Home is a lot of great things: your castle, your movie theater, your favorite restaurant. It can also be some not-so-great things. The worst thing of all that could be? Far away.
Whether you’re taking a cross-country road trip to visit the Second Biggest Ball of Yarn in America or just driving up to New York for the weekend to look at Albany houses for sale, spending a lot of time on the road is exhausting in more ways than one. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for the next time you’re feeling homesick.
Bring Along Your Favorite Pillow & Blanket
Maybe Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus was onto something: there’s just something reassuring about a good blanket. Unfortunately, when you’re hotel-hopping or camping out in the wilderness, you’re often stuck sleeping in a strange, uncomfortable place, either a bed shared by countless strangers before you or the cold, hard ground with nothing but a sleeping bag for comfort.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It might seem like a waste of trunk space but at first, but if you have the room, bringing a couple pillows and a blanket from home can pay off big time. There’s no time when feeling relaxed and secure is more important than when trying to sleep (except for maybe during bathroom breaks). Wrapping yourself in something that looks, smells, and feels like home goes a long way towards ensuring pleasant dreams.
Create a Mini Home Entertainment Center
When on the road, it’s important to let yourself rest every now and then, and that doesn’t just mean sleep. It’s a good idea to give your eyes and brain a distraction when they’re spending so much time staring at the traffic signs and travel itineraries. Today, thanks to inexpensive Wi-Fi and mobile data plans, it’s easier than ever to turn our smartphones, tablets, and laptops into bite-sized home entertainment centers.
As long as you have access to a decent connection, you can Netflix and chill to your heart’s content. You don’t have to hold your phone right up to your face; PopSockets and tablet stands allow you to prop up any device that has a screen, so you let your arms relax. Is the sound on your device too quiet, fuzzy, or otherwise low-quality? Portable Bluetooth speakers can provide clearer, more immersive audio, allowing you to enjoy your favorite YouTube cat videos without missing a single meow.
Make Real Meals Instead of Eating Snacks
Eating on the road… sucks. Nonstop driving makes chowing down on anything that can’t fit in a single hand tricky, and living off gas station snack-cakes and drive-thru French fries gets real old, real fast. Nothing makes you pine for a good home-cooked meal quite like having Twinkies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With a little planning, though, you can cook, portion, store, and transport many of your favorite dishes.
Even better, pack a cooler with food and drinks, then bring along a small portable grill. As long as you’re willing to pull over at a rest stop or hotel road parking, there’s no reason you can’t cook yourself something hot and tasty anywhere. Clean-up is quick and easy, especially if you’re using disposable plates and cutlery, and the leftovers will really hit the spot later on. You may think you don’t have time in your busy schedule to stop and grill dinner, but your tummy (and taste buds) will certainly thank you.