Feeling weary of the daily grind? A mini-break is the perfect antidote. Besides being cost effective and super simple to organise, studies show that holidays, even little ones, can dramatically reduce stress levels, encourage healthier hearts, reduce the risk of depression and even make you live longer! Road trips are an ideal way to holiday, all you need is a friend or two and a destination – no red-eye flights, no begging for time off and no pesky travel agent fees. Despite being one of the quickest and easiest ways to escape, here are a couple of handy tricks to make sure you get the most out of your getaway.
Whip up a friendly schedule
Miscommunication can put stress out on even the most laid-back of people. Put together an itinerary of essentials that can be emailed through to everyone. Make sure you’ve got the leaving time and destination so you can avoid waiting around in your sun hat and the oh-so-grating ‘I thought we were leaving at X, not Y’ conversation. So you can hit the road unperturbed, make sure the car is full of fuel. Best of all, mini-breaks require little more than minimal luggage. Throw together some shorts, swimmers and sunnies and you’re practically packed! Remember to share the load – delegate snacks and music, and swap drivers regularly.
Pump up the playlist
Music is one of the best ways to get in road-trip mode. Nothing’s better than sailing through open roads with your friends and your favourite tunes. With the sun shining and Rumble Strips playing you’ll feel like you’re in a Pepsi ad’. An upbeat blend of classics, pop and disco always seem to do the trick – just make sure to mix people’s fav’s, even ask them to send through some suggestions. After all, you don’t want to be stuck listening to Mega Death when you fancy the Spice Girls. My playlist is a girly blend of Beyoncé, The Fratellis, Kate Nash and Mark Ronson. A couple of everyone’s dirty secret favourites like the Backstreet Boys and Taylor Swift are always winners too.
Whipping out snacks is a great way to keep upbeat on long journeys. Things that can be scoffed with one hand while driving are ideal, but try to avoid anything too melty, or drippy. Corn chips and jelly snakes are great treats, but if you don’t fancy a sugar rush pack loads of fruit and trail mix. If it’s a long drive and you’re the super organised type, pack a lunch and pull up at a clearing – it’ll really help you change gears so you feel like you’ve broken free. Also, a thermos full of good coffee never goes amiss!
Take happy snaps
Road trips are what Instagram dreams are made of. Taking pictures of your adventure is one of the best souvenirs. Whether it’s on your phone, or a taken with a vintage Polaroid, having pictures of your trip helps you capture memories you can savour. Best of all, you can pin them to your desk when you return to the real world. Hard copy pictures in the workplace have been shown to induce positive feelings, increase job satisfaction and reduce stress levels. So even when you get back to your cubicle, the benefits of your little get-away will still have a positive effect your everyday life.
Enjoy the ride
This is by far the most important tip. Stop and eat ice cream at a country roadhouse. Sing along to tacky 90’s tunes as loud as you can. Open up to your travel buddies. The whole point of a road trip is to take yourself out of the Groundhog Day of everyday life and to reboot your mind. It’s a fantastically refreshing feeling being somewhere else, and who knows – you could even live longer.
Are you planning a summer road trip? Where are your favourite road trip destinations?
Kate H Jones is a lifestyle and pop culture writer at Clavicle Capitalism.