If there's anything I hate most about the holidays it's driving for extended periods of time to see family, and it doesn't help that I'm now living four hours (on a good day) away from home. Unfortunately, I've been a roadtrippin' gal for most of my life so I've both come to despise long car rides and master the art of self-entertainment. I now plan to share my knowledge with all of you who have long trips home this Christmas.
1. Listen to an audiobook/podcast.
I find that listening to people talk is way more entertaining than listening to a song I've heard multiple times before. Podcasts are great because they're free (with my personal, nerdy favorite being MuggleCast) and audiobooks are now popular (and easily accessible) across many platforms. These are great alternatives to reading in the car, for those of us who are prone to carsickness. (Hint: a lot of podcasts offer discount codes for audiobook subscription accounts, such as Audible.com. Shows like MuggleCast offer a free month of Audible which allows you to listen to as many books as you possibly can without paying a dime).
2. Play a competitive game.
Car games, for the most part, were invented for the hyperactive child, but nothing quite beats a competitive, long-drawn game that will keep people on their toes. Something like "zap-dog" or "punch buggy" are great games for those of us who don't like to allot a certain amount of time on the road to play Eye Spy. How do you play these games? Every time you see a dog in a car/Volkswagen bug, yell the appropriate phrase (the titles) and punch the closest person to you. Make sure to count how many times you see these things and yell these phrases. Whoever has the highest score wins. Make the stakes even higher by placing a bet (paid in Starbucks coffee, maybe?).
3. Use your hands!
I find that keeping my hands busy is a huge help when sitting down for long periods of time. My personal favorite is knitting but crocheting, or possibly even origami, work as well. These are all fairly simple crafts that don't require a lot of brain power or supplies. I wouldn't suggest trying one of these crafts for the first time while traveling though, because you'll either end up extremely frustrated or in a pile of your own vomit.
I envy those who can easily read in the car (I usually have to down a bottle of Dramamine). Reading is a great past-time, especially when you have the right book/magazine. Kindles are even better for the traveler since they're less weight on your shoulders (quite literally).
5. Watch a movie/TV show.
Long road trips are basically the ideal time to binge-watch shows and movies without feeling guilty about doing so. To avoid pricey Internet fees, download movies and shows you want to watch onto your iTunes library so you can easily watch them without using WiFi.
6. Practice your lines.
This one's for my theatre majors out there, because you ALWAYS have lines to rehearse. I can't tell you how many times I've practice (and learned) my lines while on the road. (I would not advise doing this while driving, unless you are completely off-book. It can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it.)
7. Call a friend.
Though this can be dangerous while driving, it makes driving alone a lot better. Just don't get too distracted and don't talk for too long.
8. Stop at cool landmarks.
While traveling, you're guaranteed to pass some kind of significant landmark. You many want to search ahead of time so you know when and where you should to stop. This is a great way to stretch your legs and learn something new at the same time! (It also gives you an excuse to stay out of the car for as long as you can.)
9. Look up historical information about the cities and towns you drive through.
This is a great activity for a trip with more than one person. Even if you've traveled the road multiple times (*thrusts hand in air*), aren't you at least a bit curious about all the towns you pass on your way? Try to find some cool info about them to fill the empty space in your brain. Want to make it even more entertaining? See who can find the coolest facts.
Some of the best advice I've ever been given regarding traveling was bestowed upon me before I left for my 24-hour voyage to Australia this past summer. You basically have to accept the fact that you're stuck in a seat for hours at a time--embrace this. Use this time to pamper yourself and relax. If pampering yourself means falling asleep with drool rolling down your chin, go for it. If pampering yourself means putting on a peel-off face mask, do it. Take this time to simply relax, slow down and unwind because wherever you're headed, you're almost guaranteed an exciting--yet exhausting--time.
Lead Image Credit: Columbia Pictures