In a long trip, almost any car can seem like the same small, uncomfortable nightmare, whether you’re in a large Ford Explorer or a small Ford Fit. There are a few little but crucial things you can do on every long drive to keep you and your passengers more comfortable, calm, and content. Whether reducing mental stress and boredom, or making for a more physically comfortable drive, here are ways to maximize the comfort in your vehicle during a long trip.
Entertainment systems aren’t only for kids anymore. They also don’t have to cost an arm and a leg and be installed directly from the dealership. There are so many options these days for aftermarket entertainment systems so you can really create your own perfect system at your perfect price. Do something as simple as getting iPad holders for the backs of your headrests to turn your iPads into mobile movie players for your backseat passengers. Add some wireless headphones to really make for a superb experience. Here are some ideas for for how to create a DIY rear entertainment system on a budget.
Bring a cooler for lots of water and drinks. This can help you stay cool and comfortable on long, hot summer drives. Snacks are also key to comfort. Don’t load up on unhealthy things like chips and sugary treats or you’ll feel sluggish and weighed down on the drive. Pack things like fresh cut veggies and fruits for a burst of sweetness and nutrition that you won’t feel guilty about snacking on for hours upon end.
Family travel tip: Snacks are a great way to keep kids calm and complaining less on a long drive.
Packing your car correctly can make a world of a difference when you arrive at your location. Nothing is worse than being sleepy and sore and having a jumbled mess of spilled, shifted, smooshed cargo from a bad pack-job. Good attention to packing will also help free up more space in your vehicle, making the ride and vacation overall more comfortable.
Follow these key tips from the pros at Alamo, including how to correctly load your trunk, what materials to use, and how to make the most things fit in the least amount of space.
Driver’s Seat Enhancement
If you’re the driver, this one’s for you. Driving for long distances can cause back and neck stiffness, soreness, and general discomfort. Don’t overlook the value and impact of little things like neck and back pillows, correct adjustment of your steering wheel position and seat angle, and even a padded seat cover. Your seat that seems comfortable enough on your daily work commute might start to feel not so great after 5 hours into a multi-day road trip.
A few small pillows and light blankets can really make your trip more cozy, especially if you plan on sleeping in your car.
Climate Control Matters
Another obvious but overlooked cause of car comfort or discomfort is climate control. It may be difficult to keep the temperature just right for everyone, especially if you have a lot of people on your trip. Your hot-blooded cousin may want it cold, while your mom wants the heat on even in July. If you have dual or even tri-zone climate control, use it. Try to get everyone who has a similar temperature preference to all sit together so you can make the back row of the car the cold-air row or the heated section.
Keeping a moderate temperature while people layer up or take off a sweatshirt depending on their own preferences can work well in smaller vehicles or if you don’t have different climate regions in your vehicle. Remind your passengers to wear light layers and bring a sweatshirt or jacket even if they don’t think they’ll need it. Worst case scenario it can double as a pillow for a road trip nap.
Keep it Clean
Bring along a little bag to stash trash in, from food wrappers to flavorless gum to dirty tissues. Having these items tossed around the car or stuffed in pockets will make the car seem smaller and less comfortable. You’d be surprised at how much cleanliness matters when it comes to making a small space feel good.