Guide to South Alabama: Top 5 Travel Tips

New to the South Alabama area? Encompassing both sides of the Mobile Bay and the counties of Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile, South Alabama’s Gulf Shores are a growing area. More and more people are moving out of the rural parts of counties and townships, and moving into gradually developing urban areas.

With the area’s low cost of living, variety of entertainment options, and increasing retail services, it’s easy to understand why people are attracted to South Alabama. But with all these new developments from a population influx to general economic growth comes traffic congestion. Though there have been investments in public transportation, infrastructure systems, and commuter routes, a State of Workforce report found that commute times and distances have been slowly increasing since 2004. Longer commutes tend to put stress on your car, as well as yourself. Here are some tips for coping with traveling in South Alabama.

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Make the most using music and podcasts

Obviously, the most important part of commuting is getting to your destination safely. To add some color and entertainment to your commute, make sure of your audio system. In the past, the go-to choice for many was the radio, but these days, music streaming services via smartphones have begun to overtake satellite and local radio in use and popularity. With these services, there’s usually a variety of pre-made playlists and new music options you can select, in case you get bored of your usual comforts.

Interested in entertainment that’s more informative? Before hitting the road, line up a few podcasts that’ll last the duration of your commute. From news and politics to dramas and educational lectures, there’s a wide and ever-growing collection of topics and niches for every sort of person. You could also try audiobooks in case you’re worried a long commute might hinder your reading habit or prevent you from engaging in your book club meets. Current car audio system suffering from too much static and not enough clarity? Look into buying a new one.

Or don’t

Alternatively, you could not listen to anything. So much of our time is already occupied with sounds and voices, or the pressure to be doing something, whether that’s working, engaging with social media, or learning. Instead of giving in to that pressure, you could turn off all your non-emergency alerts and just drive. No radio, o navigation, no podcasts, no dinging messages, no pressure. Just put your bag in your trunk and head home. Driving completely free of distractions doesn’t just make you a safer driver, but it completely changes your commute. You’ll notice new colors on trees, start recognizing others who make the same commute as you, and just better be able to reflect on your day.

Carpool with coworkers

What better way to travel than travel with others? If you have co-workers along your route, ask if they’d be interested in carpooling. Not only does it save transportation costs and cut down on pollution, but you’ll be able to better get to know your work colleagues. Suggest rotating the role of driver, splitting up the costs of gas, and who gets audio control. You don’t even have to carpool with coworkers; you can use Carpool World to find others who have similar commutes.

Stuff your car with snacks

Don’t drive hungry. While commuting isn’t a strenuous activity, it does require a little bit of strength, especially to help with your awareness. Keeping snacks in your car is a cost-efficient and easy way to add comfort to your commute. It also will help dissuade you from pulling into a drive-thru for unhealthy fast food and getting caught in even more traffic.

Or don’t

Alternatively, if there’s somewhere along your route that you regularly stop by, like a recreation center, coffee shop, or bookstore, you could just make that a permanent stop for you. Instead of heading straight home, you can stop there and save time. Pack an extra set of clothes, find somewhere to change or change at work, and you’re all set.

An added bonus of not heading directly home is that you’re better positioned to start actually enjoying and living in your new home. Becoming a “regular” at a spot, establishing yourself in the area, getting to know local shop owners, and being seen around all contributes to having a well-rounded life. While these tips can make your commute more enjoyable (and even something to look forward to), it’s also important that you’re finding a way to make your life in the city enjoyable as well so you’re not just driving between home and work everyday.

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Still worried about commuting?

Driving through South Alabama doesn’t have to be a drag! Make sure you’re having the best commute possible and check out this guide to commuting in Alabama. Afterwards, maybe look into finding a car that’s better suitable for your commute than the one you have now, whether that means better fuel mileage, a plusher interior, or an all-wheel, all-terrain drive to keep you rolling straight through the winter snow.

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