Stuck Somewhere On The A39 To Glastonbury? Here’s How To Survive That Loooong Car Journey

Road trips aren't actually that fun


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

If you’re heading to Glasto and don’t have the good fortune to live next door to/be on the field already, it’s likely you’ll be suffering a long, long car journey. The first half hour will pass by in a burst of roadtrip joie de vivre, followed by what feels like 600 years of mind-numbing boredom and being unable to rest your head against the window because it’s vibrating so hard you can feel your own brain.

I once got driven home from a festival in the back of a van - as in, with the props and rigging, for three hours and didn’t die. Plus I was driven to Edinburgh and it took ten hours because we got lost, so feel I’m in a strong position to impart some car-based wisdom.

Bring snacks

Crisps! Sandwiches! Not dip unless it’s viscous i.e. houmous! Everyone loves the guy who cracks out the good stuff a few hours in, but make sure you’ve got cans of booze to wash it down with (and some squash for the driver) although on second thoughts we don’t condone that because having opened containers of alcohol in a car is illegal. Don’t choose something like cans of G&T or Cosmo. Not the ones with double measures. All joking aside, if the driver asks for alcohol, then get out of the car and walk there.

Don’t tell the driver they need to hurry up

I was once coming back from Cardiff and my friend was driving. We were chatting and parked by the side of the road eating sandwiches and definitely not leaving Cardiff, despite the fact I had to catch a train in a few hours, so I said ‘God I’m so sorry to be a bitch but d’ya reckon we could leave soon?’ and the tension on the way back was so palpable I nearly suffocated. The driver is driving you. You, lounging in the back eating Maltesers. Let them do their own thing and have a break for as long as they want, OK?

Let everyone pick a song

I hate people who make playlists for shared car journeys because, while it seems like a nice thing to do, it really isn’t. Firstly, thanks so much for making everyone else listen to the songs only you like and are able to sing along to. Secondly, nobody can suggest another song, or the radio, because you’ve gone to all this trouble that we didn’t need or asked for, and you’ll be offended if we want to turn it off. Solution? Everyone in the car gets a song, on rotation. That way you’ve got enough time to consider your choice rather than panic-play Alt-J Breezeblocks because you can’t think of anything edgier.

Don’t take your shoes off unless it’s safe

Bollocks to Deep Vein Thrombosis, you’re either someone who can take their shoes off, or someone who really can’t. Know thyself and never remove thy shoes if it’s going to gas the fuck out of thy friends.

Don’t get a McDonalds from the service station

It’s been three hours and those golden arches are dribbling at you from the side of the motorway but you know what’ll happen after you all get Big Macs? Pain. Digestive and psychological, but it’s mainly the digestive pain that’ll impact the car journey. There are no toilets when you need them and five people all furiously passing wind after a huge intake of salt, sugar and saturated fat does not a fun ten hours make. Get a sandwich from M&S or something.

Asking for a half-time stretch is acceptable

Even if you’re car-sharing and have never met the driver, it’s totally OK to pre-arrange a stopping point if the journey is going to be a loads of hours and you’re the sort of person who, after three, starts visualising clots forming in your lower legs. Pre-arrange being the operative word. Yelling 'I CAN SEE CLOTS STOP THE CAR' almost certainly won’t go down well - plus it’s easily be misheard as 'I CAN SEE CULOTTES STOP THE CAR' and culottes aren’t even in season right now.

Car games are also acceptable - apart from I Spy

Why? It was sort of boring even when you were young and your stupid brother could trick you with 'air' and 'oxygen' and, during one particularly spiritual round, 'God'. Better, more intellectually stimulating and un-boring games from your childhood include 20 questions, who knows the most lyrics to (insert well-known song i.e. Ignition (Remix), Beyonce Single Ladies, Eminem Lose Yourself) via a sing-off, and that one where you have to name a celebrity whose first name begins with the same letter as the last name of the previous celebrity. Look I don’t know what it’s called. You can also play Rude Picnic, an adult version of, 'I went to the picnic and brought…' where everyone has to add an item to the list after first repeating the whole list of everyone else’s items. But they’re all rude. Five hours in, this won’t seem lame.

If you need the loo, don’t wait until you’re desperate to bring it up

Similar to the half-time break, you don’t want to alert your driver only to find you just drove past the perfect wee-spot because they weren’t alerted to the needs of your bladder. Also, telling someone you absolutely have to stop with a weird urgency and strained timbre is way more annoying than calmly stating that, right now, you need to pee and, in around forty-five minutes, the car will be approaching Red Zone status. Then everyone has a chance to prep, plus you can get people to be on the lookout for pubs, Welcome Breaks and large trees with very wide trunks.

Don’t moan

This is a hard one, because if you’re knackered and can’t feel your arse then a small 'God I can’t wait to get there' can easily slip out. Thing is, it’s not going to do anything other than lower the car morale. It won’t make the driver go faster, the traffic clear or the destination move closer so try mouthing it to yourself then force something positive out like 'Does anyone want a crisp' or 'What are we going to do when we get there?' to foster good vibes and positive visualisations. It’s all about the car zen.

Don’t openly discuss the car zen, or ever use the words 'car zen' while in the car

People will think you’re weird.

Follow Stevie on Twitter @5tevieM

Picture: Eugenia Loli

Liked this? You might also enjoy:

**Some Stuff You Can Spend £400 On Because You Didn't Go To Glastonbury **

How To Keep Curly Hair In Check When You're Living In A Tent

The Inevitable Highs And Lows Of Any Festival Experience

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us