Road Trips Can Be Boring. Spice Things Up With a Few Simple and Quick Ideas

When’s the last time you were in the same car, with the same people, hour after hour, day after day, with only bursts of legroom to keep everyone sane? If you know what that’s like, you also know that people need something to keep them busy and/or connected, so here are some ideas.
VW Van on Road 11 photos
Photo: Dino Reichmuth via Unsplash
Airstream 2022 24X InteriorAirstream 2022 24XMini Pong Jr. ConsoleMini Pong Jr. ConsoleGirls on Old TruckBoys EploringAirstream and Pottery BarnAirstream and Pottery BarnAirstream and Pottery BarnRoad Trip
Growing up I had the opportunity to take long road trips with my parents as my dad drove an 18-wheeler (still does), and not a short range one at that. Our trips didn’t just last for days, they lasted for weeks. Naturally, we’d look for things to do in that small space.

Play Games

Let’s face it. Existence can be, well, boring. There, I said it! It's no surprise really, after all, we’re supposed to just be laying around in gardens, eating, sleeping, and enjoying life until, poof, no more life for you.

So, to keep things spiced up, humans have developed all sorts of games to pass the time in a more eventful way. From running round after rubber and kickable globes for 90 minutes (soccer), to simple trivia about what bird that may be, all of these are perfect for bringing people together.

Mini Pong Jr\. Console
Photo: Atari Inc
And during a road trip, the possibilities are endless. Sure, you may not be playing golf or tennis in your vehicle, but simple and fun games like guessing a song on the radio in the first ten seconds or spotting an animal in the wild and correctly identifying it, are just a couple of examples of easy to play games suitable for all ages. Try guessing vehicle makes and models, and even go as far as guessing the year.

Another valid option these days are electronic games. Nearly every phone includes an app store where you can download countless games aimed at group or single fun. Try that new Mini Pong Jr. console that just came out.


How do you think music was created? I know, that’s a silly question, but music seems to be as innate as banging a rattle against the ground for attention (wink wink). The number of activities you can engage in while on the road, with music at the center, is quite big.

The world is full of musical instruments. Big, small, with high and low frequency sounds, and countless shapes and styles. Out of all of them, there’s bound to be one or two you can bring along and jam out with the group. If the guitar is too big, try a ukulele or a harmonica.

Airstream 2022 24X Interior
Photo: Airstream Inc
If no one plays an instrument, musical fun can still be had. Just turn on the radio and start guessing songs. If radio isn’t your thing, take turns putting on songs from playlists you built before your trip. If you’re feeling confident, try singing along. We did a lot of AC/DC, Santana, and even Beach Boys on our trips.


The number one activity anyone can engage in is just plain old talking. It’s simple, it’s free, and just everyone can do it. But because the context is a bit different when taking a road trip, as you’re possibly stuck with each other for the next few days, I recommend allowing things to get deep.

Say the things you’ve been meaning to say and open yourself up. Some feelings may be hurt, but the road is long and there’s time to heal the wounds, so don’t worry too much. After all, they're family and friends.

Girls on Old Truck
Photo: Greg Raines via Unsplash
If it’s a group of people you normally don’t spend a lot of time with, all the more reason to get to know each other. Get to know fears, likes, wants, dreams, aspirations. Ask each other where you see yourselves in five years, maybe on the next road trip. That kind of stuff.

Alone Time

I’ll admit it if you won’t. There comes a time where you just need to be alone with your own thoughts. Out on the road, you can’t really leave the house or go to your room, unless you own a massive RV, so things like books or audio books, podcasts, and even the ol’ Netflix account, are all valid options to take some time off from the crowd.

Nowadays, plenty of resources exist at the touch of your fingertips via smart devices. Back in my day, I used to get away from my folks with a Gameboy, sometimes a pencil and paper (20 years later, they call me a writer), or even just sit and stare out the window at the passing scenery.

Be Spontaneous

What are road trips all about? Most would say about exploring and enlarging your horizons. One thing you can always do while exploring the lands, is to really explore the lands; go off the beaten track.

Boys Eploring
Photo: Marc Schaefer via Unsplash
Yes, be spontaneous. Take a dirt road over a ridge just to see how much further it’ll go. Stop the vehicle and explore the surrounding area as a group. Pick a flower, chase a lizard, and take a picture, even post it on Instagram or Facebook; nothing wrong with new memories and experiences.

All in all, the road is a perfect place to explore ourselves and the world around us, so try some of these ideas out and make your next road trip one that you’ll remember twenty years down the line.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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