A road trip does not have to be a tiresome experience; in fact, sometimes a road trip can be as fun as the vacation itself! As long as you spend time planning before hand you can prevent that dreaded feeling of being stuck in the car for hours with nothing to do. Take a look below at some of my tips for getting the best out of each road trip.
Pre-planning before the trip
Make several different music playlists
*Make organized playlists of music by category. With a really long drive you are going to get bored listening to the same type of music for hours on end. Switch it up a little bit – I make several different playlists in different categories such as country, oldies, 90s music, dance, etc. I use the music according to my mood and what I feel like listening to during different parts of the trip – it really helps to break up the monotony!
Find travel companions
*The more people you travel with, the more fun you will have along the way. There will be more people to talk and discuss different topics with rather than sitting by yourself looking out the window for hours on end. Traveling with someone you don’t see very often will give you the most interesting and new topics to discuss.
Bring with fun snacks
*I always let myself have a few treats that I normally wouldn’t eat. This gives me something to get excited about for the trip. It also keeps your hunger in check while waiting for the next restaurant stop!
Bring with other listening materials besides music
*Listening to an audio book or a foreign language CD will keep you interested along your route. This will give you a chance to do some reading or learning something new that your ordinarily might not have the time to do. Check your local library before the trip so you can check out these items for free.
Plan attractions along your route
Look on Roadside America for odd and interesting attractions along your route. You can type in the town you will be passing and find out what is around. Having fun oddball attractions will make your trip more exciting. For example, before my long road trip from Idaho to Chicago, I searched for oddball attractions in WY and found the world’s smallest town – Buford, WY (population is only 1!). Although it wasn’t a lengthy stop, it was interesting and something I would have never had the chance to see otherwise.
Make your trip interesting along your route
Take plenty of breaks
Take as many breaks as you want; this well help break up your trip. You don’t need a designated time to stop. If you feel like getting out and stretching, then pull over and walk around for a bit. If you see a scenic overlook – pull out and stop and take a few pictures.
Make random stops
You know those signs you see on the road for various random attractions (World’s Largest Thermometer, Basketball Hall of Fame) – if you see one that interests you make a detour! When else are you going to be back again? This will allow you to take a break for a bit and be fresh to go when you get back.
Plan fun entertainment
On our last very long road trip from Idaho to Chicago we needed to break up the time of our long 24 hour trip. We stopped at the Hobo pool in Saratoga, WY. This is a natural hot springs – I have always wanted to try out a natural hot springs but never wanted to drive out of my way just to go here. Because it was along the way it was worth a stop. Definitely a fun way to get out of the car for an hour or so. We broke the trip up into 3 different sections and had a fun activity planned for each 8 hour segment – this gave us something new to look forward to each leg of the journey!
Search the GPS for weird restaurants
I hate the though of stopping in an Applebees or Chili’s along the way; boring and gives me nothing to look forward to because I already know what to expect. On the other hand stopping in some random restaurant is a new experience!
Don’t drive all night!
One of the biggest mistakes we have made over the years is not booking enough hotels! I don’t think you should ever drive longer than 8-9 hours. Any longer than that and your trip is no longer fun. It becomes more about staying awake until you get to the hotel. Only drive 4-8 hours for each part of your trip. This allows you to take a break from driving, relax at the hotel (maybe use the pool or hot tub) and maybe even find a few interesting local attractions. You will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to drive again.