Table of Contents
- 1. Tell Stories
- 2. Break Out the Ultimate Road Trip Playlist
- 3. Do a Little Cloud-Watching
- 4. One of the Most Classic Things to Do On a Long Car Ride: Play Road Trip Games
- 5. Capture the Scenery At Your Stops
- 6. Listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks
- 7. Look Out for Landmarks
- 8. Road Trip Snacks
- 9. Immerse Yourself in Thought
- See You Out on the Road!
Ah, the Great American Road Trip.
It’s a classic journey that can expand your mind and worldview at the same time while bringing you and everyone else in the car closer together than ever before. Fun-loving tunes, car snacks, and good old human connection—what’s not to love?
If you’re looking for things to do on a long car ride, we’re here to tell you that the possibilities are almost endless. Here are some of our favorite road trip activities.
1. Tell Stories
If you’re on a long car ride with another person, telling stories about your lives can be an amazing bonding experience.
There’s just something about being in close quarters for long stretches of time that helps people be vulnerable with each other. And if you’re shy, the lack of eye contact—so drivers can keep their eyes on the road and passengers can avoid motion sickness—can be a subtle barrier that helps you feel more comfortable talking and listening.
Normally, a lack of eye contact would signal that you aren’t paying attention. But on a road trip, you can’t help but pay attention. You don’t need these signifiers.
So go ahead! Start talking about your childhood adventures or your biggest dreams. The only limit is your mind.
2. Break Out the Ultimate Road Trip Playlist
No road trip is complete without some great road trip tunes. So if you’re the one who gets handed the aux, it’s time to curate the perfect road trip playlist for the moment.
What mood are you going for? A fun road trip might call for Top 40 hits and heavy beats. Imagine the wind in your hair, belting along to songs everyone knows the words to.
For a more thoughtful, mellow vibe, some indie or acoustic music might be right for the occasion. And whatever the mood is, you can take the perfect audio from music videos, movies, and concert clips as long as you know how to convert video to audio.
3. Do a Little Cloud-Watching
Remember cloud-watching? For most of us, this was an activity we only really had the time and freedom for when we were younger.
But when you’re on a road trip that’s going to last for hours, you’ll have lots of time to look at the clouds. Try to spot shapes and odd creatures. Do you see any clouds that could be a good sign or an omen?
4. One of the Most Classic Things to Do On a Long Car Ride: Play Road Trip Games
We wouldn’t be able to put together this list without mentioning a true classic: road trip games. A quick web search or survey of your friends will give you lots of material to work with.
Love a simple game? Try ‘I Spy’! And for a more challenging one, you can go with the license plate game.
For games that don’t depend on the surroundings (for example, if concentrating on things outside makes you dizzy), 20 Questions and the alphabet game are excellent go-to’s.
5. Capture the Scenery At Your Stops
Taking photos and drawing sketches are both great ways to take in the road trip scenery. If you’re driving or get carsick easily, you can wait for a stop to do this.
Otherwise, doodle away at any point on the road. Psst—the driver will be a great model since they’ll be staying pretty still the whole time. And if you’re in the backseat, draw a sleeping seat-mate.
You can intersperse your sketches with little notes of your thoughts on the journey. And if you’re taking pictures, you can write notes on your phone. By the time the road trip is over, you’ll have lots of precious images to keep the memories alive.
6. Listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks
If you feel like you don’t have as much time for reading as you’d like in your day-to-day life, long car rides can be the perfect time to tune into some audiobooks.
And if you’re looking for something shorter (and often free), podcasts might be your new best friend. There are so many podcasts out there. Seriously—you can find anything from true crime to absurdist fiction to meditation to comedy!
7. Look Out for Landmarks
Before you get started on your trip, a fun thing to do is to look up which cities you’ll be driving through and see if you can find any interesting landmarks to look out for.
This way, when you’re out on the road, you can feel and see the time go by, crossing landmark after landmark off the list. You can think of this as the world’s most spread-out museum—just a really roundabout way to see some cool exhibits on the road.
8. Road Trip Snacks
If you didn’t already have one of the road-trippers on snack duty, you missed an important opportunity. Road trip snacks are one of the best parts about long car rides!
But no worries if you realized this too late. Just stop by a gas station convenience store and stock up! Get the things you wouldn’t normally think of getting—it’s all about making your group feel comfortable and happy on the road.
9. Immerse Yourself in Thought
This isn’t one of the activities people usually plan for, but it’s a common experience on long road trips. Some people solve big internal problems on these drives, and others happen upon ideas they’ve never thought of before.
So put on some relaxing tunes and let your mind wander. When was the last time you had this much freedom to just…think?
See You Out on the Road!
All this talk about road trips have us itching to get on the road too. There are so many wonderful things to do on a long car ride that the destination might not even be the best part.
So stop worrying about getting bored on your hours-long or even days-long journey, and start getting excited for all the things you’ll see. You might even find that this is the start of a beautiful bonding experience.
And for more tips on making travel fun, check out our other travel articles!