Road trips are a great way to get out and explore the world around us. While we might not be traveling as far, a few hours in the car to get out of the house and discover someplace new might be just what we need. And while wearing loose, comfy clothes, starting early and taking breaks are all road trip no-brainers, here are a few additional tips you can use to make the trek more fun.
If you haven’t been out of your city or town in a while things might feel a bit different as you’re passing through new locations. It’s important to remember that not all states are following the same COVID-19 mandates. Don’t be surprised if the pit stop you’re making feels a bit different than home.
Keep hand sanitizer and masks on hand. A fanny pack or small bag is a convenient way to store and carry all your essentials in one place. Most importantly, always do what is right for you and your family, travel safely and have fun!
1. Have a Loose Plan
When planning your next road trip, knowing where you’re going and how you’re getting there is only half the battle. Remember to be flexible. Things like weather, construction and exhaustion can all cause plans to change.
Have a few ideas for places to stop, whether it’s to get a bite to eat or make a pit stop. Popular attractions might not be where you want to spend your time right now, so consider lesser known spots, local eateries and even asking the locals.
Being spontaneous can keep the excitement level high and help avoid disappointment; however, spending too much time off the road could double or triple the length of your trip. Finding the right balance is key.
2. Prepare Your Car
Make sure your car is ready for a voyage by preparing it for the road. Consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic to have your car’s fluid levels, brakes and tires checked before your trip.
Next, have the inside of your car cleaned or save a little money and clean out your car yourself. Removing any unnecessary clutter will make the inside of your car feel fresh and make room for the supplies you’ll need for your trip.
Pack things like toys, coloring books and other activities for the kids. Have chargers for your devices and bring pillows and blankets to make the ride more comfortable.
3. Plan for Pit Stops
Sitting in a car for an extended period of time can cause fatigue in more ways than one. Plan for a few pit stops along the way to your destination. Whether that means simply leaving the car to stretch, move around or take a bathroom break, or going on a mini nature adventure.
There are tons of unique and fun roadside attractions and rest stops across the country. From the World’s Largest Ball of Twine to the National Mustard Museum, there’s bound to be a cool or quirky rest stop you can visit on the way to your destination.
4. Food and Snacks
If you’re going to be in the car for a few hours, you and your passenger(s) are bound to get hungry. Avoid stopping for unhealthy fast food and gas station snacks by preparing your own refreshments ahead of time.
Snacks that are easy to eat, such as trail mix, jerky, fruits and vegetables, are great for road trips. Handheld foods like sandwiches and wraps are also popular. Make things fun with bento box lunches for the kids.
For a list of other road trip snacks, see here.
5. Audible Entertainment
While passengers can read or watch videos and movies on their devices, such cannot be said for the driver. Go for audible entertainment everyone can listen to. Listening allows you to keep your eyes on the road while still being entertained.
Make music playlists ahead of time. Have different themes, like decades and genres or make a mix of everyone’s favorites. Podcasts and audio-books are also great options, especially if you don’t have time to prepare a playlist.
6. Play Family Games
Car games are great for keeping everyone entertained during road trips. Classics like “I Spy,” 20 questions and the license plate game are all fun ways to pass the time. Mad Libs, the alphabet game and car bingo are also great.
If your road trip is starting to get a little too taxing, try playing the quiet game for a few moments of peace. See other ways to survive a road trip with kids here.
7. Talk it Out
Although it may feel like we’re constantly connected thanks to smart phones and social media, nothing beats a real conversation.
Take some time to talk during your road trip. Ask your passengers fun or insightful questions: What are you most excited about for this trip? What’s the first thing you want to do when we get there? Telling stories and practicing interview skills are other great ways to pass the time.
8. Get Creative
Other ways to fight boredom during a road trip require a little creativity. Have group challenges like taking a photo as you cross each state’s border or playing a few seconds of a song and having others guess the title and/or band. Reward car game winners with tasty treats, small gifts or the simple reward of choosing the next activity. For some more subdued fun, bring along a clipboard and some paper and let the kids get creative. They can play games like tic-tac-toe, MASH or simply doodle.
9. Headrest Monitors
Another way to keep backseat riders occupied is with a headrest that contains a video screen. Monitors can be added to the backs of the front seats to entertain passengers young and old. Just remember to give tired eyes a rest by limiting screen time.
Headrest monitors might not make your driving experience any more exciting, but the tranquility of a peaceful backseat is the type of boredom we can get behind.
10. Solo Activities
Not everything needs to be a group activity. Reading a book, writing, knitting/crocheting and doing puzzles (crosswords, sudoku, etc.) are all individual activities that ward off boredom. Taking a nap is another solo activity that can help time fly.
Because some activities are only intended for passengers, taking a break and switching drivers on long drives is a great way to make sure that everyone gets a little time for themselves.
How do you have fun during a road trip? Tell us in the comments below!