ROAD TRIP! Here we go! It’s adventurous, explorative, and freeing. There’s just something so exhilarating about traveling…but after a few hours in the car by yourself, things can get a bit boring. Suddenly, your fantasy of it just being you and the open road is truthfully just that: you and a flat, straight road.
As a college student shuttling between home and school, I’m in the car a lot. So here are my tips to surviving a long road trip solo.
When do you not listen to music in the car? Listening to music is the most popular piece of advice people give for long rides. But, let me shake things up a bit and suggest listening to NEW music while in the car. Maybe an audiobook? Maybe a new album? Or an old CD? Somehow I find listening to new things that I normally wouldn’t have time to pay attention to can be really entertaining
Why not learn something while you’re in the car? Finding good podcasts can be difficult. When searching for a podcast, really try and find something that peaks your interest. Find a topic that you really just want to dive into. My deep dive topics tend to vary between art history podcasts, vegan podcasts, book podcasts, or social media analysis podcasts. But everyone is different! Find your niche! Always download the podcast before starting your trip just in case you lose cell service!
Make a phone call
I’m not kidding when I say: Now is the perfect time to call your chatty grandma. You have many hours, and you can just chat away without worrying about cutting them off. During a car ride, you actually have time to really listen to what they are saying. This is also a good time to call a friend or relative that you need to check up on. Say hello and make sure they are ok. *Note: don’t use your phone while driving. This tip mainly applies to a person with a car that they can talk through using apple car play or on speaker with Bluetooth.
You’re a college student. You have to study, but oh gosh you’re in the car. Of course, you can’t hold up your notes while you drive. However, I find it really helpful to practice a presentation or “talk through” your notes. Just ramble about what you are learning and you’ll actually start to see where your understanding of a subject is weak vs. strong. It is also a good time to memorize things.
Snack attack time! My father always said car rides are the best time for snacks. They just make the trip more fun somehow. This could just be a personal thing, but another perk of snacking light while on the drive is that you’re less likely to feel motion sickness by not eating a heavy meal.
If you don’t need to get somewhere by a deadline, try sightseeing the places you pass! You never know what small towns you may come upon. Stop by a local coffee shop, landmark, or shop to get a good sense of the towns around you!
Bring a Friend
Driving will always be more bearable with a friend. This may not always be an option which is why I put it near the end of my list, but it just helps to have another person in the car. They can sing to music with you. They can keep you in a conversation. They can even help feed you snacks while you’re driving (hey, gotta put the passenger to work somehow). One thing I would warn about bringing a friend- is making sure you’re bringing the right friend. You don’t want to bring someone who dominates the music, is overly chatty, or (my worst nightmare) the people who fall asleep while you’re doing the work of driving. I’m happy that some people have the ability to fall asleep in the car and get a good chance to rest. Good for you. But please, if you are the ONLY passenger in the car, try to stay awake to help entertain the driver.
Most importantly! Alternate these activities.
Yes! This is crucial. Don’t just do one, do many, and scatter them around. It helps keep the drive more interesting and not as sluggish. I hope these tips have helped! Good luck on you next long road trip. I support you adventurers. Of course, please be mindful and wear a mask when you travel. Drive safe and have a good time!