Road Trip Tips

1. Get plenty of sleep before your drive

Think about exhaustion before you begin your journey, not after. Get at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to build up your energy reserves. It’s best to start in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring day of work (unless you plan to stop). Take regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert, stopping roughly every 100 miles or two hours. “Also, try to avoid driving between 1 and 3 p.m., when the body’s temperature is lower and people are naturally drowsy,” says The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus.

2. Bring healthy road trip snacks

Carrying along a variety of vitamin-packed, healthy foods will allow you to get by on smaller snacks throughout the long drive, while skipping the fast-food stops. “To stay alert, carrots and almonds are my favorite,” says blogger and travel expert Gretchen Breuner author of The RoadScholarz: Lessons from the Scenic Route.

3. Stay hydrated

Keep the water supply well-stocked for maximum energy. “A possible downside of this, of course, is that you’ll need to make more bathroom stops,” says Breuner, who traveled to 19 states with her family in an RV in three months. To learn more about what to bring on a road trip, check out this list of essential items and tools to keep in your car.

4. Plan your rest stops

One of the most crucial tips for road trips is to get out of your car and stretch your legs every two hours or so, our experts suggest. Plan these stops into your long drive, whether they fall at mealtimes or can be timed to let you view interesting places.

5. Chew gum

The repetitive process increases circulation and alertness. “You don’t need the sugary kind to get the desired effect,” says Breus, who is a fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.

6. Use energizing scents

During long distance driving, Breus also recommends keeping a source of peppermint scent nearby. When you feel you need a boost, take a sniff. “It’s a pleasant, all-natural pick-me-up that has been shown to reduce fatigue and increase alertness,” he says.



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7. Sit up straight

Make sure your seat is adjusted properly for your body, tilted for maximum blood flow. If you feel a driving “trance” coming on, sit up. “Take a deep breath and scan your body for tension,” says yoga teacher and wellness specialist Elaine Masters, author of Drivetime Yoga: Yoga Benefits in the Convenience of Your Car. “If your right hip is feeling sore, for example, lean to the other side.”

8. Keep passengers entertained

Long drives—especially with kids—can often lead to bickering. That kind of aggravation leads to driver fatigue. So make sure children are entertained with books, puzzles and other time-killing diversions. On the flip side, road trip games such as “find the license plate” are great for keeping everyone engaged with one another.

9. Listen to audio books

Audio books help keep the brain active, without creating a dangerous distraction. Breus recommends listening to humorous books or even comedy CDs. “Laughing,” he says, “will keep you awake.”




  • We prefer extra large or jumbo shrimp in this recipe (16-20 count per pound), but any size shrimp will work. Leave the tail on the peeled shrimp for a “fancy” touch!
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. You know the shrimp are done when they turn pink and opaque. Be careful that you don’t overcook the shrimp or they will become tough and rubbery.
  • You can purchase instant grits, quick grits, or stone-ground grits. I use quick grits in this recipe, but any variety will work — you’ll just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Make creamy shrimp and grits by adding a splash of heavy cream to the skillet with the shrimp at the very end. Allow the cream to bubble and thicken slightly before serving.
  • Instead of sharp cheddar, use just about any variety of good melting cheese that you like. Try white cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, or American cheese (like Velveeta).
  • Replace the lemon juice with a dash of red wine vinegar.
  • Finely diced yellow onion is a fine substitute for the green onion. It might require a few extra minutes in the skillet to soften, so add it before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, celery, or chopped red bell peppers to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until tender, and then add the shrimp as instructed.
  • Add ½ package of thinly sliced kielbasa sausage or andouille sausage to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until browned, and then add the shrimp as instructed.

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