Going on a road trip is the dream budget trip, where you can enjoy the flexibility and tranquillity of driving your own car while going at your own pace and following your own itinerary.
Picture this, taking your trusty minivan or that spanking new Toyota for a spin down the coast, with the windows open and fresh air, sea breeze, and the salty smell of the waves filling your nostrils while you blast your favourite tunes. Who wouldn’t want that?
Day trips can be excellent breaks from the monotony of daily life, but sometimes, you just have to drive with your car overnight or more to reset and energize for a new work week. However, the cost makes a road trip a viable option over staying at a hotel.
Safety can also be a concern, and we’re not talking phantom hitchhikers; keeping airflow unobstructed while car sleeping is a MUST. You also need to consider whether you can legally sleep at your rest stop.
Those and some other concerns need to be at the top of your to-do list before going on an adventure, not to mention other checks to ensure you can enjoy your well-deserved trip.
Before you start filling your back seat with sheets and bags, here are some essential tips and must-haves for a safe road trip!
- Check Your Car Battery, Engine, Liquids and Lights – The beginning of a leisure drive can be exciting but before you start revving into the sunset, you should first check the state of your car. It’s best to run a diagnostics check on your engine, whether your signal lights are functioning and, importantly, how are your brakes. These simple and quick lookovers might save your life!
- Plot Your Course – Driving wherever you fancy might be tempting, but with steeper gas prices, it’s better to map out where you’re planning on going. Decide whether you prefer a seaside trip or it’s the mountains that you fancy. This includes finding parking lots that offer overnight parking and gas stations to top up on fuel and replenish your toiletries.
- List What You’ll Bring – It doesn’t have to be put to paper. What’s important is you have an idea of what you need on a long drive. Things like chargers, warm clothes for colder climes and swimming trunks for the beach, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can post those Instagram-worthy pics! Don’t forget your trusty travel pillow.
- Stay Alert! – Being the designated driver, like great power, comes with great responsibilities. Aside from having to keep an eye on the road and hands on the steering wheel, you’re in charge of deciding where to eat, when to gas up, and sometimes, the music to play? ACDC’s Highway to Hell comes to mind! A good cup of coffee or hot chocolate can perk you up for most of the trip. So does having a front seat passenger to keep you company. You also have to consider tagging out once you’re exhausted.
Car Sleeping the Safe Way
Like building Rome, a good trip isn’t finished in a day. Sometimes, you just have to grab that sleep mask, park somewhere that doesn’t seem haunted, and get a good night’s sleep. Before you push your luck till the middle of the night, it’s best to hunker down in a car park and get some shut-eye.
You don’t need to splurge on a new air mattress to turn your minivan into a camper. Ecosa mattresses can double as bedroom and road trip staples, ensuring that you sleep soundly, whether beside a lamp or a camp stove.
A car may not provide security like your house, but it can be significantly improved with the following precautions:
- Find a quiet and secure place to park the car. Many locations don’t allow overnight parking, so checking local traffic regulations is necessary to avoid receiving a fine or having your vehicle towed.
- Park your car away from main roads, entrances and exits. Do some research on the local area before deciding on the location.
- Don’t keep the engine running and lock your car. Keep your keys in a secure place and make sure valuables are well hidden.
- To allow fresh air into the car, slightly open the windows or the sunroof. You can also roll your car windows a bit down for better airflow. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide poisoning is a real problem that you should watch out for!
- Wake up every couple of hours [as needed] to warm the car up under very cold weather conditions.
- On sunny days, park your car under the shade to keep it from overheating. In some extreme cases, people have died sleeping inside hot vehicles.
- Take your valuable possessions with you when you get out of the car and always stay vigilant of your surroundings.
Car Camping Essentials
Making your car feel extra homely and comfortable is crucial if you want to get a good quality sleep on the road.
Here are some tips that can help you create a mobile bedroom:
- Bring your favourite pillow and quilt. These can simulate a familiar feeling similar to that of your home bedroom!
- Do not rely on the car’s heater alone when travelling in cold weather. Bring some extra blankets or a sleeping bag to wrap yourself around with.
- Recline the front seat so you can lie down like you usually would when sleeping in a bed.
- Alternatively, you can curl up in the back seat, which may not be so different from sleeping on a couch.
- Should your car model allow for it, fold down the rear seat area to create some extra room.
- If you are sleeping when the car is in motion, do not forget to sit up and buckle your seatbelt. You can rest your head on a pillow to add more comfort.
- You might be parked in a safe place, but that doesn’t always mean it is sleep-inducing. Good thing ear plugs were discovered by Ancient Greeks.
Create a Familiar Environment
If you’re one of those who have trouble falling asleep in an unfamiliar environment, creating a home-like atmosphere can help you fall asleep faster.
Simple tricks like turning on soothing music, reading bedtime stories, or even meditating in the car can help you get used to the new sleeping environment more quickly and comfortably.
Turn off the lights in the car at night and cover up the windows if you are sleeping during the day. It gives you both privacy and a healthy sleep environment.
Don’t forget to pack some water and food with you as you will always need it.
Follow the above tips to turn your car into a safe and cosy mobile bedroom, but a hotel or your house is always your top option for a worry-free night’s sleep.