Facing a long road trip can be daunting. Endless hours of highway can take a toll on even the most well-traveled individual. I have driven from my home state of Michigan to destinations like California, Florida and Wyoming. These trips have all exceeded 1,000 miles one-way, meaning days of driving. Over the past few years I’ve developed these simple tips to keep the road trip boredom at bay.
This is my favorite boredom buster. Listen to an audio book on your smart phone as you let the miles pass. Lose yourself in the adventures of your favorite fiction characters or a nonfiction book filled with the stories of real life people. I look for audio books at thrift stores, used book stores, library stores, and tag sales. You can buy them online through Audible.com, a popular audio book website with over 180,000 titles, or you might even be able to rent them through your local library.
It’s important to remember the old saying, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” Build in a little extra travel time so that you can get out and stretch along the way. As a rule, I try to stop every 2 to 3 hours. There are all kinds of interesting roadside attractions along most highways. Watch for signs or billboards or do a bit of research before your trip at RoadsideAmerica.com to find quirky things to see.
I’ve taken a last-minute exit to see manatees in Florida and the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Texas. Roadside attractions are normally free, have easy on/off highway access and allow you to take a solid 10- to 15-minute break to stretch your muscles and see some interesting sites. Stopping often also keeps driving fatigue at bay and helps keep your mind alert.
Load up your iPod, tablet or smartphone with your favorite music and belt out some tunes as you’re driving down the highway. Don’t worry, no one is watching, and if you are lucky, the others in the car will join in for some memorable musical moments.
I lean towards the classics from the 70’s and 80’s, but anything that is upbeat is worth adding to the list. Make it more interesting by having a playlist that only has songs that relate to travel. “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles, “Carolina In My Mind” by James Taylor, “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers, and “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson are a few to help you get started.
Play a Game:
Bring back the days of car rides with your parents and play a game. My favorite is still the ABC game. I almost always get stuck on X. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to find a sign in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Wyoming that read “XYZ You’re Welcome.” Genius! These need to be all over the place.
Other games include finding a yellow car (they are few and far between), finding all the states on the license plates of passing vehicles, or spot the wildlife. Spot the wildlife is exactly how it sounds: whoever spots an animal gets a point, most points wins. My daughter doesn’t let us count birds, but you can make your own rules.
Planning a road trip? Now’s a great time to review your car insurance coverage.
Deb Thompson is a food and travel blogger. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and prefers to spend winter in warm climates. When she’s not on the road, you’ll find her at home enjoying a good book, cooking up a delicious meal or planning her next adventure.
Deb is a guest blogger. All opinions are her own and do not reflect the opinion of The Hartford. The Hartford does not endorse or have any association with the products and/or services referenced.
Keep Reading: What Causes Traffic Jams and Car Crashes?