I’m not really a “it’s about the journey not the destination” kind of girl, at least in the literal sense. I like to get where I’m going quickly and find travel a bit tedious … OK, more than a bit.
Unfortunately for me, summer vacation is upon us, and with fun things like time off, summer internships and going on vacations with friends or family also comes long car rides. Because I’m the type of person who gets carsick easily, reading, watching a movie or even staring at my phone for longer than five minutes are off the table when it comes to entertaining myself.
If you share my aversion for traveling and have a sensitive stomach, here are some ways to make road trips more fun and enjoyable, whether you’re sharing the car with other passengers or driving solo.
Probably what makes a drive go the fastest for me is listening to podcast, after podcast, after podcast. They’re usually 45 minutes to an hour long and (depending on the source) are engaging and interesting to listen to. Really good podcasts also spark discussion with other people in the car, which can kill time even faster.
Here are some of my favorites — all available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts:
“Invisibilia” from NPR: A closer look at some of the invisible forces that shape our view of the world. The episodes include analyses of empathy, uncertainty, fear and more. While the subject matter may seem vague, the hosts use stories from real people to dive into the complexities of each invisible force to make the episodes very human and relatable.
Also from NPR, “Planet Money”: You’ll definitely learn something new when you listen to an episode of this podcast. It’s a show about the economy, and the small events that, ultimately, have a big impact.
“Serial”: Available on Apple Podcasts, Season 1 is a rollercoaster. It follows the story of Adnan Syed, a man serving a life sentence for committing a murder he claims he had nothing to do with. The host Sarah Koenig interviews and develops a relationship with Adnan from prison, all while poking holes in his testimony and the case against him.
While these “car games” may be simple, they’ll help everyone in the car socialize with each other and might create some fun memories as well.
Here are a few I think are fun:
Scavenger Hunt: Before you start driving, make a list of common things you’ll see on a drive. Whoever spots everything first or has the most at the end of the drive is the winner.
Celebrity: One person pretends to be a certain celebrity. Everyone else asks them questions and tries to guess who they are.
Spelling Bee: Have someone look up words on their phone and have your own vehicle-contained spelling competition.
Some other classics are I Spy, The Alphabet Game, The License Plate Game and Punch Buggy.
Once you get out of the flat corn fields of Ohio, the United States is very pretty! Whether you’re going out west or down toward the popular beach locations, you’re bound to see some beautiful scenery.
If you see something interesting, don’t be scared to stop and check it out. Pitstops for hiking or to explore tourist attractions are not only more fun than sitting in a car but also an opportunity to stretch your legs.
Now hear me out — even if you’re not a fan of musical theater, it has something most other music doesn’t — a story. A two-hour-long story if you’re willing to listen to a whole soundtrack. That’s two hours of a long drive gone, and you may even find yourself tapping your foot or bawling your eyes out a few times.
Here are a few of my favorites — all available on Spotify:
If you’re not the driver, I guess you could always take a nap, too. Happy travels!