Hi Everyone, 

Our little family just took a 43 hour road trip from the West Coast to the East Coast. Needless to say, it was super exhausting but I think we did our best to make things go smoothly. I think by now we have our own routine going on when it comes to road trips. I am not saying we are experts but we love jumping in the car and driving around. Our favorite road trip so far was The Pacific Coast Highway Drive in California. My husband drove the Arizona – Chicago distance 25 times in the past eight years. He might be an expert. 

Even though this recent trip was a little more complicated to organize because we were moving, we do have some things that have been helping us during our road trips. I thought I would share them with you, just in case they can help you too in the future.

TIPS TO MAKE A LONG ROAD TRIP EASIER

BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT

  • Most people are not car specialists so if you don’t wanna get stuck in the middle of nowhere not knowing what to do, take your car to the shop and get it checked! Make sure you check the tire pressure and that you do have a spare tire in your car that is ready to go.
  • Check on the map or Google Maps on where you are headed and write down the main roads that you have to take. Get familiar with your trip before you head out.
  • Buy a car charger and an AUX cord
  • Download helpful Apps for navigation and road support (see the apps below)
  • Get some snacks, drinks and pack sandwiches. It is easier to eat healthier on the road when you pack your own snacks and it also helps you save some money.
  • Plan some fun stops along the way. You can look at these as mini trips! Something to look forward to every once in a while!

FOR YOUR COMFORT

  • Pack some blankets, comfortable socks and pillows for your passengers or when you switch drivers. This will also make it easier for you to take a nap in the car when you are driving by yourself and you have to stop at a rest stop to rest.
  • Make sure you have one roll of toilet paper, paper towel, wet wipes and hand-sanitizer with you. 
  • Pack a set of change of clothes in case you have to change your tire in the rain or you spill a drink all over you. (Or if your dog gets sick on your lap. Been there, done that)

FOR YOUR SAFETY AND NAVIGATION

  • Have a flashlight and a first aid kit packed in your car
  • Apps that can be helpful and we love using:
    • WAZE – Community based GPS. The BEST thing you can have since sliced bread 😀
    • iExit – An amazing Interstate Exit Guide
    • TollSmart – Toll expense calculator, so there are no surprises along the way.
    • GasBuddy – Find the cheapest gas prices along the way. Both USA and Canada!
    • Roadtrippers – Awesome sights along the way! Exciting mini stops! Plus restaurants and hotel finds!
    • Urgent.ly – Fast and safe roadside assistance 
    • Flush Toilet Finder – Do NOT underestimate the worth of this one 

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT – RADIO 

  • Turn on the radio, play music. I love Spotify and used it during this entire trip. You can download the free version but that one has some restrictions. If you want to use the paid version, there is a student discount if you are still in school!
  • Listen to Audio Books on Audible – $14.95/month, Free Trial for 30 days!)
  • PodCasts
    • The Moth is a pretty cool Podcast, sharing short 5-10 minute stories
    • NPR Podcasts – Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Car Talk are some of my husband’s favorites
  • Listen to Stand Up Comedy. That will keep you awake for sure! – My favorites are John Mulaney and Brian Regan
  • Call up family or friends and talk to them! Connect your phone to the speakers via Bluetooth or an AUX cord

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT – GAMES

  • 20 Questions
  • ABC Game – Going through the ABCs find one word starting with A then B then C…You might have to skip X and Q
  • Cow Game – You count the cows on your side of the road. Whoever gets the most, wins! However, you lose all your cows if you pass a cemetery on your side. Extra points for horses! 
  • Sorry, I am Late – One person goes: “Sorry, I am late, because …. (and the reason is a plot to a movie). Everyone else has to guess which movie was the person talking about. For example: Sorry, I am late because my ship crushed into a giant chunk of ice and my boyfriend froze in water, even though he could have fit next to me on that piece of wood I was comfortably camping out on… so what is the movie?
  • Father Owned A Grocery Store – One person starts saying: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples. The next person says: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples and bananas. The next person goes: My father owned a grocery store and in it he sold apples, bananas, and cucumbers. And so on. Great memory game! You can do it based on the ABC or to make it harder just with random things too.
  • Story Make Up – When someone in the car falls asleep, everyone else who is awake would make up a story to tell the person when he/she wakes up. The goal is to make the story crazy but believable enough for the sleeping person to believe it. 🙂
  • Have a journal with you! Write about what you see, feel and experience on your trip 

DOWNLOADABLE GAMES – Downloading option COMING SOON!

  • Travel Bingo – Download a free travel bingo here!
  • Travel Scavenger Hunt – Download it for free here!
  • License Plate Game – Download free sheet here!

WHEN YOU ARE GETTING TIRED

When you feel tired you should definitely find a place and stop. But I understand that sometimes you will get tired in the middle of nowhere and you will have to toughen out some time before you find a place to stay for the night.

These techniques have worked for us to wake us up a little bit:

  • Open window for some fresh/cold air
  • Drink water! Seltzer water works for us even better! We love La Croix!
  • Chew gum
  • Pinch or slap yourself! (I know, it sounds ridiculous but it does work)
  • Sing out loud, as loud as you can
  • Talk to the person next to you or if you are by yourself, talk out loud any way!

If you are just in need of a break but not planning to stop for the night just yet:

  • Stop and take a coffee break. Sit down in a coffee shop and relax a bit.
  • Do some stretching
  • Jog around the rest stop
  • Do some jumping jacks and squats. Get a workout in 🙂
  • Yoga in a rest area if there is a park

So this is it so far, I would LOVE to hear your input on this one. The more ideas we gather the more we can help each other out on those long and dragging road trips! 

Much Love!

Please share your ideas with us below! How do you prepare or make a long road trip easier?

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28 COMMENTS

  1. All great ideas!! Unfortunately most of the time I’m doing a road trip alone, at that point I just wanna get the drive done as quick as possible. No time for sightseeing haha However I’m definitely having a party in the car and sing as loud as i can 🙂
    Eventually I wanna do a road trip with friends where I can do some of these games. It must be nice not to rush to your destination but enjoy the road, make more stops and explore the world 🙂

    • Hi Kate, haha yes, I understand that. But lots of people like solo traveling so when you travel by your self, it could be fun to go and see some places too. But of course, it is different if you are in a rush! Road trips with friends are the best!

  2. Oh wow!
    What an awesome list!!!

    My favourite game was when one of us thought of something, sad 1-3 information about it and the other people had to find out. It could be anything. Usually we thought of cities, books, geographic places, scientists and biologics stuff.

  3. Én emlékszem azokra a hosszú utakra, amikor teli torokból, üvöltve énekeltünk zenés színházi darabokból. Lehetett hamis, vagy eltéveszthettük a szöveget, de jókedvű volt, hangos és megmozgatott. És a végén még nevettünk is. Szép emlékek.
    Szerintem, ha egy ilyen hosszú úton beszélgetsz a pároddal a jövőtökről, akkor nagyon sok jó ötlet jut eszetekbe, hiszen amíg a kocsiban vagy, nem figyelsz másra, csak rá. Ezek nagyon kreatív pillanatok.

  4. I’d add to have cables to jump start your car, especially if you’re driving to remote places. And, if you’re doing a lot of off-road, to have at least one spare tire and a tow cable. I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve needed each of these – especially when rallying in remote places.

    • Oh yes, that is a great point. We constantly have a jump and tow cable in our car though. I think that is something that is always nice to have, just in case you leave the lights on in the grocery store parking lot. haha been there, done that 😀

  5. About to get on a train for 9 hours across Java so I’m going to try some of these games with my travel buddy. I quite like playing the ABC game too, but trying to do it in a different language e.g. Spanish words beginning with a, b, c, etc. You’ll be surprised how much you know!

    • Hi Shannon! Oh, I love that! Such a great idea. I can make my husband practice his Hungarian!!! Why have I never thought about this? haha Have a wonderful and safe trip! 🙂

  6. These are really great tips, I think especially if you have kids. Several of those games I had never heard of, and the travel apps just got jotted in my travel notebook. Thanks so much! Pinned!

  7. We haven’t done a trip longer than 10 hours, but the sleep tips are very handy. My husband tends to be drowsy if he’s driving after lunch, so I will share these tips with him. The cartoons and pictures you added for effect are so cute!

  8. Great tips and really lovely illustrations using gifs. Especially the one with Jack Sparrow. Coming to road trips, I completely agree about having loud music and taking frequent breaks. The tip about sanitizer, toilet paper roll and wipes is definitely worth remembering.

  9. I came across this post at perfect time! Starting my roadtrip across Austria and Munich tomorrow with family and can’t wait to play all those games and have fun. Packing food for the trip is very essential since sometimes it gets difficult to find decent places to eat while on the road. I’m going to cross check every single tip you have mentioned to the post to make sure I have got everything for the roadtrip.

  10. Great tips and use of gifs lol. The tired little girl is so cute! 43 hours of road trip is tough – not sure I can stand it with the kids. For me, driving to the destination is still ok but it was the way back that got me (not so exciting to go back home!).

    • Hi Eve! We moved this time so there is no road trip back! That would a torture 🙂 My friend just moved from California to the East Coast as well, with her little son and they took two weeks to stop at places and camp out. I think with kids it is better to make lot more valuable stops on a super long road trip, like awesome places they can see and experience. I sometimes feel the opposite: it is nice to get home and lay down in our own bed and relax a little haha

  11. That’s really a complete list of things to take care for and ideas on how to make it less painful 🙂 We usually play a game where one makes up question.. like: Jo, tell me 5 players from the french national team… fruits starting with a M, European Countries etc 🙂 It’s pretty cool for the kids, keeps them thinking and learning!

  12. You know what? I’m really good at getting the snacks! I have recently gotten into the habit of making sure we have tissue and sanitizer for trips in general. I love your games and will be using some of them on our road trip starting tomorrow! I like the one about everyone making up a story to tell the person who is sleeping, so clever!

    • haha I LOL-ed at the: “You know what? I am really good at getting the snacks” part…Honestly, that might be one of my favorite things to do before a road trip. haha I get so excited about the delicious snack that sometimes I can’t even wait until the road trip starts and eat some of it the night before 🙂 The make up a story game is a lot of fun!! Have a fun road trip!:)

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