Our April theme is the road trip, a tradition as American as apple pie. Road trips can bring people together like nothing else, but if you’re going to cruise across the country, you’ll want to be prepared. When traveling with friends, family and/or kids, it can be difficult to keep everyone entertained and occupied for the long stretches this vacation requires. We’re going to take a look at 10 ways to pass the time on your asphalt adventure, and maybe even have some fun along the way.
1. Don't Rush:
If you’re like most road-trippers, you’re on a time crunch. Unfortunately, rushing can add undue anxiety to your trip. Try to map out each city you’ll stay in on your journey, and drive 8 hours per day maximum. You don’t want to get caught looking for a hotel at 11pm in Tuscon when the State Baseball Championship is going on. However, leave yourself a little room to wander and enjoy some things you didn’t plan on seeing. No one wants to miss The World’s Largest Pistachio or the Jell-O Museum. These are the fun things that make memories.
2. Don’t Research:
While we certainly want to know where we’re staying each night, it’s usually best not to do much research about the city (hotels, yes, make sure they’re clean). This way, you have no expectations for anywhere, and you can explore things on your own. This lets you avoid tourist traps and find some hidden gems.
3. Play Games:
Of course games are a great way to pass the time, as long as you mix it up a little bit. You’ve probably played a few yourself, like the license plate game or name that tune. There are infinite games to play, so get creative with it. You could try other things, like an in-car talent show or spelling bee, or brain teasers and trivia.
4. Bring a Road-Trip CD:
Although they barely exist anymore, bring along an actual CD from an actual artist or band and listen from beginning to end every day. It will bring you memories from your trip when you listen again years later.
5. Ask a Local:
Especially dining-wise. They’ll often know far more about what to see, do and eat in a given city than the internet. Don’t be afraid to ask (looking at you, gentlemen).
This is a personal favorite of mine. Nothing helps pass the time than a really good book you can all listen to and enjoy together. Since they’re usually 8+ hours in length, they’re a great way to get lost in a story. If a book is really good, your drive won’t feel long at all.
7. Take Pictures:
Nowadays, almost everyone has a camera in their pocket all day long. Don’t be afraid to use it. Have a contest to see who can take the best photo, or see if you can get pictures of every license plate in the U.S. Photography is a great way to pass time for kids.
OK, this seems like an easy way out, but if you have kids, you know how beneficial a tablet or DVD player can be. Just make sure they’re actually seeing and enjoying the sights, rather than sitting on their phone all trip.
9. Catch Up with People:
This is especially good if you’re traveling alone (Bluetooth please, no hands). Use your time on the road to call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, or even that aunt who talks nonstop on the phone. It’s a good way to reconnect, and hey, you have the time.
This kind of ties in with the photos, but it’s an awesome way for kids (and even adults) to become more engaged with the trip. Have everyone make their own personal scrapbook for the trip, picking up postcards, knick-knacks and brochures along the way. Chances are, your kids will start to become interested in things you had no idea they would be.
Hope this gives you some ideas on ways to pass the time. Driving long stretches can certainly be a drag, but if you prepare correctly, it doesn’t have to be. Please let us know what you think in the comments, and as always, happy exploring!