So you’re embarking on a road trip!
Maybe you’re bringing your kid to college, maybe you’re going to see the world, or maybe you just have a really long drive with toddlers to get to your family’s house for Christmas.
These things to do on a long car ride are mostly great for the passengers.
The driver should always be concentrating on driving, and maybe taking part in some of the games listed where safe, but mostly, this is a list of what to do on a long car ride assuming you’re not driving!
Also check out these more extensive road trip tips for other ideas on planning your trip.
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1. Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts, which are usually about 30 minutes to an hour long or a bit more, are really great to listen to during a long road trip.
It’s sort of a halfway house between listening to music and listening to a book on tape, but you can find podcasts on any topic imaginable.
There are true crime podcasts, there are crafting podcasts, there are history podcasts, there are news podcasts, there are gardening podcasts.
Any interest you have is likely covered in a podcast somewhere, and they can be either completely entertaining, purely informational, or a mix of both.
2. Turn On an Upbeat Playlist
“Road trip playlists” are iconic because they’re awesome.
There’s no better feeling than sailing down the open road listening to favorite road trip jams like “Sweet Home Alabama” or some old school Taylor Swift.
Make a playlist for the whole car based off of everyone’s favorite songs, or just make your own playlist that you can put your headphones in for if the driver has it on boring talk radio.
One of my favorite things when I’m a passenger on long car rides is to have playlists that sync up to my mood and the weather outside, because there’s nothing that speaks to your soul as much as some ballads while the rain is falling down the windows and you’re reflecting on your life.
3. Read a Book or Listen to One on Tape
I get incredibly car sick when reading in the car, so I prefer to listen to books on tape, but whichever method you prefer, come prepared with your reading list.
This can be a great idea for kids who actually do have a school reading list they need to get through, or it can be just your personal reading list.
Sometimes, in the busy pace of everyday life, we always say we’re going to read, but never do.
But a long car ride is a great time to get some in!
4. Call Someone You Haven’t Talked to in Awhile
If everyone in the car has the same family or friends, it can be a great time to put someone on speakerphone or connect them to the car’s bluetooth if it has it and get some talking time in.
Maybe you haven’t talked to grandma in a while and you can all call her while you’re in the car, or maybe it’s a friend.
Whoever it is, reach out and use the extra time you have to catch up with people.
It’s something productive to do when you’re bored, and you’ll be connected when you hang up!
5. Research Things to Do in Your Destination
We’ve all got smartphones these days, which means you can do plenty of research on your destination on the way there.
This can be a fun activity for kids to keep them busy on a long car ride, as you can task each of them with planning out a day of your trip each or choosing a restaurant each if they’re old enough to use phones for research.
6. Play Road Trip BINGO
Go back to the old school things to do on a long car ride and play road trip BINGO!
You can download BINGO sheets or other road trip activity sheets and then everybody crosses squares off as they spot certain things out the window or various things happen in the car.
You can print out tons of BINGO sheets to have in the car for a spare moment, and come up with some sort of incentive or prize so the person who wins get to pick where to stop for lunch or something fun like that.
Yes, it’s old school, but honestly, sometimes we need to ditch the electronics and get back to pen and paper.
7. Use Your Phone to Play Games
Okay, and sometimes we should use our phones to the best of their abilities!
There are plenty of games on the phone like Words with Friends that you can play with each other in the car or get the kids to play together.
Obviously you can just play your games alone if you want, but it’s more fun if you get everyone involved in some sort of competition.
Need a breather?
There are plenty of meditation apps that will help guide you through a meditation, which are particularly good when everyone else in the car is asleep or quiet (besides the driver, obviously).
Close your eyes, lean your head back, and follow the instructions on grounding yourself and trying to keep your thoughts trained on the meditation.
9. Count How Many Cars Of a Specific Type You Can See
Need another game for the kids in the car?
Have them try and count how many of a specific type of car they can see, or a specific color, throughout your entire journey.
It gives them a constant reason to be doing something other than asking when you’ll get there, which is the real purpose of the game.
10. Watch a Movie or TV Show
From tablets to phones, we now have the capabilities to watch movies or TV shows on the go.
Load up your device with plenty of movies or TV shows that you want to catch up on and watch them while on a long car ride.
You can also get hanging organizers for the back of the car seats, so the people sitting in the back can simply pop their tablet into the holder, turn on the movie, and watch.
This helps from straining necks for hours on end.
11. Do Crocheting or Knitting
If you’re interested in any type of knitting that you can do with your supplies in the car, bring it along!
Obviously you won’t have access to a sewing machine, but you can still do hand stiching, crocheting, and some other hand-based crafts that aren’t messy and just involve yarn.
This could also be a great time to learn a new hobby if you haven’t yet, as you could bring the materials and learn as you go.
12. Eat Snacks or Meals
You’re going to need to eat along the way, but why not pack snacks beforehand so you don’t have to stop?
Make cute sandwich faces or colorful desserts or anything fun to eat, like a Lunchable, that will take up a bit of time and make eating on the road trip a fun event rather than just something that you have to do.
Put the snacks in a fun bento box like this to make it even more exciting.
13. Play Video Games
Portable video games have been people’s favorite thing to do on long car rides since they were invented.
From the Gameboys to the Nintendo Switch, get everyone a personal video game console and some games and go for it!
Typically, encouraging people to play more video games isn’t necessarily the best idea, but when you’re in the car for hours on end?
14. Learn a New Language
Wondering what to do during a long car ride?
Get cultured and learn a new language!
You can either put on a language learning app for the whole car to listen to, or you can do it individually if the rest of the car doesn’t share in your language learning