For most people, it’s not pleasant to have to spend the holidays at work. This can be especially true if “work” is the open road and you’re a commercial trucker or owner-operator. Unfortunately, many of the nearly 4 million truck drivers in the United States often spend time away from family and friends while making a living. But there are some ways truckers can enjoy the holidays on the road.
It’s a lot easier to be flexible with your own personal holiday plans than it is with your trucking-related schedule. Therefore, when making plans for various holiday events, allow some room to make adjustments as necessary so you don’t end up creating unintended stress and anxiety for friends and loved ones, and yourself.
As long as we’re talking about flexibility, why box yourself into Christmas only being celebrated on the 25th or Thanksgiving only being on the fourth Thursday of November? If you know ahead of time you won’t be home on specific holiday days or dates, make arrangements to celebrate a bit earlier or later. As long as you carry out the same traditions and gather with loved ones, it’ll be special – even if this means having turkey on a Tuesday or ringing in the new year on the 3rd day of January.
For times when you can’t physically be with your family during the holidays, there’s always technology. When at a truck stop or resting during your off-hours at a hotel, you may be able to virtually connect with loved ones in one or more of the following ways:
• Streaming video via apps or certain websites
• Facebook chats
• Skype or similar video platforms
• Sharing images and videos via Instagram
The holidays can be enjoyed to some extent even when on the road with a little creativity. Possibilities include:
• Adding festive touches to your truck, like a wreath on the grill
• Spraying gingerbread air-freshener in your cab
• Packing candy canes and other festive treats you can snack on as you drive
• Listening to Christmas tunes on your radio or iPod
You can even treat yourself to some holiday “gifts” while on the road! This might involve spending the night in a hotel instead of in your truck or treating yourself to a nice meal at a restaurant along your route.
Keep the giving spirit of the holiday season in mind by finding ways to do special things for others in need while on the road. You might, for example, make donations to local food banks or thrift stores along your route. You could even use some of your off-hour time to volunteer at soup kitchens or shelters near your truck stops.
Take comfort in knowing you won’t be the only trucker on the road during the holidays. So, why not arrange to share a meal at a local restaurant or a common truck stop with other truckers? This way you can wish each other well, share pictures, and family stories, and help one another feel less lonely when away from home.
If you happen to be an owner-operator and you really want to be home with your family for certain holidays, see if you can shift things around with your clients. For instance, you might be able to convince a client with a load that’s ready and waiting to allow you to pick it up and deliver it a day or two early.