13 Things to do on a Road Trip for Fun & Help Pass the Time
Long road trip on the horizon? Perhaps you're heading out to hit some National Parks, soak up some beach time, or have a family gathering. But no matter the destination, it's worthwhile to have a car plan to make the drive pass safely and enjoyably.
That's why we've compiled this complete list of things to do on a road trip. So regardless of if you're hitting the road solo or with the whole family, read on to help plan your next car adventure.
Ideal for both drivers and passengers, a podcast is an easy method to learn something new on long car rides. There are almost infinite choices out there for any interest, so simply search and download before hitting the road.
Need some inspiration? A top podcast choice for any road trip is always Dan Carlin's Hardcore History – fascinating pieces of history woven into an engaging narrative always make the drive pass quickly.
A few additional suggestions are:
- Stuff You Should Know– Fascinating and informative topics
- Dateline– True crime
- Crime Junkie– True crime
- Let’s Go Together– Travel podcast by Travel + Leisure
Listening to a compelling story on audiobook is yet another of the best things to do in the car. From mystery to espionage to romance, there's an audiobook out there that will make you want to sit in the car just a little bit longer to finish a chapter.
If you’re looking for suggestions, check out these fantastic audiobook options:
- Mythos – read by Stephen Fry
- Cloud Atlas – multiple narrators
- Harry Potter Series – read by Stephen Fry
- The Body – read by Bill Bryson
- And for that special time of year: A Christmas Carol – read by Sir Patrick Stewart
Instead of powering through your entire drive in one herculean attempt with the occasional rest stop nap, try camping for overnight.
We guarantee you'll drive past plenty of campsites no matter where your road trip takes you. So, throw a second-hand tent in your car and plan a fun little side-trip to camp and enjoy the outdoors.
Searching for a campsite? Try looking at The Dyrt. This website (and app) is full of campsite locations for any corner of the country, making it easy to track down a spot in no time.
Pro Tip: Don't forget some blankets and food for your camping evening, along with a power source for your phone and other electronics. A Jackery Power Station is ideal for charging devices or powering your computer for an evening movie.
For the non-drivers, reading a solid book is one of the best things to do in a long car ride. Pick up a book, or several, from home or the local library. Alternatively, download several new books onto your Kindle or similar tablet, so you have plenty of choices.
If you’re looking for reading inspiration, some authors to consider are:
- Wally Lamb – Fictional drama
- Vince Flynn – Grisly espionage
- John Krakauer – True wilderness adventure stories
- Clive Cussler – Fun adventure with a seasoning of history
- Paulo Coelho – Best known for The Alchemist
If you have some restless passengers on your trip looking for fun things to do in the car for hours and hours, try setting them up with a movie or series. If your vehicle doesn't have a built-in entertainment system, a laptop or tablet will both work perfectly.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have a plan for powering these devices. Either an adaptor to plug in directly to the car, or (better yet) a Jackery Power Station so the devices can stay powered even when the car is turned off.
6. Language practice
Working on a new language is often overlooked but still among fun things to do on a road trip. Duolingo is an easy-to-use (and free) app with hands-on lessons for passengers to work on or short stories for drivers to listen to and practice.
7. Listen to a comedy show
A few laughs are the best road trip entertainment and your highway to making the drive pass quickly. Look up and download a few shows from your favorite comedian ahead of time, and you'll always have a surefire method to lighten the mood on your road trip.
To get you started, here are a few top comedians to listen to:
8. Research fun stops along the way
Road trips are all about exploring and traveling, so it makes sense that a fun thing to do on a road trip is making room for spontaneous adventure. Research your route ahead of time and find cool and unique side trips to break up the monotony of driving.
These stops can be fantastic parks, attractions, or famous ice cream parlors to keep the kids happy. Alternatively, they could be famous historical sites, museums, restaurants, or national parks along your route. Go ahead, be spontaneous.
9. Exercise and stretch
So overlooked but oh so important for long road trips. When you stop for gas or a pit stop – and especially when you finish for the day – take a few minutes to stretch and get the blood flowing.
If you’re wondering where to start, consider these stretches and moves:
- Touch your toes
- Pidgeon stretch
- Calf raises– a curb is very handy for this
- Jog around the parking lot
10. Window art for the kids
Are you traveling with kids and wondering what to do on a long car ride? Try window art. Invest in some removable window cling stickers or washable markers and let the kids spend hours working on their masterpieces. You're welcome.
11. Play 20 Questions
Fun and easy, 20 Questions is one of the classic things to do on a long car ride. Simply pick something, anything, and your co-road-trippers get to ask 20 questions to try and figure out what it is. Depending on your group, you can lay out some ground rules in advance – such as specific categories like animals, places, or foods.
12. Mad Libs
If you've never played Mad Libs before and you're wondering what to do on a road trip, this is it. These little game booklets are available at most book stores and are an absolute blast for kids and adults. All you need is a Mad Libs book, a pen, and a little imagination for hours of fun.
It’s hard to explain why, but most people seem to have their best ideas while driving. So if you know you have a long drive ahead of you, throw a notebook and pen into the car. If you're driving with your family or significant other, now's the perfect time to make some life plans or list future travel destinations and ideas.
If you're driving solo, jot down your thoughts when you stop for a break or gas. You may be surprised at the problems you can solve and the inspiration you can find while driving.
Bringing it together
Now you should never need to worry about how to have fun on a road trip. From what games to play to what to listen to, we've covered the absolute best things to do on a long drive.
So fuel up the car, pack the bags, snag a Jackery Power Station if you need it, and hit the road for a fantastic adventure!