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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

How to Stay Entertained on the Road

People always seem surprised when I tell them how long we spend in the car between destinations on road trips. On average on our major road trips we spend anywhere from 6 to 12 hours in the car on any given day. Although it may seem like a lot & sometimes can feel like it drags on, as long as you find ways to occupy yourself it can be easy.

These suggestions are things Garrett & myself have done on our major road trips or long drives to stay entertained. Most of these are tailored for two people, with one person driving & the other as the passenger. However, you can do some of these things alone or with more people. I will also mention some obvious ones, but also some people may not know.

(1) TALKING: This one may seem obvious, because "there is only so much to talk about with the same person for days." However, outside of your usual conversations you have with that person there are a few things we like to do on trips.

(a) Rank places you have stayed/eaten/etc: This will help you not only reflect on the trip, but also help you determine if you would ever return to those places. We have done this for years & it can come in handy. An example is Kings Canyon National Park campgrounds, they are AWFUL. Honestly one of the worst campgrounds we have stayed at, so we know we will never return there.

(b) Making a "When We Return" List: Garrett & I always talk about wishing we had more time at certain places or coming a different time of year. So we will make lists of those places & what we wish to do next time.

(c) Making Future Plans: Another thing similar to returning places is planning the next trip. I mean why not plan your next trip while you are on your current one. We do this all the time. We started planning our next siblings week while on the road so I had dates to tell my brothers & some ideas to propose to them.

(2) MUSIC: This is an obvious one, but music can definitely help pass the time. I also recommend making sure you have some way to connect your phone or iPod or whatever music device you use to the radio. This can be bluetooth, AV cord, or whatever form necessary, as the radio stations can be sparse when traveling. I also recommend having music that does not need to be streamed, as you will either (1) go through your data too fast or (2) not have service in spots. Having your favorite music ready can help kill some time or keep you jamming during late night drives, we personally love Funk music or Streetlight Manifesto, Queen, Vulpeck, or Classic Rock to jam out to on road trips.

(3) PODCASTS/AUDIOBOOKS: Similar to music, but it can be great to have something calmer or more story-like. I will recommend to download them prior to losing service though. There is nothing worse than getting to a good part of your podcast & losing service. Also, make sure it can connect to the car radio like the music. I personally love podcasts, especially True Crime, so we listen to Crime Junkie, Park Predator, International Infamy, Anatomy of Murder, & Very Presidential during our trips.

(4) NAP/DRIVE: There may be times on the road where one party has been driving a while & starts to get tired. So if there is a way that person can nap to catch some sleep while the other drives that can help as well. Usually Garrett & I stay awake together, however there are times where one of us needs sleep, so the other plays their music or podcast while the other sleeps. It definitely can help sustain you through a long day travelings.

(5) GAMES: This is one of my favorite things to do on Road Trips & there are so many options out there. Here are a few of our favorites:

(a) 20 Questions: A classic game that takes nothing but your brain. One person picks a person, place, things, animal, or action then when they have it they tell the other person to start asking questions. The other person then has 20 questions to attempt to guess what the person was thinking. It can be a lot of fun, but eventually you will get too tired to think of things usually so it will become too easy for the other person.

(b) Hunt for ABC's: I have played this game since my Aunt showed it to me as a kid. The objective is you hunt for the letters A to Z in order on license plates, signs, or anything that is not within the vehicle. You can either do this as a team or compete to see who gets it first. This can take at least an hour sometimes when you are in the middle of nowhere North Dakota, but it still is fun.

(c) State License Plates: This is more of a continual game through the trip & something usually done in the U.S. mostly, where you hunt to see how many state plates you find on a trip. This is fun to do throughout your trip.

(d) Trivia: There are tons of Trivia games out there that you can bring with you or download to your phone that play offline. These can be targeted toward your specific interests like history or movies or music, they can also be broad topics as well. Some of the trivia games we have played on the road are: GameRoom Travel Quiz, Family Feud (sorta trivia, but also based on audience responses), National Park Trivia, and more.

(e) Magnetic Car Games: You can find magnetic travel games at most major retailers. We have hangman, checkers, & tic-tac-to. All of these are feasible to play while one person is driving & the other person can control it or if there is an easily accessible center console in the vehicle that can work as well.

(f) Yahtzee: It may be a little unconventional & can be difficult depending on the vehicle set up. However if you have travel Yahtzee it is easy to transport & if there is a larger hole in the center console you can roll into that then have the passenger state the dice there. It still allows the person driving to play with less work.

There are also tons of games out there, lots of articles to look at, or recommendations from others. I would make sure you plan for ways to kill time in the car for any major road trip, especially things that do not use internet/data as you will likely not have it the entire time. Definitely do your research, but I hope these are some suggestions you can use for your next trip!


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