Touring the country or continent seems inherently adventurous, far more exciting than that 9-5 office job. While the idea of riding into the sunset indefinitely may be tantalizing, consider that being on the road requires roughing it a bit. If you are looking to live a bit more comfortably on the road without the extra cost, here are some tips that will make you (almost) feel like your life isn’t on wheels.
1. Stay Clean with Rest Stops and Gym Showers
Rest Stops are very convenient for quick face washing and brushing teeth. While most rest stops do not have showers, gyms do! Pay for a one-day pass, or see if they offer trial day passes. That way you can work out a bit after hours of car-sitting, and then shower off hours (if not days) of grime.
Tip: Always wear shower shoes, and bring your own towels.
2. Wash Laundry at Rest Stops
Though life doesn’t always offer the olfactory sense an aroma of roses, life does not have to smell of dirty laundry. If you are planning to stack your dirty goods in the very back until you find a Laundromat, consider hand-washing. Simply packing a bucket, detergent and hangers (or laundry rope) will enable you with washing machine abilities. All you have to do is pullover at a rest stop. Fill the bucket with water and a little detergent and dunk your garment. Rinse, wring it out as much as possible, and stick it on a hanger. This hanger can be hung from one of the passenger ceiling handles in the back, or likewise, you can tie a laundry rope from one ceiling handle to the next, hanging multiple garments. Voila! Laundromat on wheels. No quarters required.
Tip: Wash only a few items at a time, so your car does not grow damp and moldy.
3. Stock a Cooler
Food is expensive, unless you’re stopping at McDonalds every five hundred miles. While McDonalds food is cheap and convenient, it is generally high in calories and sodium. Skip the Mickey D’s, and keep a cooler stocked with ice in the back. Hit up the grocery store and fill the cooler with sandwich meats, vegetables, fruits, et cetera. That way, you can eat well without spending a lot of money at a tasty bistro.
Tip: Because you are probably sitting more than usual, try to cut back on caloric intake, and eat lighter foods that won’t make you feel heavy and bloated.
4. See Friends and Family Along the Way
While mapping out your trip, contact friends and relatives who may be near some of the hotspots you’re hitting. These good people may be able to let you crash with them, or at the very least they may know a sweet place you can sleep under the stars.
Tip: Show your gratitude to those who help you out.
5. Surf a Couch
Couchsurfing.com is an online community of people who have couches or spare bedrooms and are willing to let travelers sleep there for a night or two. Every individual (couch holder and surfer alike) has a profile, and those who have met this individual or have slept on their couch can vouch for them, allowing users to ascertain that a night on someone’s couch won’t land them an eternity in a grave.
Tip: Contact multiple people well in advance if you’re looking for places to stay because not everyone will want to host you.
6. Sleep In Your Car
Many Wal-Marts permit overnight parking for those on the road; therefore, if you are desperate for some Z’s, pull over. Bring a blanket and pillow for moments like this. Lower your seat or curl up in the back. Keep windows rolled up high, lock all doors, and then, rest easy.
Tip: Always keep your cell phone charged and near you for moments of emergency.
While road tripping can hold all kinds of adventure, not all of us are gypsies. If you think you may miss the greater comforts of having a home, try to meld home-life comforts with rode-life realities with these tips. Just remember to stay safe and take lots of pictures!