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How to Travel Like a Trucker

Guest blogger Hank Barton is a second generation trucker-philosopher with a penchant for the written word. He enjoys blogging about long haul trucking, safe driving practices and life on the open road. He writes for E-Gears, an online authority that specializes in a variety of study guides.

Though not often glamorized these days, the trucker lifestyle provides a unique experience of a country that travel-lovers can appreciate. Not everywhere we may go is as scenic as we might like, but truckers learn to love what is out there on the open road. Few others have such an opportunity to get so in touch with the arteries that connect our world. In fact, there probably wouldn't be many truckers out there if the roads didn't offer something beautiful and interesting to experience. Fortunately, anyone can apply some of the travel wisdom that comes with years on the road.

Safety First

If you don't have your health, you don't have anything. It may seem needless to say for some, but you should never be in a vehicle that isn't safe or isn't being operated in a safe manner. This is especially true on a long trip. Before you hit the road, make sure your car has had the proper maintenance: good brakes, tires, etc. Then, while you're out there, it's not a race. Things like cutting people off (especially big rigs) and avoiding sleep to cover ground just aren't worth the risk.

Plan Around the Road

It's not all about the destination if you are going to spend a good amount of time getting there. The US and countries around the world have plenty of incredible landscapes to take in or intriguing sites to tour from the main roads or nearby them. Variety is the spice of life and there is plenty of that to be found on the road for those who seek it. Take the scenic routes and stop to smell all the roses (visit the attractions).

Interstates are a good place to start looking for points of interest for two reasons. One, you may already be very familiar with what your area has to offer and need to branch out to another state. Two, points of interest cling to what is designed for high traffic. Then, start looking at the various routes available through scenic or eventful areas. In the US, 66, 1, and 101 among others are fairly well noted for interesting travel.

Don't Sacrifice Your Usual Lifestyle

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, dressing comfortably on-the-go can easily make the experience much more enjoyable. You aren't going to find many truckers in business suits. If you can, dress like you would at home and wear what feels good (within reason in terms of decency, of course).

You don't have to sacrifice your diet when you travel. It is a struggle for truckers to eat healthy due to all the fast food joints and greasy diners that populate our path. However, staying healthy is becoming mandatory for truckers. We adapt by bringing portable food storage and items like coolers or mini-fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, etc. While most of these are not practical for many modes of travel, coolers come in many sizes and are a good idea for any travel. Grocery stores offer the healthy options that restaurants generally don't and they are not too difficult to find off the main roads, especially in our GPS guided society.

Bring Home With You

Anyone can experience some degree of homesickness in their travels. A big advantage of technology in our age is that it has made it incredibly easy to stay in touch with the people we care about and generally doesn't take up much space. Beyond that, bring whatever you like from home as long as it won't be more trouble to cart around than it's worth. Having little comfort items with you (like your own pillow) can make a big difference.

Along with this idea, take pride in your ride and have it represent your character on the exterior and interior if you can. Little you-isms here and there can help you carry a presence and have some fun in your travels as well as feel at home wherever you are.

Stay Active and Engaged

Taking in the scenery when it catches your eye is great, but that isn't all there is to the road. If you try to derive all your enjoyment from one aspect of your travel, you will surely be disappointed. If you don't stay as active and engaged with your surroundings as possible, whether that means stopping and visiting attractions or interacting with people, you probably aren't going to be having much fun. Worse, you may get sleepy which is something those operating a vehicle must be sure to avoid. The less people you have with you on your travels, the more difficult this can be, but you can't always control your company or lack thereof.

Music and audio books make great companions for solo and group travelers alike. Singing along is generally also more socially acceptable on road trips and it keeps you engaged. In a group, there are also a number of word games that can be played that won't distract the driver too much.

Though more truckers use cell phones these days, you can still find some that use a CB radio. Even if you aren't interested in those, some truckers use apps that let you connect to nearby cell phones in a similar fashion. Those who have ever thought much or romanticized about the trucker life might find some enjoyment in learning the lingo and getting to know some of us wandering souls out there on the road.

Want to be a guest blogger for SmarterTravel? Read up on our Guest Blogger Policy, and then send your story pitch to guestblogsubmissions@smartertravelmedia.com with the subject line "Guest blog submission." If we like your idea, we'll ask you to write the post!

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