Holidays on the Road: Staying Connected as a Truck Driver
December 22, 2016 Comments Off on Holidays on the Road: Staying Connected as a Truck Driver
The holidays are busy enough as it is, but add in collaborating with the schedule of a truck driver and you face quite a task. The majority of employees in the United States spend 8 – 10 hours at their job each day, but truckers spend upwards of 14 hours a day on duty. This makes staying in touch and organizing schedules difficult, especially around the holidays.
Here are some great ways to help organize your schedule and stay in touch with friends and family during busy times.
1. Collaborate on a calendar app
- Google Calendar is a great way to stay up to date on everybody’s schedules. Even if you don’t have a Google account, friends and family can add to and view a calendar, depending on your settings.
- Apple Calendar is another useful calendar tool. Similar to Google Calendar you can share with friends and family. The app is optimized for Apple devices, though, so sharing with those who don’t use Apple products might be difficult.
- Don’t like Google or Apple? Try out some of these alternatives:
2. Use video and chatting technology
There are a multitude of options for video calls and chatting with just about anybody who has internet access. Here are some reliable options – but keep in mind most of these choices use cellular data or Wi-Fi, as well as a smartphone or tablet. Investing in a mobile hotspot or large data plan could help curb unexpected expenses.
- Skype – As their messaging says, “Free calls to friends and family.” You can pay for an upgrade, but the free version works just fine. This app works across all platforms and smart devices.
- Google Hangouts – Similar to Skype and mostly useful for those with a Google account. Many use this app for video chat, SMS chat and phone calls.
- Facebook – Since so many people have a Facebook account, it’s easy to see what those close to you have been up to. Facebook Messenger allows users to call, chat and video call users with the app. In addition, upload photos of where you’re traveling so friends and family know where you’ve been traveling.
- FaceTime – If you’re an Apple fan you may already know about this app, and it’s available for Android smartphones as well. People love using FaceTime as it can be an especially fun way to keep in touch with kids.
- Text Messaging – This is a quick, simple way to stay in touch. Don’t be afraid to check in throughout the day or catch up with friends and family about what’s gone on during your day.
- Phone Calls – Sometimes a good, old-fashioned phone call is all you need. Hearing the voice of a loved one almost instantly makes you feel closer to home, even when you’re far away.
3. Stay present when you’re present
We all know it can be hard to focus sometimes, but if your time with friends and family is few and far between…use those moments wisely. Interact and have conversations with loved ones; put down the phone and turn off the TV; or opt to play a game you can all have fun with, like Apples to Apples or Yahtzee. If you have trouble focusing in general, research meditation and mindfulness techniques you can put into practice – doing so will help you stay in the present moment.
4. Connect with others while you’re away from home
In the end, sometimes schedules just don’t match up. That doesn’t mean you have to have a solitary holiday (unless you want one!). Reach out to other truckers in your area or at a truck stop for conversation, a good meal or just a quick hello.
If you do find yourself alone during the holidays, remember there are positives to that side as well. Alone time is ideal for working on personal goals. Have some issues or ideas you want to work through? Take advantage of time by yourself to do some research or think it through. Is there a movie you want to watch that nobody in your family wants to see? If you have a few hours with nothing else to do, treat yourself to a movie or concert. Loving the scenery of your current location? Go on a hike or find a safe place to park with a great view.
No matter what happens, take advantage of how your situation works out during the holidays. Family time doesn’t have to be stressful, and alone time doesn’t have to be lonely. When in doubt, reach out to loved ones for a quick phone call or text message.
Be sure to comply with all laws and regulations regarding road safety, and do not use a hand-held mobile device while driving. For more information, view the regulation (49 C.F.R. § 392.82) here.