are going to want to drink caffeine during a long drive.
I mean, coffee and road trips go hand in hand, right?
Caffeine can be great, too.
It increases focus, concentration, and alertness.
Nevertheless, it’s also a diuretic. This means you can experience dehydration if you drink a lot during your trip.
This is why it’s important to also consume a sufficient amount of water so that you can avoid any tiredness or fatigue on the water that is induced due to dehydration.
The recommended amount of water per day for a female is just over two litres and around three litres for men. Don’t forget to make notes so you don’t forget any of these long distance driving tips.
4. EAT RIGHT
It’s also important to avoid eating excessive unhealthy snacks.
Let us know in the comments if you think this is one of the most useful long distance road trip tips.
Carbohydrates and refined sugars, such as those found in sugary soft drinks and sweets, may give you a temporary boost of energy. However, you will quickly come crashing down.
A sudden spike in insulin can then increase tiredness on the road.
Avoid this carb-crash by eating healthy snacks, such as salads and fruit. Bananas are great for gradual energy release, rather than a sudden spike.
The hunger hormone ghrelin increases with less sleep meaning it may be more challenging to stay away from those tempting sugary snacks when you start to get tired. Do your best to stay away from them unless you are getting toward the end of your journey and you need that last little boost.
5. TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
Taking regular rest breaks is one of our most important long-distance road trip tips.
From a safety standpoint, you’ll need regular breaks to keep your energy up and to help you stay alert while driving.
But that’s not the only reason.
Frequent breaks also make the journey much more enjoyable! We’ve written a full article on how frequently you should take breaks while driving long distances, so feel free to check it out.
If you’re putting in the miles, why not stop and find something fun to do along the way?
BEST RESOURCES FOR FINDING THINGS TO DO
6. DOCUMENT YOUR TRIP
When on a long car drive, it’s a great idea to document your road trip.
This will give you and your travel companions something to do during the long journey while also giving you something to remember from the trip.
Documenting your road trip with your family or friends is a fun way of reminiscing, as you will be able to look back on the great times you had together. Plus, it can be easy to forget things if you are taking a long journey with a lot of different parts to it.
Instagramming photos of everything you eat might be fun, but there are plenty of other ways to document your trip.
You could keep a classic diary-style journal, buy a souvenir from every interesting place you visit, or take a video at each stop, and edit them together in a nice montage.
Other options to consider include writing a blog post and taking photos by every place-name sign.
IDEAS FOR DOCUMENTING YOUR TRIP
- Keep a classic journal
- Buy a small souvenir from each place
- Take a panning video at each place and edit them all together
- Write a blog
- Take photos of/with place name signs
7. PLAY GAMES TO PASS SOME TIME
It’s important to have some fun on a long drive, and that’s why this is one of our best long-distance road trip tips.
Road trip games are one of the best ways to kill off that long journey boredom!
There are tons of great road trip games out there.
They range from road trip games that are just for adults to family-friendly games and word games. We have a pretty huge collection on this site.
But don’t stop there…
Pack some entertainment for stops, too.
A deck of cards is never a bad idea.
Cards Against Humanity also goes down a treat. It‘s sure to create some laughs along the way.
8. TAKE A DETOUR TO SEE SOMETHING EXCITING
If you have already started to plan your road trip, you will already know all about the end destination and the different things that you want to do along the way.
However, one of my favorite tips for a long drive is to pull over and see something cool and exciting that you didn’t plan to see.
Be careful with over planning.
Spontaneity and flexibility are a must when it comes to road trips and can make a long drive much more enjoyable and exciting.
It’s great to have distances and a rough plan in mind. But having every tiny detail of your trip mapped out leaves no room for exploration.
It can also make it much more stressful as you rush to keep in line with your plans.
Make certain that you take a detour or two so that you can see something exciting on a whim. Road trips give you the freedom to chop and change your plans whenever you wish to, so make sure you make the most of this.
9. MAKE A ROAD TRIP PLAYLIST
Local radio can be great (or just plain hilarious).
However, after a while, it can get boring.
Enter the epic road trip playlist!
Before you set off, ensure you have compiled and downloaded a playlist of all your favorite tunes on Spotify.
Don’t be afraid to let loose and belt out all those classic tunes.
10. USE NAVIGATION
The last thing you want when driving long distances is to get lost in the middle of nowhere.
There’s no point in guessing and ending up stressing when you’ve got such a long journey ahead.
There are a number of excellent navigation apps you can use. You can see a breakdown of the features, advantages, and disadvantages in this article on the best road trip planner out there.
For reference, these are my favorite:
Pro Tip: Download maps before you set off so you can still use navigation when you’re out of cell service. Maps.me has an excellent feature for this.
11. CREATE A LONG DISTANCE ROAD TRIP BUDGET
When driving a long way, you want to be able to focus on the drive ahead and not worry about finances.
Creating a budget before you set off will ensure you’ve got it all covered.
This is one of my favorite long-distance driving tips.
In your budget you’ll need to include the following:
- Rental car (If not using your own car)
- Personal car costs (If not renting)
- Accommodation (and parking!)
- Unforeseen circumstances
A long drive can mean the costs can rack up.
Fortunately, there are loads of ways to save money on your road trip.
12. LOOK FOR VALUE ACCOMMODATION
It’s likely that you’re going to need to stay in a number of different places on your trip, and this is why it is critical that you look for value accommodation.
We are going to provide you with some long road trip tips and tricks in this regard.
You will probably already be aware of the fact that there are lots of great booking sites online that enable you to compare prices on hotels and find the best deals. These are ideal.
However, do not simply rely on one website, make sure you compare different sites.
Hotels are often listed at different rates on different websites, so one of our best long road trip tips is to give yourself plenty of time to narrow down your search.
You should also consider alternative accommodation options, for example, Couchsurfing and Air BnB.
HOW TO GET VALUE ACCOMMODATION
- Book in advance
- Compare across different sites
- Go direct to the accommodation for a quote
- Use alternative accommodation options
- Consider camping
13. PREPARE YOUR CAR PROPERLY
Make sure your car is properly prepared.
This is one of the most important tips for a long drive in the car.
While not all of our long road trip tips centre around safety, preparing your car is one of the best ways to prevent risk and give you peace of mind on a long drive.
A smart idea is to book your car in for a service before you hit the road. This will ensure that everything is in good working order and it will reduce the chances of anything going wrong while you are traveling.
Looking to prepare your car yourself?
As a minimum:
- Fill up with gas before you set off (it’s more expensive on the highway)
- Use the pre-departure checklist below
Fluid Levels| Tire Tread | Tire Pressure | Lights | Wipers | Gas Levels
14. PACK AN EMERGENCY KIT
Include an emergency kit in your road trip packing list.
Accidents do happen. You need to be prepared, especially if you’re driving a long way and could be far from home or your next stop.
That’s why it’s important that you always pack an emergency kit for your long car drive.
Make sure this includes a first-aid kit, roadside safety kit, water, blankets, a jerry can, and a flashlight (accidents happen in the dark, too!). If the worst happens, it’s best to be prepared.
EMERGENCY ITEMS CHECKLIST
15. MAKE SURE YOU PREPARE YOUR KEY DOCUMENTS
Prepare all of the key documents that you are going to need.
This includes roadside assistance, driving license and car insurance, as well as your owner’s manual.
Being pulled over by the police can be a lot more complicated than it needs to be if you do not have your license, and the last thing you want is for your trip to be completely derailed because of something like this.
LONG DISTANCE ROAD TRIP TIPS – YOUR TURN
Which tip will you try first?
Or do you have any other long distance driving tips that work well?
Either way, leave a comment below and let us know!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase, but this is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Road Trip Expert.
Iain founded The Road Trip Expert in 2019 and continues to manage the website to this day. The inspiration to start the blog came during an extensive road trip around Europe with two friends that spanned several months and involved over 25,000km of driving. He started backpacking in 2014 and has had the pleasure of exploring over 60 countries. Read more on the About page.