Collectively, as a country, we need to do better. The statistics are staggering, and it's having an adverse effect on our jobs, relationships and health. But that's also why a vacation could do us some good.
According to a recent study, a staggering 768 million U.S. vacation days went unused in 2018, and with domestic travel down drastically this year due to the pandemic we're even less likely to set up our out-of-office. But just because we're not flying doesn't mean we're not moving: Memorial Day weekend saw a 48.5% increase in road travel compared to the previous weekend and driving trips of 250 miles or more also spiked to near pre-outbreak levels, according to data intelligence company Arrivalist. It may not be a great time to fly, but it's the perfect time to drive. But only if you're willing to do it responsibly. This isn't about meeting up with friends. It's about escaping your current environment while maintaining smart social-distancing measures.
With the 4th of July coming up we're all going to flee the city (if we haven't already yet) toward remote stretches of coast, to family or parks—basically any excuse to re-introduce ourselves to the sun and take a step back from an extremely stressful Q2. And, like our parents during their childhood, tossing suitcases into the trunk of a car and hitting the road Griswold-style is your best bet.
Just because we won't be jetting to our destination, drink in hand at 30,000 feet, doesn't mean there aren't a number of improvements to make the excursion less excruciating. Pre-made playlists are a must, and podcasts can spark a temporary jolt of motivation, but aural distractions might not cut it on hour five or six. Solo, or with company, a select few last-minute additions will make any trip seem shorter and lanes appear wider. Not to mention, there are some safety precautions to take before heading out. We've merged together some of our favorites for the road ahead.