Thanks! You're all signed up.

man driving sunrise road trip

7 Ways to Stay Awake on a Long Road Trip


When you hit the road, don’t rely on rumble strips to keep you awake and on target. Use these tips for staying wide-eyed on a long drive.


Whether you brew your coffee at home or buy it on the road, drink it black if you can tolerate it. The coffee’s bitterness will provide a quick jolt before the caffeine even enters your bloodstream. As a backup, keep something like a 5-Hour Energy drink or NoDoz pills in the glove compartment.

Healthy Eats

Keep a few snacks within reach, but make sure they’re healthy. Treats with less sugar tend to distribute energy at a more constant, even pace— rather than a jolt followed by a food coma.

Bring a Buddy

A road companion is probably the best thing you can bring with you on a trip. Have your friend DJ or read to you throughout the ride, but mostly have your pal keep you honest when the sheep want to start jumping overhead.

Be Cool

Warm, cozy temperatures are synonymous with the arrival of the sandman, so keep the vehicle just a few notches below your ideal temperature—though not enough to make it too uncomfortable, of course.

Facercise (Facial Exercise)

The hype around facercise is about reducing wrinkles and toning lax facial muscles, but it’s also great for waking up. Here are some techniques to get you started: hyperextend your lower jaw, then wiggle it side-to-side; suck in your cheeks; open your mouth very wide, then tightly purse your lips; hyper-open your eyes, then raise your eyebrows; and then repeat the above or create some facercises of your own.

Lane-Departure Warning Systems

For those with extreme road doze, consider investing in a car with a lane-departure warning system, which will notify you when the vehicle drifts out of its lane without a turn-signal indication.

Take A Break

Even if you’re running late and still have a long stretch of driving ahead of you, make time for a break. When the scenery starts to lull you into a stupor, pull over—at a rest stop, preferably. It’s always better to arrive late than never at all.

More From Smartertravel:

Don't Miss a Trip, Tip, or Deal!

Let us do the legwork! Sign up for our free newsletter now.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Top Fares From