Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. -Helen Keller
As part two of the Healthy travel series, I want to dedicate time to travel by land. Yes, many of the tips expressed on the travel by air post could apply to this but there are a few others that should be included while traveling by land. Travel by land could mean by car, by bus (greyhound or any other) or even train. Yes, people still travel long distances by train. Amtrak train trips are a fun and rare experience for the family. If you’ve never done it, perhaps you should consider it and use some of these tips to make it enjoyable. Nonetheless, for this post I will refer to land trip as a car trip which is the one used most frequently but these tips could be easily applied to any other land trip.
Planning ahead is the most important task. When you are planning your trip it’s important to look at your routes and plan bathroom and stretch stops at least every two hours. The frequency of your stops depends on the age of the members of your group, health situations or any other factors. Be sure to take all of that into consideration. This important step will allow you to plan the departure and arrival time as well as the quantity of snacks or meals needed. I also know that too many stops might delay arrival and thus enjoyment at your destination. In order to avoid the amount of unexpected and unscheduled stops, let’s once again prepare ahead but try to be flexible with your schedule. You might discover unexpected places along the route where you’ll want to stop, stretch and discover. Give yourself time for some spontaneity.
The main difference to me for land travel vs air travel is the ability to make stops as desired or at least to stretch your body with more frequency. That itself is gamechanger in terms of having a stagnant feeling. Always remembering stopping for a good stretch. It is important for your body’s health. Bring pillows or seat supports to make the car seat as comfy as possible. Sit up tall, take frequent breaks, roll the shoulders, stretch the neck, and realign posture… Even during traffic, you can suck in the abs and squeeze the glutes. Make it a family game.
Keep your brain active too. We like to play games like license state bingo. I also love a good audiobook or podcast that help pass the time when travel companions are too tired for a sing-a-long. Everyone will learn something new, exercise their brains, and a bit of new knowledge or an interesting story will make the trip fly by. There are so many options for podcasts even for kids. “Brains on” and “Wow in the world” are some of our kids favorites.
On the previous post, air edition, I mentioned the importance of traveling with bottled water. We prefer our bottles to be refilled rather than purchasing lots of bottled water containers. But I won’t lie, we’ve done both depending on our plans, group and destination. I still prefer to carry our own and refill them. We also carry our reusable forks, spoons, and even straws. There are many sites where you can find them. They come in pretty colors and sizes already in a small pouch for you to travel with. One of my favorites is Simply straws. I keep a few sets in my car.
Car rides have the advantage that you have access to a grocery store but if you drive across some country roads you might be surprised at what you won’t find, so it is best to be prepared for the munchies. Some of the same snacks I recommended on the previous post apply here. Have your cooler filled with ice or cool packs and load it with plenty of nutritious snacks like yogurt, fresh fruit, freeze dried fruits, granola bars, cut-up veggies and hummus, healthy trail mix, unsalted nuts and nut butter. Here is when those reusable cutleries come handy.
Avoid fast food, mostly if it is processed or fried. Stick to lighter meals like salads or a salad sandwich with water and fruit on the side. Search for healthy options while looking for places to eat. If you want to splurge, I advise waiting until you arrive at your destination. Enjoy the journey without emergency bathroom stops. Remember I mentioned the country roads where you can’t find anything… Yes! Experience my friends. Bathrooms seem to hide when you most need them sometimes. Another reason to travel healthy. Who wants to delay their limited amount of time for a trip in between emergency bathroom stops?
Bring your sunscreen! It is important to protect our skin regardless of the season. I pack my favorite sunscreen that I know is safe and harmless for me and my family. Some people, mostly children are sensitive to particular brands. Don’t spoil your trip. Pack your preferred brand. And speaking of the sun, pack your sunglasses too.
Depending on the type of trip and season, keep in mind the proper outfits including shoes. For every land trip I always pack a pair or flip flops and a pair of tennis shoes. Even if it is winter, the flip flops will serve me for indoors, a not so clean shower, or an emergency. My tennis shoes are not only a backup shoe, but I bring them for any moment I might have available to fit in a workout, a walk or a short hike to keep my body moving. I also carry a light jacket regardless of the season. You never know when you’ll need it.
Be sure you are well rested. Pass the key if you feel tired. Even better, make a stop for everyone to sleep and enjoy a new day.
Do your best, don’t stress about it. A little research and a google search bar could be of great help.
Have fun. Safe travels!