The Long-Drive Survival Guide

The Long-Drive Survival Guide

In partnership with our friends at SkinnyDipped

Whether it’s your daily commute, an adventurous road trip, or a holiday haul to the in-laws’, sometimes we all have to sit in the car longer than we’d like to. But with a little prep work, your car can become a genuinely pleasant place to spend time—and potentially a lot of it. Our current short list of must-haves includes delightfully not too sweet chocolaty nuts, refreshingly low-tech car games for the kids, and a podcast that will turn you into a lifelong Dolly Parton fan. You just might want to take that scenic route, after all.


The challenge of every long drive is usually the snack situation, so let’s talk more about that: Gas station food options are less than desirable, and when we get bored on the road, we want to reach for something that satisfies our hunger and our sweet tooth. This is what makes SkinnyDipped almonds the ideal on-the-go snack: They’re dipped in dark chocolate and flavors like peanut butter and mint (but our favorite is actually their classic cocoa). They taste like candy, but they’re not overly sweet. Our food editor appreciates how the almonds are lightly salted. And they have a lot less sugar than, say, a Snickers bar, so we feel pretty good having them ride shotgun with us.

SkinnyDipped Almonds Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, SkinnyDipped, $50 for case of ten


You’ll be thoroughly enthralled by Dolly and the incredible variety of people and subjects her music speaks to. You’ll want to listen to her greatest hits the minute each episode ends. And during episode six, you’ll need to pause a few times to play “Jolene.” There are the moments you’re hoping for, like Dolly casually singing the first few lines to almost every song host Jad Abumrad mentions. But the best moments are arguably when the show takes an unexpected turn and looks at Dolly’s legacy through a macro lens: the Haitian origins of the banjo, the working women’s movement of the 1980s, and the fact that 35 percent of the American LGBTQ community resides in the Southeast (and a lot of them love Dolly). This podcast is touching, funny, smart, and surprising, just like woman herself.

Dolly Parton’s america podcast, Apple Podcasts, free


More often than not, the entertainment solution for kids on a long drive revolves around some sort of screen. And hey, we’ve been there, and we’ll be there again. But it’s nice to have a few options that are a bit more low-tech. We love Mudpuppy for this. It makes environmentally conscious travel-friendly games, projects, and toys for kids over the age of one. The magnetic puzzles are particularly brilliant for passing time in the back seat.

mudpuppy RAINBOWS & LADDERS TRAVEL GAME, Mudpuppy, $11


With the aid of this portable diffuser, you can transform your car from a stale bread box into a moving oasis. A few drops of lavender has a soothing effect, while eucalyptus is more stimulating. Either way, this diffuser puffs out subtle waves of aromatherapy from your air vents—a cleverer alternative than a pine tree air reshener.

Edens Garden AROMARIDE CAR DIFFUSER, goop, $25


A reusable and self-cleaning water bottle is a no-brainer. The digital UV-C LED light purifies the water every two hours or with the click of a button. One charge lasts a month or two, so it makes a great longtime travel companion. And as we could never forget: Hydration is key.



A good cooler can make a road trip so much better. It’s an obvious choice if you’re bringing supplies to an Airbnb for a long weekend, and you’ll be even more grateful for it when you get hungry while you’re driving through the middle of nowhere. We like to stock this cute mini YETI cooler with ice packs, grapes, carrots, hummus, and bottles of kombucha and iced coffee.

Yeti Roadie 20, Yeti, $200