It’s no secret that driving can be a lonely profession, with truckers often struggling to stay connected while on the job. Road transport is also tough work, requiring drivers to spend practically all day rumbling along in a relatively confined cab. Any chance, then, for truckers to settle in and make the interior of their vehicle a little more cozy is always a welcome opportunity, especially for those operating sleeper-cabs over long hauls. That’s why we’re breaking down 20 ways to feel at home in the cab:
1. Wall Decorations
Interesting posters can add character or humor to the cab, while pictures of family, friends, or pets can keep those important individuals in your thoughts. Posters and pictures are also great because they don’t take up extra space in the cab.
2. Colorful Accessories
Spice up the cab’s typically drab interior with eye-catching seat covers, steering wheel covers, floor mats, armrest covers, curtains, and bedding that introduce splashes of color and let you express your personality.
3. Physical Comforts
Make sure you can relax in the cab with a comfortable seat alignment and cushion, as well as a comfortable bed, which means a memory foam mattress-topper, soft sheets and blankets, and fluffy pillows. Even wearing your favorite, comfy clothes can help you feel at home.
4. Rest Up
Speaking of your bed, you’ll feel more relaxed and at home when you can get a good night’s rest, so in addition to that quality mattress, look into using ear plugs, sleep masks, or blackout curtains, as you may need them.
5. Food from Home
You can store home-cooked meals in the mini-fridge/freezer to reheat in your microwave, or invest in a hot-plate or toaster-oven to cook some of your favorite meals right in the cab. Also, coffee-makers, like the classic single-serve Keurig or the Melitta Pour-Over Brewer, let you wake up with a hot cup of joe, just like at home.
A morning cup of coffee can also be part of setting routines, which can provide calming and familiar experiences as you start and end each day – especially if you adopt the same morning and evening routines in the cab that you would normally practice at home.
7. Clean the Cab
You’re not going to feel at home if the floorboards are littered with trash and look more like a rest-stop trash-bin. Throwing out the receipts and wrappers – or utilizing a in-vehicle trash bin – and generally keeping things clean can help you feel more comfortable in the cab.
8. Stay Connected
Use phone-calls, text messages, social media, Skype/Facetime, letters, and postcards to keep in touch with friends and family back home, maintaining positive relationships that contribute to lower stress, higher happiness, and greater life-satisfaction. “MiFi” routers are a great way to connect online via multiple devices by turning your cellphone signal into a small, private WiFi network.
9. Passengers & Co-Drivers
Some truckers bring along their kids or spouses, bringing the very best parts of home with them. Other truckers even work in parent-child, spousal, or sibling co-driving pairs, which has the added benefit of potentially doubling a vehicle’s operating hours.
10. Bring a Pet
Did you know 40% of OTR drivers keep a furry friend in the cab with them? Bringing along a pet provides companionship, a reason to exercise, a way to meet new people, and even protection for the cab. Dogs and cats are the most common trucker pets, but drivers have also adopted parrots, iguanas, snakes, ferrets, ducks, and more – just be sure you can give them a good, healthy life while on the road!
11. CB Chatter
Plenty of truckers still use the CB radio and talking with other truckers – your “work family” – can help fill in some of those lonely spaces of driving and remind you that everyone is in the same boat out there and can relate to your experiences. Just be sure you’re caught up on your trucker slang.
12. A “Home” Playlist
Music is a great way to pass the time, so create a “Home” playlist filled with songs that remind you of home, from the classics you grew up with in high school to tunes that reference the places, traditions, or values you know and love.
13. Change Your Tires
Worn-down tires make your ride bumpy and uncomfortable. Maintaining air pressure and changing tires when the treads are worn-down helps to keep things smooth and relaxing, just like home should be.
14. Mementos In-Cab
Bring along specific, special items that exist purely to remind you of that feeling of home: one of your kid’s stuffed animals to help them feel close, your favorite pair of slippers to provide immediate comfort, or a household holiday decoration to keep you in good spirits.
15. Mementos At-Home
Take souvenirs or other memorabilia from the road back into your home. Having travel memories around the house helps your job-away-from-home become a shared family experience and helps the cab feel less foreign when it’s time to get back to work.
16. Calm Environment
There are plenty of gadgets that can help you keep the cab feeling fresh and cozy, from air fresheners and oil diffusers that smell like home to ambient lights and sound machines that help you relax and fall asleep in the evenings.
17. Movies, TV Shows, & Games
Sometimes the best way to de-stress after work is to watch your favorite movies or shows, or play your favorite video games. Invest in a power converter, hook up a tv, pop some popcorn, and you’ll feel at home in no time.
18. Books & Magazines
While video game explosions can be a fun way to decompress, settling in with a great book or thumbing through an interesting magazine can also be calming experience at the end of the day, and reminiscent of peaceful evenings at home. We’ve enjoyed reading “The Never-Open Desert Diner,” a compelling mystery novel with a truck owner-operator as its protagonist, written by former trucker James Anderson – as well as “The Long Haul,” an occupational memoir by Finn Murphy.
19. Indoor Plants
Keeping house plants, from succulents and ferns to orchids and snake plants, has been proven to keep your air clean (clearing up to 87% of air toxins in only 24 hours), reduce stress, and improve your mood. Plus, indoor plants are cheap to buy and maintain.
20. Stay Healthy
It’s hard to feel at home if you’re not comfortable in your own skin. Maintain your physical health by eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep, and keep up with your mental health by building positive relationships, keeping your mind active, and being willing to talk to a mental health pro if you need some help.
Driving is a tough profession, but luckily there are plenty of ways to make the cab feel like home, whether you drive a conventional day cab or a sleeper semi-truck. And now we want to hear from you – which of our tips work best for you? Do you know any other tricks for feeling at home in the cab? Let us know in the comments below.