17 Tips For Making Road Trips and Traveling More Enjoyable
Written August 19, 2009 Updated 2020
On roadtrips, I've rolled my car, crashed other peoples', killed lots of things, slept in my car, truck bed, on the rack, alone, with my dog, under the stars, freezing in ice storms and hot and sticky with mosquitos. And I've slept with one eye open more than once. I've learned a couple of things along the way that may or may not be of value to you and maybe not. One thing I'm sure of though is that you probably have a couple of tips of your own. Please share your tips at the end.
But I’m not the ultimate authority for roadtrip pleasure, but I DID LIVE IN MY CAR FOR QUITE AWHILE AND HAVE DRIVEN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES around almost the entire continent of North America... for pleasure and so I have picked up a few tips along the way. And I’m always learning new things. So, below are a few of my tips for making a road trip more enjoyable. I just learned the first one of this list on this current trip.
- We're driving from Texas to Seattle right now and then heading up to Alaska from there. Suzette packed in one suitcase, all the things that all four of us would need for 5 days on the road. Pajamas, changes of clothes etc. Now, instead of lugging in and lugging out all of our suitcases at each hotel, I just carry in one. All of the other suitcases stay in the truck until we get there and need our own suitcases. My wife is SOOOO smart.
- The person in the front passenger seat needs to put away their smartphone in the trunk or in their bag for at least an hour or two at a time so you can have good conversation and not have that stupid phone distracting. Don't be afraid of being bored or having silence.
- ALWAYS keep sunflower seeds with you in case you get sleepy while driving day or night. Your brain works on separating the seed from the shell and helps you stay awake for hours longer while the kids sleep.
- For driving, listen to Adventures in Odyssey radio theatre. It's GREAT for the whole family all ages and makes it fun during the boring scenery parts.
5. Drive the boring parts while the kids sleep. We live in Texas and so there are some boring parts. So, we leave at 4 or 5 in the morning so they can sleep for the first few hours of the trip. And it’s really nice and peaceful in the morning chatting with my wife and watching the sky change colors.
6. With kids, don't try to do too much or go too far in one day or it gets too tiring and the trip loses it's fun.
7. Spend more time in fewer places. We found that seeing how much we can do on a trip makes us feel like we need a vacation when we get home. And constantly loading and unloading the car at a hotel each night gets old quick. We try to stay 2 or 3 nights in each place minimum.
8. Don’t be in a hurry.
9. Explore roads off in the distance that go over hills. That’s how you find cool stuff.
10. Ask locals at the gas station if there is anything cool to see or do in the area. You’ll be surprised
11. Don’t plan too much. We went to Northern Arkansas one time and stayed in a little house with no cell reception. We had no plans. So, we went down to the creek and caught crawdads and dammed up part of the creek with rocks.
12. We once just stopped on the other side of a bridge over a lake where we saw kids jumping off short 5 and 10 ft. cliffs into the water. So, we joined right in. Still one of our best trips yet.
13. Even if you're driving in a Rolls Royce, take a roll of duct tape. You'll be happy you did.
14. If you're traveling with infants, crack the window slightly when they start getting a little fussy and the white noise will calm them down.
15. A white noise maker app is really great for making white noise so the kids sleep well and aren't cranky the next day in new places.
I'll add more later. I have to go now.