More than 50 percent of American employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least part of the time while at work, according to a 2016 ABC News poll. Further, NPR reports that of the employees who take advantage of paid time off (many don't), roughly 30 percent work remotely while they're on vacation. That's a recipe for stress and possible burnout, both of which can affect job performance and overall health.

It's time to stop making excuses and start making plans to step away from your desk and get behind the wheel to explore the world outside of your workplace. Even if you're juggling deadlines, heavy workloads, and 40- to 60-hour work weeks, you can – and should – prioritize your free time. Check out these tips for exploring the open road, and then schedule some time off to enjoy a drive.

Consider Traveling Solo

Sometimes it's difficult to clear your schedule, and it becomes even more complicated when you have to coordinate with friends or family. Don't be afraid to take the opportunity to try out what Lonely Planet calls a key trend among travelers – solo travel. Whether you want to take a vacation abroad or a road trip closer to home, traveling alone offers a variety of benefits.

  • Be selfish and go anywhere you want to go.
  • Get to know interesting people you probably wouldn't interact with when traveling in a group.
  • Need a break? Hang out in your hotel room, or lounge by the pool all day if you want.
  • Skip the drama that may accompany your regular crew.
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone may leave you feeling refreshed and ready to cope with pressure and problems.

Take a Long Weekend

Maybe you really can't take off an entire week. If that's true, taking at least a couple of days off can provide a much-needed break. Add a Friday or a Monday – or both – to the weekend, and it gives you a decent stretch of time for exploring the open road. Pick destinations near your city, or book a flight and rent a car to explore new territory. According to the Travel Channel, some of the most popular destinations for long weekend getaways include:

Plot Your Course

Wherever you decide to go, it's important to know how to get there and how to navigate between destinations. Take advantage of tools that are readily at your disposal. AAA's TripTik Planner helps you do everything from getting directions and checking road conditions to looking at maps and choosing roads based on whether you want the fastest route or a scenic drive.

Pick the Right Vehicle

The right set of wheels makes the open road a joyful adventure. If you don't own the perfect vehicle for the job, consider renting a vehicle with everything you need for the journey. Maybe even select something that inspires you to spend more time behind the wheel. Whether you want to ride with the top down or arrive in luxury, you set the right tone for your trip by choosing the right vehicle.

Tips for Enjoying the Open Road Safely

There's nothing like the thrill of the wind rushing through your hair and the scenery flying by as you embark on your own personal adventure. Have fun and stay safe with a few simple tips:

  • Rest Up: The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting a solid seven to nine hours of sleep to prevent dangerous drowsy driving.
  • Know Your Limits: Some people can drive for 12 hours without any problems while others need a break after four or five hours of driving. Know your personal limits and plan accordingly.
  • Hit the Safe Spots: Whether you're taking a day trip, a long weekend, or an extended vacay, it pays to research the attractions you plan to visit along the way to ensure you only choose safe destinations.

All that's left is planning your getaway and enjoying the thrill of the open road. Find more inspiration for adventures and getaways by following us on Instagram.

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