Planning a road trip for the whole family brings a lot of fun and excitement in the air. However, the trip itself before reaching the destination can be long and tedious. There will be long moments on the road that will require some imagination to get through, especially if you have kids with you.
This situation calls for some creativity, and thankfully, there are many road trip activities that you can do to keep the whole family entertained. How do you maximize the time spent on the road with your family? Here are some fun road trip activities that you and the rest of the gang will enjoy while traveling to your vacation spot.
1. Play some road trip games
- License Plate Phrase
This is a great way to keep everyone engaged. A person will be assigned to point out a specific license plate, and everyone else will try to create a phrase with each of the numbers and letters on the chosen license plate. Let’s say, RC9BBF—one of the players can then quip, “Ray climbed nine times blindfolded, Bob, followed.”
- The Category Game
Every passenger will take turns naming something in a category that starts with a chosen letter. For example, the chosen letter is “C,” and the category is food: cranberries, cake, cookies, crepes, chocolate, compote, and so forth.
The player who fails to think of another food item during one round will be eliminated. He/she gets to pick another letter, as the remaining participants continue to name things in the same category. Everyone continues to play until the last man is standing is declared the winner. Another round begins with the winner having the privilege of choosing a new letter and category.
- The Name Game
In this game, the first player says a name. The next participant will think of another name that starts with the last letter of the first name mentioned, and so on. To illustrate, if the first participant says Claire, the next one can say Edward, then the third will say Diego, and so on. Those who repeat names or are not able to come up with a new one will be out.
2. Prepare road trip goodie bags for the kids
Having restless kids in the backseat of a car during a long road trip can be stressful. You can keep them entertained by preparing a number of road trip goodie bags filled with small surprises: toys, portable games like cards, food or snacks, and more. The children will only be allowed to open one goodie bag hourly or every couple of miles, depending on your preference.
You can customize these bags according to your kids’ interests. However, if you do not know where to start, here are some suggested items that you can include:
- A coloring book
- Finger puppets
- Magnifying glass
- A small jigsaw puzzle
- A kaleidoscope
3. Make an activity tray for toddlers
Toddlers could be inconsolable when provoked or in a mood. Therefore, it is vital to keep them engaged if they have extra energy to spare. Another useful thing you can pack along with all your road trip essentials is a simple, easy-to-make chalkboard activity tray.
Simply draw an engaging activity that can keep them occupied—a maze, a racetrack for their matchbox cars, just about anything. When they get bored, the beauty of having an activity tray is that that they can easily erase what is drawn or written there and make up their own games or use their imagination to draw whatever or whenever they want to.
4. Laminate a map and have dry erase markers handy
This age-old question from bored kids (or adults, for that matter) often rings in a designated driver’s ears during long trips on the road: “Are we there yet?”
If you want to stay unplugged during your trip and not refer to GPS, you can laminate a map of your route and have the designated person use dry erase markers to track your trip’s progress by marking it on the map.
5. Print out a road trip scavenger hunt checklist
Doing a road trip scavenger hunt requires only a prepared checklist of random things. Every time a passenger sees one of the things on the list, they can mark the box next to the listed item.
6. Play road trip-friendly movies
Watching a movie is a great way to pass the hours while on the way to your destination. If you do not have a built-in screen in the car, you could set-up your iPad or have a portable DVD player to keep everyone entertained.
7. Curate your playlist
During a road trip, not every moment will be filled with laughter and activities. In moments of minimal interaction or quiet time, good music is always a good companion for travelers by land, air, or water.
If you are aware of your passengers’ music preferences, try to put a song that appeals to their tastes and throw in your favorites. Music is a good way to connect with other people, wherever and whenever possible.
8. Pack a varied selection of snacks
If you fear having crumbs and bits of food all over the car once the kids start snacking, you could minimize this possible mess by using pill organizer boxes. These containers have separate lids that allow you to categorize food items, which reduces the possibility of spillage and cookie crumb showers inside the car.
9. Charge your devices
Minimizing screen time may be a concern, especially for kids. But sometimes, very long road trips may require some major technological intervention so that everyone can sit through the hours-long trip. Keeping your devices charged is always a good idea, especially when you know that you will be traveling far.
10. Get creative with whiteboard markers
Your windows can be used as canvasses for creative passengers. Make sure that the ones you buy and pack for your trip are not permanent markers, just dry-erase ones. A pair of gloves will come in handy for erasing the temporary art (or mess, whichever way you choose to view it) on your windows.
Make your journeys fun and safe.
You now have a wealth of ideas for keeping weary passengers entertained during a road trip. But remember that the best preparation you can do to ensure a fun and, above all else, safe travel is to maintain your car or RV if that’s what you will be using. Check out these RV essentials to help you get started on prepping your RV for the trip ahead.