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Smart Tips for Staying Hydrated on Your Next Road Trip

Nearly 80% of adults say they will take some sort of road trip this summer, according to one summer travel survey by the Vacationer. With planning out the perfect route and stops along the way, coordinating things with friends and family, and packing for the trip, however, avoiding dehydration can seem like an afterthought. From the various ways you can plan ahead to how much water you actually need to be drinking, here are just a couple smart ways to prepare.

The importance of drinking enough

While drinking enough water on your trip can seem like an obvious thing to do, many may not realize that drinking more when out in the summer weather can be necessary in staying properly hydrated. Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, and functional medicine expert notes “Since you are sweating more in the summer, you are also losing more fluids quicker, thus increasing your need for additional water intake.” For those taking a road trip, this can be especially important when stopping to complete activities like sightseeing or hiking along the way — however, it’s important to realize that the specific amount of water you’ll need to stay hydrated depends on a variety of factors. Cole further notes, “It’s important to keep your intake of water at a steady level regardless of the weather. In general, your water intake should be around 64 ounces daily, but depending on your activity levels, weight, height, and sex, it could be a little more,” he says.

Preparation for optimal hydration

For those who are traveling by car, ensuring that you pack enough water is imperative when seeking to stay properly hydrated. While bringing along a reusable water bottle offers a great and eco-friendly solution that you can refill at pit stops along the way, ensuring that you have extra water (including an emergency supply) is equally essential. As an added benefit for shorter road trips, packing foods in a cooler that are high in water content — such as cantaloupe, peaches, cucumbers, and oranges can all contribute to hydration (not to mention the fact that they make for a nutritious and healthy snack, too). 

 For those hitting the road in an RV, packing loads of drinking water may not be necessary, especially if you’re headed somewhere close to a campground that provides hookups to drinkable water. However, investing in accessories like a water softener are certainly worth considering before your trip, especially since water can sometimes contain elevated levels of mineral ions (such as magnesium and calcium). These mineral ions can make the water hard, and in addition to having a negative effect on the plumbing system, can contribute to dry skin and hair. Water softeners will help mitigate these effects, and some even come with features that include high flow rates and the ability to regenerate in just 30 minutes with two boxes of common salt, making shopping around before embarking on your trip a great idea.

Recognizing the signs of dehydration

When on an exciting road trip, noticing the signs of dehydration can seem unimportant, though are necessary in staying in good health along the way. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that dehydration occurs when you’re not replacing lost fluids. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of dehydration can differ between children and adults, and most people (particularly older adults) won’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. With common symptoms of dehydration in adults including less frequent urination, dark colored urine, dizziness, fatigue, and confusion, ensuring you’re consistently intaking fluids is essential when on the road.

Planning a summer road trip is an exciting endeavor, though it’s important to not lose sight of your health along the way — particularly when it comes to staying properly hydrated. By planning ahead in terms of bringing enough water, taking periodic pit stops, and recognizing the signs of dehydration, you can efficiently ensure that you’ll stay hydrated throughout the entirety of the trip.


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