How to organize sleep and rest on a car trip
Choosing sleeping accommodation
Before going on a long trip, decide where you are going to stop and sleep. If your travel route is quite intense, you can choose a motel and stay in a quite cheap room under decent conditions. Then you do not need to worry about the quick meal since you can easily find cafes in the vicinity of your motel. Moreover, today even hostels provide their guests with breakfast. However, if you have to save money or your travel route includes desolated places, you have to sleep in a car. The latter has two options — either to sleep right in the cabin or set up a tent nearby. It is quite obvious that you should set up a tent in a safe place where neither people nor animals disturb you. Moreover, we recommend you to sleep in tents only when the weather is warm and you have a lot of travel companions, therefore your car can’t seat up so many passengers.
Why is it so important to sleep well on the road?
A driver who spends plenty of time behind the wheel should get some rest from time to time. His productivity, attention, and concentration depend directly on sleep quality. Thus, he should sleep not less than 7-8 hours a night. Passengers can get some sleep anytime they want during the trip. That is why they should somehow organize sleep and rest for the driver (unless they are kids or the elderly).
When the road is tough and requires extra efforts and maximum concentration (e.g. a mountain spiral road), a driver can rest as much as he needs and even 1-1.5 hours during the day.
Anyway, you should organize sleep and rest according to specific rules. Now let’s have a look at them.
Organizing sleep and rest in a car
To relax completely, stay alone if possible. You can sleep only in places where overnight parking is not prohibited, on forest floors, etc. No one should disturb you. Lock the doors, curtain windows with special shields or anything you have at hand (towels, shirts) and leave a small hole to avoid excessive humidity. However, in summer we recommend you to cover this hole with gauze or mosquito net. Otherwise, a swarm of insects will turn your sleep into a nightmare. Do not forget to apply the parking brake.
We recommend you either to tilt the seats of your car or sleep in the back seat (if there is only a driver in the cabin). First put a travel rug on your seat and after it blankets and pillows. In winter you may also need a sleeping bag.
If you decide to sleep in the daytime, you need special glasses to protect your eyes from bright sun. You may also take something you never sleep without (e.g. a book or a toy).
We recommend you to draw a rope inside the cabin and hang some small stuff on it or dry small pieces of clothes.
Wake up from time to time (in the cold season when the engine is running) to air the cabin and check oil pressure condition, coolant, and the engine temperature. Do not park your car in a place where car exhaust will accumulate (against the wall or in lowlands). Thus, park your car in the open and well-ventilated area.
Make sure you have taken blankets, travel rugs, pillows, and sleeping bags for each traveller. Some sleeping bags have inserts. If you are going to sleep in tents, you should take ground pads for every sleeping bag. Otherwise, you risk freezing over.
When you are going to fall asleep, nothing (music, car engine, etc.) should disturb you. Pay special attention to the way you organize sleep for the kids and the elderly. If a child often wakes up, we recommend the parents to decide who of them should come up to him. Each parent should have his own torch to use at night.
You may also need repellents. However, use them with caution in case your passengers are kids or people suffering from allergy.
Travel neck pillows will do only if you want to have a nap in the daytime. To sleep at night you need ordinary pillows (like those made of bamboo). They don’t weigh a thing and are small.
When you are going on a winter or mountain trip where the weather is usually cold, it’s worth taking layered clothing.
If you have a special car tent, set it up on the top of your car and stop worrying about where to sleep. However, these tents are quite expensive. Moreover, they increase fuel consumption due to the reduction of windage.
We wish you only sweet dreams on your car trip. Travelling by car always brings joy. However, do not forget to take your International Driving Permit.