I've heard on more than one occasion that the average commuting time to Northern Michigan University is about six hours. My commute is eight hours, my roommate's is nine; thankfully we like each other so that the eight hour car ride to my house doesn't cause us to kill each other. But the ride definitely takes a tole on each of us. We've perfected (or at least we think we have) the essentials for the road and I'm letting you in on our secrets.
This should be a no brainer. Music is really important; it makes the time pass faster, drowns out the words you scream at the bad drivers, and allows bonding time with you and your passengers/makes you feel less lonely if you're by yourself.
The best way to utilize music is to make mix tapes/CDs or playlists by use of an AUX cord. Radio is great, don't get me wrong, but it can be spotty and you can end up listening to the same three songs twelve times over.
I recommend fast paced throwbacks more than anything (disco is the best in my opinion!). Top fifty is good and all, but it's always on and, like I said, can get old fast. It's great listening to songs that made up your childhood and jamming to hits like "YMCA" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and dancing in your seat.
Make sure you have plenty of songs! One of the worst feelings is realizing that your playlist isn't long enough and you have to listen to it over again.
This one should also be a no-brainer. We all need food to survive and it's important to have some for long drives, that way you don't have to stop and you can get to your destination sooner (I know, I know, it's all about the journey, but sometimes you've just been sitting in a car for too long).
I recommend healthy snacks -- they help keep you awake! But whatever you can fit in the car works too. Apples are some of my favorite driving food, not really sure why, granola bars are too. Pop-tarts are too crummy and some other fruits can be too juicy. You just have to moderate what food you have.
Driving by yourself for hours on end can be excruciating. What if it's raining or bumper to bumper traffic? Who will read signs when you can't see them, listen to your screams about the dumb drivers around you, and belt out song lyrics at the top of your lungs with you? Honestly, driving with people is way too much fun to not do.
4. Emergency supplies.
I'm a fan of always being prepared and honestly, with Upper Peninsula winters, you've gotta be. I have a tow rope, a shovel, a blanket, cat litter, oil, a tire changing tools, jumper cables and other supplies that I can't remember. Michigan weather can be as unpredictable as ever and it can go from sunny and beautiful to white-out just like that. If you don't get stuck, somebody else might and it's always good to be a good Samaritan.
5. Coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
Driving can get boring, let's be honest. And boring means tiring. A tired driver is a bad driver, no doubt about it. And let's be honest coffee is good! I prefer water, honestly, but anything to keep you awake helps. Just don't drink too much that you have to stop at every rest area along the way.
Have a good road trip!