I recently went on a long overdue last minute trip to Alberta Canada to visit with a childhood friend. Her family is in the process of moving back to Ontario, so even though it was a fairly quick flight there, I knew I was in for quite the excursion back home making the trip by car (try over 3000km). The way we broke up the trip, it was a total of five days on the road, which is quite a long time to have to keep entertained.
If you have a long trip coming up where you're semi panicking over how you'll ever survive with your sanity, fear not! Here are five tips I've found handy from this trip, as well as other shorter, yet still painfully long car rides over the years.
1) If you happen to have an iPad, you're in luck.
Those beautiful devices hold a lot of entertainment on them. You can rent movies from iTunes, buy episodes of your favourite shows, purchase magazines, books, download games (most for free). There are so many options. Make sure to do this before you leave though. These all need wifi to download, and hotel wifi isn't always strong enough for this. I'd say this is especially true if you're at a random independently owned motel on the side of the highway.
Also set yourself up with a playlist everyone can enjoy and hook up to the car with bluetooth or an auxiliary cord. If you're the only passenger, there are a flurry of games for you to play, but if there are other passengers with you, you can also download multi-player games such as Monopoly. If you're not the owner of an iPad, you can also accomplish most of this on pretty much any smartphone. Just be sure to remember to bring a car charger!
2) Bring as many snacks as you think you'll eat.
It's handy to have a back up of snacks if you're feeling peckish, especially on stretches where any sign of human life is far and few between. Also buying ahead of time from the grocery store will save you money compared to buying at gas stations and convenient stores. Whatever you don't finish on the drive, you can save for another day.
3) Take breaks for your sanity and the sanity of those around you.
It's helpful if you can swap drivers through the trip too. Bathroom breaks are of course important, but also breaks just to stretch out are game changers. Depending on your route, there may be some scenic designated pull over areas. This is a perfect place to stretch, take a deep breath, and maybe take a road trip selfie or two.
4) Sleeping is a wonderful way to pass the time on a road trip.
You probably won't sleep for long periods at a time, but the movement of the vehicle is bound to lull you to sleep at some point. Before taking off on the road trip, decide if you'll need items such as a neck pillow to prevent waking up with a stiff neck. Bringing a little throw blanket could be nice to cuddle up with too, or you could bunch it into a makeshift pillow to place between you and the cold window.
5) Old school car games seem to be going out of style with the uprising of electronics, but they can be good fun.
The best part is that the driver can participate in these games as well such as eye spy and the license plate game.
Hopefully this list has given you some ideas for your next road trip whether it be with friends or family. If you have any ways you like to keep entertained that I haven't mentioned here, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!