The car's packed and the snacks are ready. You've got everything but the kitchen sink neatly stored in the trunk — what more could you possibly need?
Americans are preparing to take nearly 700 million road trips this summer, according to AAA. Traveling by car tops the list of preferred modes of travel during this pandemic summer — in fact, AAA predicts that 97% of summertime travel will be via car.
Preparing for a Road Trip
Although road trips require less advance planning than booking a flight, there is still a fair amount of preparation involved. You have to choose your destination, plan your route and tune-up your car. Then there's the little things, like creating a road trip playlist and finding all your favorite snacks.
For road trip success, make sure to think through as many details as possible.
Select Your Destination
How much time do you have? How far do you want to drive each day? Is there somewhere in particular you've been wanting to visit? These are all important factors to consider when picking your destination. You might also consider where you will be able to stay when you arrive, and how many days you want to explore your destination.
Plan Your Route
Oftentimes, this is the most tedious part of planning your road trip. You have to consult a map or two, look up places to stop along the way, decide if you'll camp, stay in hotels or find friends to stay with along the way. If there are certain sights you are planning to stop for, you need to account for any detour time or adjust your route.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Not to be overlooked, you'll want to make sure your car is in tip-top shape for the long journey. Get the oil topped off, fill your tires, vacuum out the interior and take care of any known maintenance issues. Has your car been making a funny sound when you turn right? Now is the time to get it figured out!
Make a Packing List
Trying to remember everything as you are packing day-of is a recipe for disaster. Start making your list several weeks prior, so you can add to it as you think of things. You'll want to include everything from gear to entertainment to clothing and snacks. Don't forget to add your compression socks, to keep your legs safe & healthy on the road.
Bring What You Need to Enjoy the Journey
Car trips can be loooong. Prepare for passing the time by bringing games, puzzles (like Sudoku or cross-words), music you love, podcasts or books on tape. Stock up on your favorite healthy snacks and be sure to bring plenty of water.
Pack It Up!
After you've shopped for any necessary road trip goodies, it's time to start packing. Think about what you will need during your first day on the road, and be sure to keep those items accessible (ex: toiletries, snacks, map/guidebook, car entertainment, phone charger, etc). Double-check your list once the car is packed to ensure nothing important gets left behind.
How Compression Socks Help
You've likely heard of wearing compression socks for a long flight (or may have even worn them for travel yourself) — but few people think of wearing compression socks for car travel.
Graduated compression socks help increase the circulation of blood from your lower extremities back to your heart. They are used for a variety of applications — from edema to preventing blood clots to alleviating the overall feeling of heaviness in the legs and feet.
Compression socks are ideal for road trips, because they help offset the effects of being confined in a small space with very little movement throughout the day. Long sedentary days in the car can put you at risk of the same ill effects as flying — swollen ankles & feet, achy legs, and blood clots. Wearing compression socks while driving will help promote healthy blood flow and keep you ready to hit the ground running when you reach your destination.
What to Look for in Compression Socks for a Long Drive
Of course, you could select any true graduated compression sock for your car trip — but there are a few things to consider when selecting socks for the road.
- Are they comfortable? Comfort is key for long drives! Make sure the socks are made of a material that you are familiar wearing (cotton is a great choice). Ideally, your socks will be breathable to prevent getting too warm or having smelly feet in the enclosed space.
- Do they fit correctly? Making sure your socks fit properly is important not only to ensure they are comfortable, but also to receive the full benefits of graduated compression. Check to make sure your heel is securely in the heel pocket, the top band sits comfortable beneath your knee, and the toes pockets don't have extra material bunching at the end of the sock.
- Do they have sufficient compression? To get the most out of your socks, you'll want to first make sure they are true graduated compression socks. One way to do this is to check the compression level, which should be measured in mmHg. If you are seeking relief from swelling or wearing compression socks to prevent any issues, 15-20 mmHg is a great place to start. If you've previously had issues with edema, DVT, clots, venous insufficiency, POTS or other conditions, 20-30 mmHg may be more beneficial.
- Are they fun to wear? If you are going to wear socks, you may as well wear socks that you actually like. VIM & VIGR compression socks provide a variety of options to suite every style, from bold and colorful to subtle and neutral.
Off You Go!
Once you've selected your socks & pulled them on your legs, you're really ready to hop in the car for your next adventure. Don't forget to document all the new sights and fun memories along the way!