Here are some tips, tricks and hacks to make your road trip smoother.
You’ve been waiting to hit the road, and the time has finally come. Glance through this list just to make sure that you’ve checked all the right boxes.
Keep it juiced up
Your navigation is going to be on for the most, so is the music and the camera, all of which will sap your phone’s battery. Solution? Battery packs! And charging ports! As for battery packs, stick to 10,000mAh and above, while you can plug in your charging ports into the car’s cigarette-lighter or 12V socket; most modern cars come with these. Nowadays, cars also come with USB slots, however, these aren’t as quick to charge as a battery pack. As for accessory charging ports, get ones with multiple USB ports so you can charge multiple devices.
Blanket for cover
There’s always someone in the car feeling too cold, or tired or sleepy. Let them take the back seat and curl up with a blanket. It’s also handy when folded into a pillow, or a cushion for those who want extra lumbar support.
Chew on gum
Already picked up packs of gum at the groceries store’s cash counter? We understand your excitement. You see, chewing gum can never go out of vogue. It makes you look cool, controls hunger pangs to an extent, and science says that gum helps you focus better on the task at hand. And you know how important focus is when you are driving.
Take a small bag and pack it with Band-Aids, crepe-bandages, antiseptics, cotton swabs, paracetamol tablets, Anti-diarrhoea, Anti-histamine, and most importantly, any prescription drugs that you take on a regular basis. The last thing you want during a road trip is to wedge your fingers in the car door and have nothing to cover the bleeding; or to realise that you have run out of your stock for your morning medicine.
Budget it out
You’re on a holiday, so it’s hard, and rather unwise to stay on a stringent budget. An easy way to get a rough estimate of your expenses is to break them down; fuel, food, shopping, emergency, etc. Keep a rough track of the distances you will cover in a day. This way, you can gauge the amount of fuel you require.
While on the topic, it’s best to not overestimate your car’s fuel efficiency. To stay safe, consider an average of 10kpl irrespective of whether the car runs on petrol or diesel, and about 8kpl if you are driving through hilly sections. As for your holiday budget in general, be good to yourself. Give yourself enough leeway so that even if your plan doesn’t pan out to the T (which it mostly won’t), you can still complete the journey with peace of mind.
Stick to cash
When paying for fuel and snacks on highways, avoid using credit/debit cards. Instead, stick to cash for paying bills. There are a couple of reasons for this. You could forget your credit card at the fuel station and by the time you realise it, you would have reached your next destination. Also, credit card frauds at fuel stations aren’t uncommon. Hence, avoid being scammed. Use cash.
Keep your ID handy
In the unlikely event of a crash, you want your rescuers to know your basic information – full name, blood group, contact information, address, life-threatening medical conditions if any. Keep all of these written down, and keep it easily accessible on you, preferably in your wallet, or as dog-tags.
Move to the grove
Fabulous roads deserve fabulous soundtracks? Now, there’s a certain joy taking along your own playlist, your very own “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”, with each song hand-picked by you. And, since road trips are often about going the distance, we suggest that you keep your compilation peppy and up-beat. You are looking at the likes of AC/DC, Bappi Lahiri, R. D. Burman, and Michael Jackson.
Nowadays, you have access to good, or at least decent internet connection in developed and developing countries like India (thank you, Jio). So, you could very well stream your favourite music from online services like Youtube, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and the likes.
Here’s a point that we cannot reiterate enough. Wear your seat-belts. All the time! And if you have people in the back seat, make them wear it too! They are your first line of defence in the event of a collision, and are crucial in keeping you from hurtling towards the windscreen. So, make sure that you hear that reassuring click from all the passenger seats before you set out for your adventures.
Eat like a local
The McDonalds, Domino’s and Burger Kings of the world have infiltrated nearly every part of the world, which is good if you have no clean restaurants around. However, nothing beats the taste of freshly prepared local food, be it at a jam-packed highway dhaba, a highly recommended joint or a spanking 5-star hotel. Also, the whole point of a road trip is to try everything that you don’t get to daily.
This is a holiday, it’s meant to be a laid back and relaxed affair and not a sprint through the a battery of attractions. We suggest that you time your sightseeing well [Why minimum. Just say time them well. No point in spending 10L on a holiday in California and keeping sight-seeing to bare minimum. We pride our self for the curation we have done, and ensure you have a good experience on route. Then how can you say bare minimum??]so you have all the time to explore a destination as per your choice. Plus, you always have our expert road trip planners who will help you zero-down on what you can skip and what you must visit.
Avoid it, plain and simple. Be it late in the evening, or in the wee hours of the day, avoid driving under low-light conditions. That’s because we understand how tiring and frustrating full beams and windscreen glare can get when you are tackling a set of twisties, or even a straight highway for that matter.
We have planned our itineraries such that you are not required to stay behind the wheel for too long. Despite that, you need to pace yourself, plan your day a little I advance so that you are out of the driver’s seat by early evening at best.
Play fast and furious on the highway
You’re all set for a lovely cruise. Suddenly, a boy racer cut your line, just about scraping your car. You chase him, swapping lanes, cutting wildly through traffic, only to realise that you both have gotten yourselves some hefty speeding tickets, and that somebody could have lost their life during the stunt.
Don’t forget, you would have also had to pay the car rental for repairs had you crashed the car. Realise that safety – that of your own and that of those traveling with and around you – is most important, and that shenanigans on the road will eventually get you into trouble. The road is not a racetrack.
Being the hitchhiker’s guide
It’s good to be helpful, but when you are on the road, exercise caution. Do not stop when you see a hitchhiker, even if they look helpless and innocent. As heartless as it sounds, it’s for your safety and that of your mates. You see, you are new to the place, and you never can know for sure if the hitchhiker just wants a lift to the next bus stop, or whether he/she has ulterior motives.
A) It’s illegal; B) You are risking your life and that of your mates; and C) You are risking the lives of fellow road users. No matter how exceptional a driver you are, alcohol – even that little pint that you thought was safe – blunts your senses. You may not admit it, but it takes you longer to react and process information. So please, don’t drink and drive.
Driving seven-eight hours straight sounds like a challenge worth accepting. You may even pull it off, but trust us. Thee-four hours into the drive, you will curse yourself for not making the hourly pit-stops that you otherwise would. We recommend that you take breaks regularly for a couple of reasons.
- For one, sitting for long stints isn’t doing your back any good. Get out, stretch for a bit, and get back on the road.
- Secondly, you may not realise it, but sitting is tiring, no matter how comfy your seat is.
- Thirdly, what’s the fun in driving through all the lovely scenery and not making a photo stop?
- Lastly, a chai or coffee break is the perfect way to drive away drowsy eyes on a hot afternoon. Which brings us to…..
Overdose on Coffee
A double espresso sounds like perfect prep food for a long stint of driving. Only that you will need to down another, once the first one cup has lost its effect. The same holds true for the extra-strong black teas and Red Bulls of the world. Truth is, there’s no replacement for good ol’ sleep. Ensure that you are well-rested before a long day of driving, so you don’t have to hunt
Skimp on the car
This one’s easy. You’ve picked the smaller car because it’s cheaper, and consequently will gulp lesser fuel, and of course, it will be easier to drive in tighter spaces. Agreed on all counts, however, you won’t take long to realise that perhaps, you could have handled the sedan just as well. Plus, you would have gotten yourself a more spacious car with a lot more boot-space for all your shopping.