The End of the Dull Business Trip

If you’re like me, you have to drive hundreds of miles each day as part of your business. Whether you’re meeting with clients, checking in with your branch offices, or helping out where the boss needs you, more and more Americans are driving long distances as part of their job. For me, it was traveling to courthouses all over the southeast for hearings and meetings. Seldom had a month gone by where I didn’t log 5,000 miles for my clients. But endless hours on the road don’t have to be dull hours. Here are some tips for making your long haul trips feel more like a mini-vacation.

See the sights

One has to be careful when diverting from a business trip to take a personal detour. The technical term is “frolic” (no, I’m not kidding). If you’re going from New York to Chicago, but take a 200 mile detour to Pittsburgh to catch a Steelers game, that’s a frolic. And if anything happens on that frolic you’re personally responsible, not the business. Your company won’t pay any fines or damages, and you’ll find yourself in traffic school at your own expenses.

So I recommend parking the car at your destination and taking a look around. Look online for historic sites or museums. If you’re by a beach, dip your toes in the sand. If an interesting spot is along your route, you can stop and stretch your legs while getting a good look at that giant ball of yarn, or house made entirely out of corn. Stay on route and enjoy the sights.

Don’t just grab lunch, enjoy lunch

Every area has its own famous, local cuisine. When you’re traveling, you have to eat, so there’s no issue of a frolic. Go find that famous BBQ joint or organic bistro that’s all the rage on social media. Fast food will just make you tired and bored. Go find some food that you love and build it into the trip.

Don’t forget the music

Do people still have CDs? I’ve got quite the collection. Bring along a bunch of your favorite CDs. Load them in and sing your way to your next meeting (unless you’re BeyoncĂ©, please keep the window closed). Getting a car with a CD changer so you don’t have to fumble around while you’re driving is best. I recommend taking a variety of genres and artists. I love Billy Joel, but after 3 CDs worth of his music, I might drive into a tree.

The same goes for your iPhone/MP3 player that you can plug into your car’s aux port. Put a bunch of songs (long enough to cover most of your trip) into a playlist and hit “random.” The variety will keep you awake and not thinking about the mileage to come.

There’s always the radio. My father likes to listen to local radio on his long drives, getting the flavors of each town that we pass through. Another option is satellite radio. A couple of hundred stations of every genre of music and talk. It’s a financial investment, but you’ll never get bored and never lose signal (except in a tunnel).

Does it have to be music?

No! One of the best tricks for staying awake on a long drive that I learned from my CA traffic school was to listen to talk radio and… get this… call in! Of course, use a hands-free device and make sure it’s legal in your state to be on the phone. But calling in to a radio show will get you excited and awake. You will also completely forget about the distance and time you’re traveling because your mind will be on the discussion.

This works well for the news also, if you’re a news junkie like me. On a 1,000 mile drive I had up the east coast, I listened for 15 hours to live coverage of the selection of the new Pope. I didn’t even notice how long the trip took because I was so engaged with the news.

Whatever pleasure you find in driving, stay safe and follow the advice you learn in traffic school. See you on the road!

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