Car activities for a long drive

photo of a man driving along the coast
Tenasan/Creative Commons

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Back in my childhood, my family road tripped 46 states in the United States. Through a series of trips driving from one state to another, I experienced being stuck in the backseat of a moving car for awfully long hours. These car rides prompted my two sisters and me to play various games as well as come up with the most creative positions to sleep in the car. Maybe you love long drives or you dread them — whichever it is, here are some things you can do to enjoy your long trip with more comfort, fun and productivity!

Listen

A drive is a great environment to listen to songs, podcasts, audiobooks, the radio or even your company. You can download songs on your favorite music-streaming app beforehand to listen on the road without using up your cellular data, bring along a CD or turn up the radio from your car. Sing and let your body feel the beat — there’s no one to judge! I highly recommend listening to musical soundtracks, as the progression and storyline of each song will take you on a journey and keep you engaged. Other productive pieces to listen to are podcasts, audiobooks or the news. Or, if you’re feeling the need for a social or an emotional boost, have a deep conversation with your company or catch up with an old friend on the phone.

Create

Being in the car is a great time to hone your hobbies and turn them into production. If you like to sing, bring along a ukulele or go a capella to sing and create covers and compositions. If your talent is dancing, recreate TikTok dances in the back of the car! If you’re feeling poetic, bring along a notepad to jot down words and lines that the view outside might inspire. Otherwise, you can simply turn on the video camera and start speaking, vlogging and recording the moment to cherish memories of the drive. If you are the one driving, make sure to adjust the camera only when the car is stopped!

Eat

Arousing your taste buds and giving your jaws something to chew on can expunge your boredom. Grab your favorite snack for the road, but here are some tips for a mess-free snack session in the car: Bring a big container and set your snack, with the package, inside the container so that it can prevent spilling and is easier to leave on your lap. Also, remember to pack a trash bag for your wrappers and remains. Lastly, pack wet tissues in case of any spills and to wipe your hands before and after eating. My personal favorite road trip snacks are seedless grapes, red licorice, nuts and peach rings.

Play games

If you have company, you can spice up the mood with some competition. You can play word games, story games, memory games, listing games, pattern games or even games that involve the scenery outside the window. On our road trips, my sisters and I enjoyed playing “I’m going camping and I’m going to bring,” “I spy,” 20 questions, spelling bee, truth or dare, the “riff-off” from Pitch Perfect and finding “ABCs” in order on road signs, billboards and license plates. You can easily Google “road trip games” or come up with creative ones on your own.

Meditate

For those that are not driving, the repeating view of the gray road, green trees and blue sky can be relaxing to stare at. While everyone else is sleeping, use the opportunity to calm your mind and regain stability. Acknowledge the sound of the engine and the speed of the car whooshing past the wind and simply let everything be. If you’d like, you can also close your eyes and concentrate on the weight of your body against the car seat to empty your mind. For extra assistance, check out meditation guides, apps and audio files!

Sleep

Sleeping is another productive activity for those not behind the wheel. It’s a great way to get some rest and regain strength before you arrive at your destination. For neck support, it’s best to carry a travel pillow or crumple up a jacket, but if you don’t have those, try leaning your head on the top part of your seatbelt — it’s surprisingly comfortable. If you’re in the back seat, prop your feet up on the center console armrest to stretch out your legs, if those in the front seat don’t mind.

Hopefully, these activities and tips will make your next drive more comfortable and fun. Always remember to assist the driver in any way possible, and don’t hesitate to make stops. Cherish your moments in the car and have a safe trip!

Contact Eunkyo Jo at [email protected].