Thanks to Aerie Gray for writing this post about 5 Fun Ideas for Tweens and Teens on Long Road Trips inspired by a 5-day family spring break trip to Tucson, Arizona from Southern California. But that trip is not the only long road trip experience that Aerie Gray had to draw on. In fact, there was a period between the ages of 4 years old and 7 years old when Aerie was in the car A LOT on trips. Even though the same strategies don’t work today, we thought her photos from that age would make this post extra fun. Remember, she was those ages at the start of the smartphone craze so taking photos wasn’t actually as natural as it is today. But I, personally, love to see past trips through her camera lens. So – photo credit all goes to Aerie Gray.
When you’re on a roadtrip, after a while the drives get boring. Especially when you’re driving through the desert or fields. And after you’ve finished annoying your sibling or your parents to the extent of your abilities, you are ready to do something else. I’ve been on plenty of road trips with my family and I have a couple of favorite things to do (besides taking photos of myself when I was 5) to pass the time.
5 Fun Ideas for Tweens and Teens on Long Road Trips
1. Listen to Music. My favorite thing to do on a road trip is to listen to music. My own music, with my own headphones. I’m not sure if this happens to you, but my dad plays indie music which I most decidedly do not like. Right now, I’m into EXO and BTS, which my dad doesn’t like. So, if I listen to my headphones it’s the perfect solution and we aren’t arguing the whole drive. After years of searching, we found really good over the ear headphones that my parents can’t hear. So I can listen to music as loud as I want and my parents won’t bother me. Finding new music is really fun to do on trips, because you can have a whole playlist dedicated to that trip. I have a Europe 2016 playlist and a Roadtrip 2017 playlist. Whenever I listen to the playlist, I feel like I’m back on the trip, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad.
2. Read. Reading is another great thing to do on a long drive, although you do miss some of the scenery outside the window and windy roads aren’t good for reading. I love to read so this is also one of my favorites. If you have to read for your school over the summer or during a break, this is a great thing to do while you’re driving so it doesn’t take up your time when you want to be exploring instead of doing homework. You’re stuck in the car anyway. Yet another good thing to do, is to listen to audiobooks. You get to look out the window and ‘read’ at the same time. Some of my favorite audiobooks are Harry Potter (the guy who reads them is amazing), Ella Enchanted, and Igraine the Brave. There’s a section in your local library that has audiobooks that you can check out. Or, if you have a electronic device and a library card you can download OverDrive and check out ebooks and audiobooks from there. Audible is another resource for audiobooks, but you do have to buy them.
3. Drawing. Creating artwork is another fun pastime. Sometimes it’s really hard to do in the car, but even if you’re not that good of an artist you can watch draw-along videos. I always need to have a purpose for my artwork or projects, so you could make cards for members of your family. Birthday cards and thank you notes are always a good project. Plus, you can get ahead of the game so your parents don’t bug you about it when it’s the time for birthdays.
4. Daydream. I usually daydream on car drives. Looking out the window, you can make up outrageous stories about things you see. When I was on a drive with one of my friends we saw an old bank. Weirdly (and scarily) we started to imagine a plan to rob that bank, totally joking. We had a list of all the people we were going to use and what supplies we would need. You might be completely freaked out right now, but it was so fun to imagine. If you just have that conversation in your head, I’ll guarantee it’ll be fun. I’ve seen the ocean crash against rocks and imagined a ship wrecking on the rocks. Daydreaming is a fun thing to do when you’re listening to music, too. That way you don’t get distracted or pulled into the conversation.
5. Games with the Family. Even though when you’re playing games, you have to interact with your family, they’re still fun to play. Some of the games are classics, like I Spy or Two Truths and a Lie. Some of the games we play now are more innovative and based on improv since my brother and I are into drama and theater. There’s games like The Dating Game (which I call the Friendship Game) or One Word At a Time.
I’m writing another blog post on the games you can play, which will be out soon!
As you can see, there are many ways you can entertain yourself on a car drive. Even then, you may get bored after eight hours. In this situation, I advise you to text your friends. Briefly connecting with friends has helped me contain my boredom many times!