I have some valuable tips on how you can get the sleep you need while on the road. Believe me, the last thing you want to do is to be driving a large rig down the highway fighting to stay awake behind the wheel!
Before Leaving Home
All successful trips begin before you ever leave home. I sit down and do what I like to call a “proposed itinerary.” Trust me when I say this, my day to day trips change at the drop of a hat sometimes while traveling. Spontaneity is one of the splendid things I do if I see something that I have to make a stop at.
Things to Get
So, let’s look at things I do (or have done) to plan my RV trips. These are things you can do to plan your trip and to make sure you sleep like a baby while traveling.
- If your RV has a cheap mattress, get that sucker replaced with something better. You won’t be able to sleep, and if you do, you’ll wake up sore and down in the back. I ended up canceling my third trip because of a back issue from the thin foam mattress my RV came with.
- I make a list of every conceivable item I need to pack in the RV to be comfortable. This crucial step in planning comes from my learning the hard way with my first few trips. Try and picture in your mind what you have in your bedroom that helps you sleep at night.
Duplicate those things in your RV.
- Invest in good bed linens for your RV bed. Remember to have warm and heavy linens in cold weather and lightweight in the warmer months.
- I am a hot-natured person, and a fan is something I rely on heavily in my RV bedroom. If you’re like me, don’t forget to get one. Fans also provide white noise to help you sleep.
The Toll Long-Distance Driving Has on Travelers
I do great when driving for about an hour or two. Still, anything after that, I find I begin to feel physically uncomfortable. I did some research before a cross-country drive about truckers and the mandated rest time they have to follow.
I learned a lot and basically adopted resting guidelines truckers follow while implementing a few of my own.
- While driving, I need to maintain good posture to avoid a painful neck or back. A lumbar pillow is a must if your seat lacks one.
- When I begin to feel any neck pain, I place a mini tennis ball in the center of my upper back (C4-C7 cervical area.)
- For every continuous 2-3 hours of driving, I pull over and get out of the car. Getting out and walking around refreshes you physically and mentally. I always take my little dog, so we use this time to get her out and have a good walk.
Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself a potty break during this stop!
- Everyone has their own preference of driving time in one day. Some drive a few hours, and that’s it, while others drive about 6-10 hours before calling it a day. Do what’s physically comfortable for you.
- VERY IMPORTANT! Never get on the road for long drives if you are having severe back or neck pain. By the end of the day, you’ll be extremely miserable and worse. This leads to a sleepless night and an even more painful tomorrow.
Stay an extra day or two in a campground to allow yourself to recover.
- Don’t drive so much that by the time you reach the campground, you collapse in bed. This defeats the whole “fun RVing” principle. Each daily drive should be comfortable and paced where you enjoy yourself.
The Daily On-the-Road Travel Plan
A lot of people have the impression that RVers carelessly frolics daily while traveling. Yes, that is partly true. However, I like to have a general plan that I try to follow. Allowances for changes are always a part of my daily travels.
- I get up early and pull up my navigation app to map out my day ahead. I try to get a good start towards my next destination no later than 8-9am. Leaving late in the day only invites fatigue and misery.
- I map out my rest stops based on rest areas with full facilities.
- For a midday stop, I use one of these rest areas to take a 20-minute nap and have lunch.
- I plan to drive about 6 hours (roughly 350-500 miles) each day with the goal of arriving at my campground by 3-4pm. I like to get my camp set up to be able to relax and enjoy dinner and a hike if possible.
- I am a BIG java lover, so when I am on the road, I do enjoy coffee. However, as 3pm approaches, I begin to taper off caffeine consumption so I can get a good night’s rest.
No Chaos at the Campground
Before I leave home for my trips, I strategically map out my campgrounds and then make necessary reservations at each one. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing your homework on campgrounds. The last thing you want is a campground in the wrong location.
Always check a campground’s ratings and reviews. You want to have a positive experience staying there rather than a chaotic nightmare!
- Remember that campgrounds near busy highways, railroads, and airports make for a tough night’s sleep.
- When reserving your site, mention that you prefer a more secluded spot. Not all campground reservation portals have an area for requests, but if they do, be sure to say something.
- When checking in, be extremely selective in your site. Opt for a site that’s away from playgrounds, pools, bathrooms, dumpsters, and main roads.
Plan for a Peaceful Evening
- Once you arrive at your campground site, set up camp. Merely pulling in and being done can lead to an unrestful night. Why pay to camp if you don’t enjoy it to its fullest?
- Level and stabilize the RV to prevent the RV from moving. Movement in the RV during the night when going to the bathroom or turning over in bed keeps others awake. Get your slide outs situated. Hook up to water, electricity, and sewage.
- Go for a good walk or hike. I always work up an appetite doing this, plus it helps my body feel refreshed by getting kinks, and tight muscles worked out.
- I have an evening ritual that I like to follow that ensures I relax and unwind. Camping is the highlight of RVing. We avoid TV, the internet, or our phones. Disconnecting with technology is a requirement for our RV trips.
- I set up a few chairs around the firepit where my family and I spend the evening together.
- Once the fire’s going, we’ll bring out something to cook over the fire for dinner.
- After our bellies are full, we kick back and listen to music, talk, or for starry night skies, we set up our telescope.
- I hit the hay at a decent hour.
There you have my 20 tips on ways to have an enjoyable trip while getting a great night’s sleep while traveling! Remember that sleep for you is like gas for your RV. Without it, you won’t run well the next, if at all!