It’s Spring Break time, and since I (unfortunately) won’t be hopping a plane to Cancun any time soon, two words come to mind: road trip! The Great American Road Trip is one of my favorite ways to travel. No security lines, liquid restrictions or luggage fees; just pack your ride full of suitcases and snacks and hit the open road.
As someone who didn’t take a plane ride until her mid-teens (and who went across the state to go to college; i.e., far, but not far enough to fly), I have lots of experience passing the time while trees zip past car windows. So, here are my favorite road trip boredom-busters (one disclaimer: I’m not including DVDs or smart phone games, because I’m old school and because I have neither a DVD player in my car nor a fancy phone).
Playing DJ: We all have our favorite songs (and you might even have a go-to road trip playlist; if not, I highly recommend this one from Apocalypsticks) but sometimes it’s fun to play DJ with the radio dials. You never know what forgotten gem might be playing, and if you’re in a different region you can marvel at the ten different country-music stations, or the funny local commercials. You never know what’s around the next bend, or what’s playing on the next station. And that’s part of the fun.
Playing Games: Unfortunately, board games like these are not the best idea while on the road. As for car-appropriate entertainment, there are the old stand-bys like the Picnic game (“I’m going on a picnic and I’m taking apples…bananas…chips…” working your way through the alphabet) and the license plate game (farthest state wins!). But my favorites are the ones that take a little imagination. It’s not really a game, per se, but I love the speculation of “If I won the lottery…” Make it interesting by limiting your answers (top 5 things I’d buy, the first place I’d visit…). I also love playing favorites: favorite movie of all time, favorite childhood memory, favorite place you’ve ever been. And, of course, there’s the classic “Would you rather?” I like to make them as weird (and interesting) as possible (example: Would you rather have hair down to your feet (and never cut it) or only be able to eat bananas for the rest of your life?”). Basically, I’m a fan of any game that starts conversations. It helps to make the journey part of the adventure, rather than that part you have to get through before the fun begins.
Playing Solo: After all that stimulating discourse, sometimes you just want to zone out for a while. As someone who spent a good part of every childhood summer daydreaming while staring out of a car window, I can appreciate the value of silence. If you’re one of the lucky ones who can read in a car, I envy you. For those of us prone to motion sickness, there’s always headphones. And when you really need a break, just lean your head against the cool glass, close your eyes, and dream about your destination.
How do you guys pass the time on road trips?
Woman driving image via Shutterstock