How to Keep Yourself Busy on Long Car Rides

By Nicole Tinkham

We just got back from a long 18+ hour roadtrip from Philly to Bradenton, FL 2 weeks ago and here we are back on the road for a weekend getaway. Luckily this time we’re only going up to Ocala, a mere 2 and a half hour trip. We actaully make this trip quite often to visit my husband’s family so for the last few years I’ve been getting creative with my car ride activities. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with to kill your roadtrip boredom. Please note that my husband is almost ALWAYS the driver which allows me to do these things!

  • Crochet (or knit, or any similar hobby): This kills about 3 birds with one crochet needle. A – It keeps you busy for hours on your trip making the long drive fly by. B – If you decide to crochet on the ride, it’s most likely a hobby of yours already so you’ll have fun doing it. And C – You get something out of it in the end like a scarf or blanket which make wonderful inexpensive gifts! Crocheting on the way up to Pennsylvania resulted in a nice warm scarf for my husband (the one thing he had to keep him warm since he wasn’t prepared ahead of time and forgot his winter jacket). Anyway, moving on…
  • Read a book (IF your husband isn’t rockin out to heavy metal): I love, love, LOVE my Kindle! I have one of those old basic ones in black and white and no touch screen but dang does that battery last forever! I charge it up before I leave and it lasts my entire vacation. Plus you can find cheap, even free books so load up on a variety of books before you leave and you’ll have plenty of options for the car ride. You may want to invest in a Kindle light (which I don’t have but sounds like a good idea) for night travel. 
  • Phone or tablet: There are numerous apps and games out there to waste time (and for me that’s a lot of time wasted!). Some of my favorite games right now are Words with Friends, Plants vs Zombies, and of course the oh so popular Candy Crush (I’m not ashamed). Don’t forget to document your roadtrip with a ton of photos especially if you’re traveling through multiple states. I did this for our PA trip and then posted them on Facebook throughout the trip. My family loved seeing our travel progress! There are many ways to use your phone or tablet on your trip (like blogging) but use your battery life wisely or invest in a car charger!
  • Conversation: Some of the best conversations come out of long car rides! I mean, you’re stuck in the car together for an extended period of time, the perfect opportunity to grow closer together. Just keep the conversation positive. You don’t want to start off your trip with an argument.
  • Music: Nothing’s worse than being in a silent car for hours and part of the fun is putting together the roadtrip playlist. Have a mix of fun jams that you can sing along to and just have fun! On our Christmas trip up north we listened to the Duck Dynasty Christmas CD to help get us in the Christmas spirit. 
  • Snacks: If you’re anything like me, you live for food. Car rides are the perfect time to pig out on your favorite snacks! I suggest picking up your snacks of choice before you leave at the grocery store. Gas station food tends to be pricey and they may not have exactly what you’re craving. 
  • Play games: Many people play roadtrip games however, we’ve never really got into them. Maybe that’s because we don’t know many. Any suggestions? 
  • Lotto tickets: I took a roadtrip with my mom one time (Pennsylvania to Florida) and we stopped in each state to pick up a scratch off lotto ticket. I don’t think we won anything which is probably good since you can only cash the winners in the state in which it was purchased. This is a fun idea and you could win big!
  • Read funny signs: As you travel, you’ll probably run into funny sounding towns, rivers, bridges, and billboards. Be a kid again and laugh at these. 
  • Puzzles: Word searches, mazes, Sudoku, and crosswords are always a good time killer and easy to take on the go. There’s always an app for that if you didn’t have time to grab a puzzle book before leaving!
  • Dream a little: Passing through new states and cities makes you think of where you would love to live (ours is North Carolina). Think about what you would do if you won the lottery. Where would you live? What would your house be like?

Most importantly, have fun on your roadtrip. Many hate to travel but it’s not bad if you think of the travel time as part of your vacation. If you REALLY hate being in the car for long periods of time, just fly to your destination but I strongly suggest trying it out first. My husband and I loved our first long trip together!

Sources: Personal experiences 🙂

Please leave a comment of your favorite way to pass time in the car.


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