Stuck in Long Weekend Traffic? 5 Ways to Make the Long Trip to the Cottage Bearable

We’ve all been there. You leave town at noon on Friday, hoping to beat the rush hour traffic on the way up north to your cottage — only to find that every other family had the exact same idea. Now, you and your family have to settle in for what could be a half dozen hours on the road before finally landing in your slice of paradise.

These tips will help make the journey feel a little less long.

1. Listen to Podcasts

I love audiobooks, but I tend to avoid them on long trips, since listening to the same voice for hours on end gets monotonous. Instead, I stick to podcasts, which are usually no more than an hour long. They’re something everyone in the car can enjoy, including the driver, since they’re no more distracting than the radio.

2. Rate the Real Estate You Pass

One thing I enjoy doing on long trips is rating the homes and cottages we pass by. This often takes a bit of a mean-spirited bent, where we pick apart the flaws of each passing shack and McMansion. This relieves some of the frustration you feel when your vehicle is going nowhere fast. It’s a fun way to forget where you’re at for a little while. If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no houses in sight, it’s always fun to flip through real estate or model home catalogues (like the ones from and rate those.

3. Take Up Geocaching

If you don’t mind extending the length of your commute a bit, a great way to break up the monotony of driving is to make a few roadside geocaching stops on the way up north. It lets you stretch your legs and gives you something to look forward to at various points in the journey.

4. Bring Good Truck Snacks

As a rule, my family never sets out for a journey longer than an hour in length without packing some truck snacks. “Truck snacks” are a catch-all term my family applies to any and all food or beverages we pack on a trip, whether or not we’re actually taking the pickup. What a difference it makes when you can reach into a cooler bag a pull out a handful of peanut butter-filled pretzels or chocolate covered almonds. Truck snacks instantly improve any trip, period.

5. Get Comfortable

Sitting in any one place for six hours at a time sucks, no matter how you slice it. The longer the trip, the harder it gets to distract yourself from the resulting aches and pains. So take steps to make yourself as comfy as possible — it’ll make the other measures you take to pass the time faster more effective. Consider packing a travel pillow, handheld fans, tissues (for blowing your nose or wiping sweat) and sunglasses (especially for the driver).