I’ve been driving a lot lately… and just like anything, you definitely get better at it the more you do it.
As I put another 450 miles on my car tomorrow, here are some of the things I’ll be doing to prepare for life on the open road.
Get a power block/large charger.
If you are both navigating and listening to audio from your smartphone like I am, that is going to drain your battery fast. A fully charged power block can charge my cell phone five times, which is more than adequate for my ten hour trip. Very handy. I like the idea that you can also get ones that have a solar panel. Even though I’ve never really relied on mine to charge that way, it’s nice to know it could.
This is the one I have and if you buy one, I get 3%.
Check out cell reception ahead of time.
Most cell phone carriers have coverage maps. Looking at your expected coverage before beginning your drive can give you an idea of how long, if at all, you’ll be out of touch.
Personally, unless I’m having a super long ‘how’s your life’ conversation with a friend, I hate talking while I’m driving. If it’s a business meeting, I want to take notes and if it’s anything serious, it needs my full attention. This is why I don’t schedule meetings while I drive. This also makes it a zen experience for me, which I appreciate.
Make a list of useful things, like coffee shops or coworking spaces with WiFi, etc. in case you need them.
I’ve got a pretty good list of places where they have 24-7 bathrooms, coffee shops I don’t mind stopping at in an emergency, and other helpful things. Your line of work may need to involve something more specific, like maybe occasionally needing a large format printer or UPS locations. If you make a regular circuit, make note of these useful resources in hard copy form including addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, etc. Then when you need them, rather than having to do multiple Google searches, you can have it all on one or two sheets of paper.
Forward your calls if applicable.
Google Voice allows you to forward your calls to it and will transcribe and text/email voicemails. I find this handy when I travel as I can return important calls in a timely way.
Bring water and high powered snacks.
I bring about 10 water bottles (large ones) with me for both the dog and I. I’m never sad to have hydration with me. In terms of snacks, I love RX Bars because they are high protein (12 g and 250ish calories) and don’t have any chemicals in them. Being less reliant on road snacks is not only more economical but definitely a healthier way for your body to transition from one place to another.
Download productive audio books and podcasts.
The Pocket Casts app (not free) is my favorite podcast app. The app that comes on your iPhone either downloads EVERY episode or NO episodes of your favorite podcast. This app allows you to download episodes individually and arrange them in a kind of play list if you like. Once you listen to it, the podcast automatically deletes. And between that and downloading only the episodes I want, I have saved a ton of space on my phone. I also try to have at least one new audiobook downloaded in advance so I can look forward to it on the road.
Hide $20 in your car.
I am the kind of person that carries cash (hint: if you ever have to split a dinner tab, those of us with cash always end up better off). But if you are the kind of person that doesn’t usually carry cash, hide $20 in your glove compartment. $20 can get you out of an unexpected toll or other situation and it’s not a lot of money to miss. The few times I dove into my stash, I’ve always been thankful for it.
The reality is that we all have these blocks of travel time and making the best of it is all we can do. And who knows, you might even enjoy it if you decide to.