5 tips for making life on the road fun, healthy and stress-free

Road to La Plata Canyon in Colorado
A quick detour from the main road can lead you to some pretty amazing places.Tiona Eversole

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to spend the weekends. In the past year, however, I’ve become aware of several things that I do during road trips that are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I’ve looked at road trips as mini vacations for so long that I’ve subconsciously let this idea rule my way of life. Road trips become an opportunity to splurge and I lose sight of the healthy habits I’ve worked hard to perfect. I decided that it was time to make a change in order to improve my well-being during long drives. Here are five ways that I’ve changed the way I road trip for the better.

Research the Route

From stopping for gas to stretching your legs, your road trip will be a whole lot easier with a little bit of planning. Knowing what lies ahead on the road can help you make better decisions. I like to use Roadtrippers to help find restaurants and interesting stops along the way. But for trails and other outdoor recreation sites, a little more digging might be necessary. Research the towns you will be driving through and see if any popular, nearby attractions catch your eye.

Determine how long you will be driving for. For multi-day road trips, try and decide how far you want to drive each day and where you will be pulling over to sleep for the night. If you’re looking to camp, check for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camping along your route. With some sites, you’re even able to make reservations to ensure you have a place to crash if pulling in late.

packing a road trip cooler
Road trip cooler ready: Ice packs, soda waters, fruits, veggies and cheese sticks.Tiona Eversole
Grocery Shop Ahead of Time

A little prep goes a long way. Stopping at your local grocery store will help you make healthier snack decisions so that you’re not tempted to pick up that bag of potato chips when stopping for gas.

I suggest bringing a small cooler to keep in the backseat of your car and packing it with a few reusable ice packs, already cold of course. Having a small cooler on your road trip opens up more opportunities to have a multitude of drinks and snacks that you typically couldn’t bring on longer road trips. What’s better than pulling out a chilled soda water halfway through a hot summer car ride? And of course, don’t forget snacks that don’t require refrigeration such as crackers and jerky.

Nalgene water bottle
Bring plenty of water on your trip, and make sure to have a bottle nearby so that you don’t have to stop.Tiona Eversole
Stay Hydrated

The one thing I always keep in the front seat with me is my water bottle. It’s easy to forget to drink water while on the road. The next thing you know, it’s been six hours and you’re parched.

I also like to keep a couple refillable water jugs handy so that I don’t have to buy bottled water when stopping for gas. If you forget to pack extra water, ask the gas station attendant if you can fill your water bottle using the soda fountain.

Traveling with your dog? Check out this handy OllyDog OllyBottle that’s great for keeping the pup hydrated on road trips.

roadside attraction off I-70 in Utah
We’ve passed by this interesting place on so many trips through Utah. It was time to check it out.Tiona Eversole
Make Time for Rest Breaks

There’s a great big world out there. In the past, I’ve been guilty of wanting to get to my destination with as few stops as possible. But recently, I’ve found that it’s nice to stop and experience what’s along the way. I’ve discovered countless trails, “tourist traps” (no reason to be ashamed of stopping; they’re there for a reason!) and pulloffs with stunning views in my road tripping days.

If traveling with a pup, keep their needs in mind. Bring Fido is excellent for finding dog-friendly trails and dog parks so that your dog can have a good time while road tripping as well.

Dog on a walk in San Luis Valley, Colorado
A quick break allows you and the pup to stretch out.Tiona Eversole
Leave Earlier, and Slow Down

Road trips are best enjoyed when you’re not speeding towards your destination — and it’s safer, too.

Pack for your trip and have your car loaded the night before. That way, you can wake up and get on the road first thing in the morning, helping you to beat the first wave of traffic.

Chances are, your road trip will take you through some amazing landscapes. Slow down and enjoy the views knowing that you’ve done the research and are well on your way to a great road trip.