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Best Energy Drinks For Road Trips (Useful Information)

If I had to choose between a road trip and a plane trip, I’d choose an adventurous road trip. You can camp out down the road, visit several state parks in just a week, and whatnot! On top of that, you can make your trip more exciting by hiking. 

Of course, feeling fatigued or sleepy can ruin your driving and hiking experience. Nothing can provide you with quick focus and concentration than energy drinks. Furthermore, there might be a refrigerator in your van, so you can get chilled energy drinks whenever you want.

When looking for energy drinks for a road trip, you need to consider caffeine level, sugar content, and a few other ingredients.

This article will show you the essential ingredients of energy drinks you should never compromise on. Also, I’ll be explaining in detail whether energy drinks are suitable for those with health issues or not.

So, if you are ready let’s dive into it…

Energy Drinks: What To Look For?

Here’s what you need to look for;

  • Electrolytes
  • Level of caffeine
  • Sugar preference

When choosing energy drinks, the first thing to look for is electrolytes. In case you’re not familiar with them, I’ll further explain everything in detail. Caffeine level and sugar content also play a key role in giving you energy.


Some individuals overlook the benefits that come along with electrolytes. When you sweat through hiking, you lose both water and sodium. 

To maintain the fluid balance in your system, you should get energy drinks with an adequate amount of sodium, potassium, or calcium. They not only fuel your muscles but also recover you from dehydration. 

In my perspective, you should consider taking an energy drink containing electrolytes for your road trip. Let me tell you that you’ll get very limited options in energy drinks that contain all three electrolytes. 

Want to know more about electrolytes? Do watch the video.


You’re probably wondering how much caffeine would be enough for energy gain without getting a crash. The FDA recommends that you should never go beyond 400mg a day.

The amount of caffeine you consume has a lot to do with your well-being. If you exceed your caffeine intake you may end up getting these symptoms;

  • Crash
  • Anxiety
  • Hypertension
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep disruption

You should therefore think carefully about the caffeine content of energy drinks. Be sure you’re not getting caffeine from any other source besides energy drinks. Coffee and chocolate are a couple of other examples of foods containing caffeine. 

Energy Beverages Containing Sugar

If you’re someone who believes sugar is one of the primary sources of energy, you might not be wrong. However, the energy you get from added sugar doesn’t last long and sadly is not without negative effects.

Research shows that you become drowsy and sleepy after one hour of snacking on sugar. If you are worried about experiencing tension and sleep issues on your trip, you might want to consider taking energy drinks without sugar.

Let me tell you that there are very few brands that offer sugar-free beverages.

Is it Safe to Take Energy Drinks While Driving?

while driving
Taking energy drinks is safe as long as you’re keeping a check on your intake.

Drinking energy beverages is safe while driving as long as you’re not going overboard with them. Also, you need to consider how much caffeine and sugar you’re taking in a single serving. Sugar and caffeine in excess may lead you to feel jittery and crash. 

You must be extra careful when you’re driving because one wrong move will not only harm you but other people in and outside the vehicle too. In addition to feeling sleepy, too much caffeine can make you feel anxious

Let me tell you that there’s no alternative to sleep. In case you’re exhausted and sleepy, there’s no point being on the road. Instead of preventing your adenosine from working with caffeine, you should find a suitable place and take a nap.

How Healthy are Energy Drinks? 

Energy drinks are not healthy due to all the chemicals and artificial flavors.

In my perspective, there is no such thing as a healthy energy drink. Not even the ones labeled as “healthy.” As long as you consume them in moderation, energy drinks will be good for your health. However, taking too much of them can leave lasting adverse effects on your health.

Energy drinks keep you going by providing you with stimulation. Some individuals may experience opposite effects with them. There are a few reasons as to why you feel that way with energy drinks. You’ll see consequences if you’re;

  • Already drained of energy and are feeling sleepy
  • On some kind of medication or drugs
  • Over dosage of caffeine
  • Intolerance of caffeine

Let’s examine the pros and cons of energy drinks;


  • Boosts energy
  • Improves focus, strength and mood
  • Good for recovery
  • Increased cognitive performance


  • Headache
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dependence
  • Tingling

Do Energy Drinks Give You Concentration?

Energy drinks can give you focus however, excessive consumption can drain energy.

Energy drinks contain stimulants intended to keep you energized and alert for several hours. The most common substance is caffeine which is also present in coffee. 

Research shows that more than 40% of young militants drink at least one energy beverage daily. The side effects of taking more than one serving include less sleep and stress. However, you should be aware that over-relying on stimulants might drain your energy.

Moreover, once you develop tolerance for a certain stimulant you will end up craving more and more of it which isn’t good for your health at all. You can take one energy drink if your purpose is getting concentration.

Should People With Health Issues Have Energy Drinks?

However, if you are suffering from any health issues you should refrain from taking energy drinks. Regardless of the brand, you’re taking, there will be caffeine in every beverage. Do keep in mind that caffeine might interact with your medication.

Additionally, you might experience an increase in heart rate. So, it won’t be an ideal choice for heart patients to take energy drinks.

If you are under the age of eighteen, pregnant, or nursing, energy beverages aren’t safe for you. Those with any of the above problems can rely on natural sources of energy such as fruit juices. 

What are the Best Energy Drinks For Road Trips?

I’ve picked a few best energy drinks to make your road trip more exciting. Let’s have a look at their caffeine and sugar levels;

Energy DrinksCaffeine LevelsSugar LevelsElectrolytes
Xtend (16 fl.oz.)125mg0gPotassium & sodium
Redbull (8.4 fl.oz.)80mg27gSodium
Rowdy (16 fl.oz.)160mg18gSodium, potassium & magnesium
Coffee (8 fl.oz.)95mgNillNill
Table shows the best energy drinks for road trips


On my list of energy drinks, the first is Xtend, which has a very moderate amount of caffeine. Due to its zero sugar content, it would be suitable for those with health problems. The presence of sodium and potassium serves the purpose of keeping your body hydrated.

Let me tell you that there’s a proven ratio of BCAAs in this particular beverage. In case you don’t want amino acids in your energy drinks, you might like to consider the other three options.


There is 80 mg caffeine in 8.4 fl. oz cans of Redbull. Also, it contains 27mg of sugar and 28g of carbs, so it might not be suitable for diabetics.

Among the many benefits of Red Bull, one is that it comes with an electrolyte. There are 105 milligrams of sodium that balance fluids in your body. Since you also get four B vitamins, this beverage might also improve your mood and help reduce depression to some extent. 


Rowdy is the third energy beverage on my list of best road trip energy beverages. The beverage contains 160mg of caffeine, which is less than the recommended dosage, so there won’t be any side effects such as crashes or headaches.  

In addition, the sugar content (18g) is also under the safe amount. If you’re sensitive to sugar, this beverage isn’t recommended for you.

Additionally, this can be a good source of electrolytes and nutrients. It’s evident that it’ll help you get the most out of your road trip.


coffee mug
Coffee is an energy drink that doesn’t contain harmful additives.

Coffee is also a good alternative if you’re not interested in consuming energy drinks. Coffee contains almost 94 milligrams of caffeine, providing nearly as much energy as Red Bull. 

The benefit that comes along with coffee is that you can keep its sugar content as low as you want. It’ll also keep you warm if you’re planning a road trip in winter. 

Make sure to keep a couple of thermos bottles of coffee.

What are Other Ways to Keep Yourself Alert?

Here’s how you can keep yourself alert and busy;


Listening to music can help you stay focused and alert.

Listening to something also keeps your brain busy. Additionally, there’s no better time to explore your playlist than on road trips. Singing along with whatever you’re listening to is also a way to keep yourself alert. Other than music, you can listen to other stuff as well such as documentaries and news. 

It’s best not to listen to books since they might make you sleepy. 


Having something to snack on keeps you busy and alert. You should be more attentive when you’re behind the wheel. There’s no doubt there are several snacks you can have. However, it’d be tricky to put them in your mouth while driving. Therefore, the best option would be chewing gum since it lasts quite long. 


If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, no energy beverage would be able to keep you energized. Before starting your road trip journey, make sure you’ve taken enough sleep.

If you are traveling a long distance, you should camp down the road and relax for a few hours. You will not only stay energetic but also be able to visit more places along the way. 

Do Energy Drinks Last Long?

Depending on how much caffeine they contain, energy drinks have effects that last for 3 to 5 hours. Your metabolism also determines how long energy drinks will keep you alert. If you metabolize caffeine fast, the impact will last for a short period. 

Therefore, the question arises; should you have two energy drinks in a day?

In my opinion, it’s a big no! First, it is never a good idea to have a full energy beverage at one time. The best practice would be to finish your drink slowly as it won’t affect you adversely.

Secondly, half of the caffeine is still in your system after 5 hours. Taking another energy drink while caffeine is still present in your system will make you feel tired the next day. It can take you 9 hours or a day to completely process the caffeine out. 

Final Thoughts

No one wants to feel fatigued on road trips. Therefore, you can consider drinking energy drinks to make your trip unforgettable. Red Bull, Xtend, and Rowdy are our top choices for road trips. 

You should not drink energy drinks if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, as they will cause anxiety. Before taking any energy drink, it is a good idea to check the label to make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.

Also, don’t forget to get fresh air into your car to make things bright and refreshing.

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