Road-trip survival kit

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Road trips can provide exciting adventures, new friends and the raw material for lifelong memories.
Lengthy stints in a car, however, can also be soul-crushing exercises in bad humour and sore bottoms. To help ensure your next road trip is memorable for all the right reasons, we tapped question and answer community Quora to find some of the best road-trip hacks for journeys of any duration.
Don't stick to the plan
Sure, you can make good time by sticking to highways, but if time allows for a slower, more thoughtful pace, then take advantage.
"Don't be afraid to extend a route or go beyond your bounds a bit to visit a sight you've always wanted to see or read about,” says Quora user Ken Miyamoto. “Or maybe even take that exit that looks interesting. "Don't get lost but don't be afraid to explore off your route."
Nick Nguyen and his wife did just that on a recent trip. Having taken delivery of a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray straight from factory in which it was built, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the couple drove back to their home in California, and said the key to their trip was not overthinking the strategy.
"If you're traveling through an interesting town, consider stopping. For instance, we stopped at the National Museum of the USAF [United States Air Force] and spent 30 minutes breezing through it," Nguyen writes. They allotted one week for the cross-country trek, but wished they had taken three.
Stay engaged
Given the lolling, relaxed pace of many road trips, staying awake and alert can be difficult. Anthony Drewitz proposes a remedy to drowsiness before it takes hold. "Morning coffee? Skip it if you can. Coke with lunch? Nope. Getting dark and feeling just the inkling of sleepiness? Hit the caffeine hard."
He argues that the longer you put off caffeine, the greater the impact it'll have when you really need it. "One of my road trip favorites is dark chocolate covered espresso beans. It's easy to eat a bunch of them, and pretty hard to sleep afterward," he writes.
For others, a good audio book is all they need to keep pushing through. "Boris Akunin's Diamond Chariot kept me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a 20-hour drive last week, and I stayed in the car for another 15 minutes just so I could hear the ending," Quora user Benjamin Okopnik says.  
Communication is key
When travelling with others, a few Quora users recommend settling any potential arguments before even hitting the road. Britt Smith once had to pull over during a trip to work out her differences with a fellow traveller.
"If you are going with family members [or] significant others, PLEASE work through your issues beforehand. Please. Do NOT go on that trip with unresolved emotional issues. You are trapped in an enclosed space for hours on end."
Keeping communication lines open was a refrain among Quora respondents. Some, however, took a more literal approach. David Kendall suggests investing in a set of inexpensive walkie talkies or CB radios if travelling in a convoy with several vehicles. "It makes coordination of the convoy so much easier. Walkie talkies will work where cell phones don't, and are much faster to quickly check in with the other vehicles," he writes.
Making the most of wherever you go
Quora user Jack Johnson says he is never too careful when he's on a long road trip. He recommends getting up close: buy beers for strangers or get a haircut and straight-razor shave at the local barbershop – anything to heighten what is often a fleeting connection to places and people. Johnson says it is these small things that are the most memorable, and when done right, may comprise the ultimate adventure.
"You can decide in the middle of your trip to head into a totally different direction, and don't be afraid to do just that if the feeling's right,” he says. “A full tank of gas will last you for hundreds of miles and it's entirely up to you in which direction."

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