How to Make Road Trips Fun: Travel Tips & Tricks

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Road trips can be exciting but can also become monotonous and boring. Read on for some tips and tricks to make road trips fun!

With some creativity and preparation, you can turn your road trip into a memorable experience. Regardless if you take a spring trip to the Smoky Mountains or a fall adventure in Acadia National Park, the options for road trips are endless.

Consider the scenic route when planning your adventure. Make some fun stops along the way: Look for interesting attractions, scenic viewpoints, or local restaurants that you can visit.

Long road trips provide the perfect opportunity for fun travel activities that go beyond traditional games.

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The open road stretches ahead of you are filled with endless possibilities.

Whether traveling to a distant destination or exploring the hidden gems of your backyard, a road trip can be one of the best ways to create lasting memories and strengthen your bonds.

But how do you make the most of those hours on the highway? How can you turn a long car ride into an unforgettable experience for the whole family?

Continue on for fun things you can do on a road trip, from classic road trip games that will keep everyone entertained to engaging travel activities that make the journey as enjoyable as the destination.

Whether you're traveling with your best friend, your family members, or even just yourself, we've got you covered.

Creating a Playlist

No road trip is complete without a good playlist to keep you entertained and energized. Creating the perfect playlist can be fun and exciting, helping set the tone for your trip.

Here are some tips to help you create a playlist to make your road trip unforgettable.

Music Selection

When selecting music for your road trip, consider the tastes of everyone who will be in the car. You don't want to create a playlist that only you enjoy. Make sure to include a variety of genres and artists that everyone can enjoy.

One way to create a balanced playlist is to assign each person in the car a certain number of songs to add to the playlist. This way, everyone gets to contribute, and you end up with a playlist with something for everyone.

It's also a good idea to include some classic road trip songs that everyone knows and loves. These songs help set the mood and create a sense of nostalgia for past road trips.

grayscale photo of man and woman leaning on vehicle
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Podcasts and Audiobooks

If you're not in the mood for music, consider adding some podcasts or audiobooks to your playlist. This is a great way to learn something new or get lost in a good story while you're on the road.

There are countless podcasts and audiobooks, so research to find ones you'll enjoy beforehand. You can also ask your fellow roadtrippers for recommendations.

Just make sure to take breaks from listening to give your brain a rest and to engage with your travel companions. After all, road trips are about making memories and having fun together.

Graphic showing pages to a Free 'Boredom Buster' Ebook - Tips for Turning Long Drives into Fun, Engaging Journeys.

Car Games and Entertainment

Road trips can be long and tedious, but they can also be fun and exciting with the right entertainment. Here are some car games and entertainment ideas to make your next road trip a blast.

Classic Road Trip Games

Classic road trip games are a great way to pass the time and bond with fellow travelers. Here are some of our favorites:

  • I Spy: One person chooses an object they can see and says, “I spy with my little eye something that is [color/shape/etc.].” The other players take turns guessing what the object is until someone gets it right.
  • License Plate Bingo: Spot license plates from as many states as possible. Keep track of the states you find and see who can find the most.
  • 20 Questions: One person thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the other players ask yes-or-no questions to guess what it is.
A young boy in a red shirt sits in a car seat, focused on playing a handheld video game. He is secured with a seatbelt, and the car interior is visible in the background.
nick's new diversion in the car – playing video games – DSC01894” by sean dreilinger is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tech-Based Entertainment

If you're traveling with a smartphone or tablet, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained. Here are some tech-based entertainment options to consider:

  • Podcasts: Download some of your favorite podcasts to listen to while on the road. The podcast options are never-ending whether you're into true crime, comedy, or politics.
  • Music: Create a playlist of your favorite songs or albums for the road trip. You can also use streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music to discover new music and create custom playlists.
  • Movies and TV Shows: If you have a tablet or laptop with a good battery life, you can download movies and TV shows to watch on the road. Just make sure you have a way to prop up your device so everyone can see the screen.

With these car games and entertainment options, your next road trip will surely be a success.

Take Stops for Photos

Taking stops for photos is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a road trip. Not only does it give you a chance to stretch your legs, but it also allows you to capture memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your photo stops.

Photo Journaling

If you love to take pictures, consider starting a photo journal for your road trip. Photo journalling can be a physical journal or an online blog where you document your journey through photos and captions.

Not only will this give you a creative outlet, but it will also allow you to look back on your trip with fond memories.

A travel journal cover featuring various travel-related elements including a compass, a vintage bicycle, a ticket stub, and world map graphics. The design has a nostalgic feel, evoking the spirit of adventure and exploration.
My Travel Journal” by Vajrasattva is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Travel Journaling

If you're not into photography, consider starting a travel journal instead. This journal can be a physical notebook or an online blog where you document your trip through written entries.

You can write about the places you visit, the people you meet, and your experiences. The journal will help you remember your trip and give you a chance to reflect on your experiences.

When taking stops for photos, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Don't rush through your photo stops to get to your next destination.

Take the time to appreciate the beauty around you and capture it in a way that will allow you to relive the moment years later.

Detour to Off-the-Wall Destinations

When you're on a road trip, getting caught up in the destination and forgetting about the journey is easy. But sometimes, the best memories are made when you detour to an off-the-wall destination. Here are a few ideas to make your road trip more fun:

Visit Quirky Attractions

One of the most fun things about road trips is discovering quirky attractions. From the world's largest ball of twine to a museum dedicated to mustard, there's no shortage of oddities to explore.

Search online to find the most unique attractions in the area. We really loved all the fun attractions along I-94 in Minnesota and North Dakota!

The worlds largest buffalo is just one of the many I-94 road trip in MN &ND stops to consider making!

Take Scenic Byways

While highways may be the quickest route to your destination, they're not always the most interesting. Consider taking a scenic byway instead. These roads often wind through beautiful landscapes and offer stunning views.

Plus, you'll have the opportunity to stop and explore small towns and hidden gems along the way.

Try Local Food

Road trips are an excellent opportunity to try new foods and flavors. Instead of sticking to chain restaurants, try out local eateries. You never know what delicious surprises you'll find, from roadside diners to food trucks.

Ask locals for recommendations or use apps like Yelp or TripAdvisor to find the best spots.

Taking a detour to off-the-wall destinations will add a sense of adventure and excitement to your road trip. So, don't be afraid to stray from the beaten path and explore all the unique experiences the journey offers.

Collect Something Unique

One way to make your road trip memorable is to collect something unique. Collecting something can add more fun to your trip, whether a specific type of souvenir or a random item that catches your eye.

To start, think about what you enjoy collecting. Maybe you love postcards, magnets, or shot glasses. Or perhaps you're more interested in quirky items like vintage license plates or unusual rocks.

Whatever it is, plan to look for it at each stop you make. My family likes to purchase Christmas ornaments or socks!

A man walks through a gift shop with racks of postcards and other souvenirs on display. The shop has a warm, inviting atmosphere with wooden floors and well-organized merchandise.
Bryce Canyon National Park Gift Store” by faungg's photos is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Another idea is to challenge yourself to find something unique in each location you visit. This scavenger hunt can be fun, allowing you to explore new areas and discover hidden gems.

For example, you could try to find a local food item or a unique piece of art. The more weird, the better…right?

Remember, collecting something unique doesn't have to be expensive. You can find great items at thrift stores, roadside stands, and gas stations. Keep your eyes open and be willing to take a chance on something new.

Collecting something unique can be fun and rewarding, making your road trip more memorable. So, start thinking about what you want to collect, and get ready to hit the road!

Packing Essentials

Packing the right essentials can make all the difference when going on a road trip. Here are some items you should consider bringing for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.

Snacks and Drinks

Packaging plenty of snacks and drinks is important to keep you up during the trip. Consider packing a mix of healthy snacks to satisfy all cravings. Some great options include:

  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Fresh fruit
  • Chips
  • Beef jerky
  • Bottled water
  • Sports drinks
  • Soda

Bringing a cooler along can also help keep perishable items cold and refreshing.

Here are some Fast and Easy Snacks and Recipes for Road Trips!

Comfort Items

Long hours on the road can be tiring and uncomfortable, so it's important to pack items to make the trip more comfortable. Some essential comfort items to consider include:

  • Travel Pillow and blanket
  • Eye masks
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes
  • Portable phone charger
  • Car charger for electronics
  • Travel-sized toiletries

Packaging these essentials will prepare you for a fun and comfortable road trip.

Tip: Don't forget to prep your car for the road trip! Also have you pondered if long road trips are bad for cars?

Two smiling passengers sitting in the backseat of a car, enjoying a scenic road trip with a view of green fields outside the window.
Road trip with the family” by Kai Hendry is licensed under CC BY 2.0

FAQ's: How to Make Road Trips Fun

What are some games to play during a long trip?

Road trips can be long and tedious, but playing games can make them more engaging. Some classic games perfect for a long drive include the license plate bingo, I Spy, and 20 Questions.

You can also try playing word games like the Alphabet Game or Name That Tune.

How can tweens stay entertained on family road trips?

Tweens can stay entertained on a long car journey by bringing their favorite books, magazines, or a video game. They can also listen to music or audiobooks, play games on a tablet or phone, or draw.

Another fun activity for tweens is to create a travel journal or scrapbook to document their trip.

How can younger children be entertained on cross-country trips?

Younger kids can stay entertained on a long car journey by bringing their favorite books, coloring books, and washable markers.

Another option is educational apps – from mathematics to languages to world geography; these apps can turn your car into a virtual classroom.

What are some fun activities for adults on long car trips?

Adults can have fun on a road trip by listening to podcasts or audiobooks, playing trivia games, or taking turns telling stories.

They can also bring a camera to take photos of interesting sights along the way or plan stops at local attractions or restaurants.

A young child sitting in a car seat, intently reading a brochure or magazine during a road trip. The child is absorbed in the content, showcasing an educational or entertaining moment while traveling.
Reading in the Car” by mhaithaca is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

How can you enjoy a road trip without using electronics?

If you want to enjoy a road trip without using electronics, you can bring along a book or crossword puzzle, play games like cards or travel-sized board games, or try out some creative writing or drawing.

You can also talk with your fellow passengers or take in the scenery.

What are some creative ways to pass the time on a solo road trip?

On a solo road trip, you can pass the time by listening to podcasts or audiobooks and creating a playlist of your favorite songs.

You can also stop at local attractions or scenic viewpoints, take photos, or keep a travel journal to document your journey.

Final Thoughts: How to Make Road Trips Fun

With the right combination of entertainment, snacks, and preparation, a long car ride can be transformed into an unforgettable adventure.

From classic road trip games like License Plate Bingo and Mad Libs to engaging travel activities such as a scavenger hunt at a rest stop and coloring books, there are endless ways to keep yourself and your fellow passengers entertained on the open road.

Let the open road guide you to unforgettable experiences in national parks or charming small towns.

Road trips are the perfect time for making lifelong memories.

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Tips for making road trips fun: Smiling woman sitting in the passenger seat, enjoying a sunny drive with a friend.
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