Surviving a Road Trip

August 16, 2016

by Zadra Rose Ibañez, Director of Operations

While on a recent road trip, I explored ways to pass the time and make the journey more pleasurable.

Eat Well

Pack a snack that is healthful and wholesome, rather than sugary or greasy.  This will help prevent the need to stop for expensive gas station snacks and avoid low-energy crankiness mid-trip. Take water with you and stay hydrated.  Dehydration can lead to headaches and sluggishness, in addition to tummy troubles and a general feeling of being unwell.

Car Sick?

WebMD1 says, “the vestibular system – the body’s system to help regulate balance and motion – and the vision system send corresponding signals to the brain.”  Sometimes, these signals conflict, such as when you are sitting in the back seat of a car.  You are looking at a stationary object (the seat in front of you) but your body is feeling all the turns and speed.

Traditional medications are antihistamines, which can make people drowsy. Here are a few alternatives to over-the-counter travel aids to decrease feelings of carsickness:

  • Try to look out of the front window, if possible. Keep your eyes moving, not focused on a static point.
  • Ginger or peppermint oil can be used aromatically or under the tongue. You can add a drop to water in a glass or metal (not plastic) bottle to drink, or just smell the oil directly from the bottle.  You can also apply topically to pulse points or the back of your neck, but may want to use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, first.
  • Motion sickness wristbands or beads for your pressure points or the ears can be worn.
  • Eat something before you go – a small, low-fat meal is recommended as fat, greasy meals may increase feelings of nausea.

The Games that People Play

In addition to the perennial “I spy” (“I spy with my little eye, something that starts with ‘A’”) and license plates games, many fun road games have been invented.  The complexity of the game can be increased based on the problem-solving abilities of the players.

To head-off the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” have kids monitor the trip’s progress in entertaining ways.  For example, the average song is roughly 3.5 minutes.  (You can round to 4, if you prefer.)  So a 60 mile trip, at 60mph, would be around 17 songs.  Each passenger could prepare a playlist of 10-20 songs, for however many hours the trip will take, and then count the songs to see how far you’ve come.

Another math game is to calculate the trip from miles to kilometers. If the average person walks at a pace of 3.5 mph, how long would it take to walk the distance?  How many marathons would you have to run to cover the trip?

For more media-minded individuals, there are always movie or music games.

  • Person A names a movie. Person B names a second movie that shares a common actor. Then, Person C (or A, if there’s only two of you) names another movie that shares an actor with Movie 2 and so on.  For added complexity, you could make it that all three movies have the same actor in them.
  • Books and Movies: How many movies can you name that were books first?
  • Music: Name a title. Next person names another title that starts with the last word (or letter) of the previous title.
  • Listen to the radio. Try to guess the artist of the song as soon as it starts.  Change the station periodically to capture different genres, especially for cross-generational groups.

Variations of these games could be used for topics of sports, sciences, and social studies, whatever subject is most appealing to the players.

The key to a pleasurable road trip is to have fun and minimize discomforts along the way.  As long as transitions can be seen as exciting adventures rather than unpleasant or anxiety-producing inconveniences, the memories of the journey can be as gratifying as the memories made at the destination.

Happy traveling!


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