5 Tips to Keep Comfortable When Driving Route 66

Updated April 22, 2023

Route 66 covers an impressive 2448 miles of tarmac without even taking into account all the little detours let alone the larger side-trips. That's a heck of a lot of driving!

But don't let the distance daunt you. After all, this is a journey of a lifetime, one that deserves to be savored and enjoyed to the fullest. And to do that, you need to ensure that your drive is as comfortable as it can be, for both your physical and mental well-being.

So, allow me to share with you my top 5 tips to keep comfortable while cruising down Route 66. Because let's face it, a happy driver is a safe driver...

1. Stretch your legs

One piece of advice that all drivers, whether cruising down Route 66 or not, should heed is to take regular breaks. It's not just a matter of safety, but also the quintessential Route 66 experience. Experts suggest that drivers should not be behind the wheel for more than two hours straight without taking at least a 15-minute rest. However, chances are, you will be so awestruck by the roadside attractions and colorful scenery that you'll stop naturally before the two-hour mark.

Don't just stop for safety's sake though. Immerse yourself in the Route 66 culture by visiting quaint cafes, diners, and museums, admiring the unique roadside art, and capturing the memories through photographs. While taking a break, grab a coffee or soda, and support the local businesses by purchasing a fridge magnet or postcard from them. Strike up a conversation with the locals, learn about their stories, and get a sense of the Route 66 community. Without visitors like you, these businesses wouldn't thrive, so it's important to show them some love.

Why not start a collection on your trip? Consider getting a postcard or fridge magnet from each town or attraction you stop at. Upon your return, you can showcase your journey on the side of your fridge, using your impressive array of magnets to impress your friends and family. Trust me, it'll be a conversation starter for years to come.

2. Choose a soundtrack

Route 66 is the quintessential American road-trip. Is there anything quite like it? The wind in your hair, the open road stretching out before you, and of course, a killer playlist to set the mood. It's enough to make any adventurer's heart skip a beat.

Fortunately, along Route 66, there's no shortage of radio stations to provide the perfect soundtrack to your travels. If you're looking for that classic American road-trip vibe, you can't go wrong with the list below. These stations offer up a tantalizing mix of classic rock, country, and rockabilly that's sure to get your foot tapping and your head nodding.

  • WXRT (93.1FM) – Chicago, Illinois
  • KDHX (88.1FM) – St Louis, Missouri
  • KKNG (93.3FM) – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • KACV (89.9FM) – Amarillo, Texas
  • KTNN (96.1FM) – Navajo Nation (near Gallup), New Mexico
  • Route 66 Oldies (103.3FM) – Williams, Arizona
  • KCRW (89.9FM) – Santa Monica, California

But don't be afraid to explore the airwaves and discover some hidden gems of your own. After all, half the fun of a road-trip is stumbling upon unexpected treasures. And don't forget to take note of your favorite tracks along the way – you never know when they might come in handy for crafting the ultimate road-trip playlist once you're back home. So turn up the volume and hit the road – your adventure awaits!

3. Snacks and drinks

As you embark on your journey, do not underestimate the value of a well-stocked snack supply, for you will undoubtedly spend countless hours traversing the open road, and it is imperative to keep your energy levels up.

When you find yourself wandering through one of the quaint little towns that pepper this great land, I implore you to indulge in some nibbles to sate your cravings. Perhaps a bag of pretzels or some boiled sweets will strike your fancy. And if you're feeling virtuous, do not despair! Simply prepare a cool bag to ensure that your healthy snacks remain fresh and crisp.

Now, onto hydration - a key factor in maintaining both alertness and good spirits. A stash of bottled water is a wise choice. Before we hit the road, I make sure to top up a good number of refillable bottles. Staying hydrated is key to keeping those energy levels up and avoiding the dreaded mid-afternoon slump.

4. Take turns

If you happen to be embarking on your road trip with a partner it would be wise to consider taking turns behind the wheel. Not only does it prevent the driver from becoming fatigued, but the journey along Route 66 can be just as exhilarating for the passenger as it is for the driver. By alternating driving duties, the passenger can relish in the opportunity to take in the magnificent scenery, film some footage, snap photos, or perhaps even seize control of the radio.

If you're an international traveler, you may encounter a passenger who is apprehensive about driving. They may be anxious about driving on the opposite side of the road or have little experience with automatic transmissions. However, as you venture away from the bustling city areas and onto the quieter, more serene roads, your companion may become more open to giving it a shot. My wife set off with zero intentions of ever taking the wheel but once we reached the clear roads of Route 66, she eagerly embraced the chance to drive. She enjoyed it immensely and we shared driving duties for the rest of our trip, with me taking over in more urban areas.

5. Know your vehicle

As you embark on your journey in a rental car, fear not, for you will likely find a plethora of features to keep you comfortable on your voyage. One such feature is the indispensable air conditioning system, especially during the warmer months in the heartland of America. The summer sun can beat down relentlessly, and you'll want to be well-versed in the AC settings of your trusty automobile. Keep an eye out for dual AC controls, which enable both the driver and the passenger to set their own personalized temperature preferences.

Should you find yourself driving for extended periods on long, straight roads, you might be grateful for the presence of cruise control. This feature allows you to give your legs a much-needed break, all while maintaining a steady speed. If you're unfamiliar with cruise control, don't fret. Simply check the glove box, and with a bit of luck, you'll find the trusty manual waiting for you there. If not, it's worth asking about this handy feature when you pick up your car.

But it's not just the climate and cruise control that deserve your attention. Properly adjusting the seats and headrests can make all the difference in terms of safety and comfort. For example, positioning yourself so that you can rest the heels of your hands on the top of the steering wheel without leaning forward can enhance your reaction time. Sitting in a relaxed position will also help you avoid fatigue, and reduce the risk of neck, shoulder, or back pain. Take care to get your seat and headrests just right, and you'll be all set for a comfortable and safe journey.

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