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Road Tripping USA - Surviving Long Hours on the Road

Road Tripping USA - Surviving Long Hours on the Road

Cue the video footage of the typical American family in the 1950’s: happily singing along to songs together, brother and sister playing merrily in the backseat, and mom gladly helping dad with directions. Is this what your road trips are like? No? Ours neither.

From becoming your main means of transportation across country to a method to get to-and-from points of interest during a vacation, road tripping can sometimes be fun – but usually not. Here’s how to help you and your family survive long hours on the road.


Play Piece-less Games

Playing games is a great way to pass the time, but skip Uno and checkers. Find, bring, or make up games that don’t have any pieces. Playing games with no winners or losers is also the best way to avoid crying, backseat arguments over who is right. Try one of these child or adult friendly games on the road:

  1. License Plate Game: See how many different states you can spot a license plate from.
  2. I Spy: Have one player pick out something unique in the car and the other passengers can try to guess the object.
  3. 20 Questions: One person gets to pick something within a topic (try breakfast foods, clothing items, sports stars, etc.). The rest of the passengers can ask only a total of 20 questions to help them figure out the mystery.
  4. I’m Going on a Picnic: The first person starts out with the phrase, “I’m going on a picnic and bringing…” then chooses something to bring on the picnic that starts with the letter A (i.e. apples). The next person goes and says the phrase, plus the object that starts with A and adds a new object that begins with B. The game continues as players say the entire repetition phrase before adding their own item, going in alphabetical order from A to Z.


Stay Away From Stinky Foods

Staying away from stinky foods is a no-brainer when spending long hours on the road. To spare your passengers long-winded discomfort, avoid these foods:

  1. Hard-boiled eggs
  2. Tuna fish
  3. Fast food
  4. Smelly veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
  5. Raw onions
  6. Stinky cheese


Tuna fish sandwiches with hard-boiled eggs, onions, and Limburger cheese are definitely out. Opt for fresh fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and pretzels for easy snacking.


Set the Music Rules Early

Nothing is worse than spending the whole car ride arguing about the type of music being played. Lay some ground rules early, before the road trip even starts.

  1. Will the car ride be silent or can there be music?
  2. Who gets to choose the music?
  3. What type of music is going to be played?
  4. How will you play the music? (Radio, phone, iPod, etc.)


Don’t Talk to Strangers

While it’s one thing to make new friends on the road, it’s much different to talk to strangers and let them in on more info than they need to know.

Don’t tell people where you’re going, or how long you’ll be staying. It’s also smart to keep it vague when people ask where you’re from.

We tell our children not to talk to strangers, but it’s also an important rule for adults to follow, too. Scammers often target tourists; don’t let on that you’re unfamiliar with the town and your surroundings. Keep to the areas you know and are comfortable with.


Let People Back Home Know Where You Are

For a whole bunch of reasons, it’s a really good idea to let your family or friends back at home to know where you are and what you’re up to.

Checking in every few days can help give everyone piece of mind that you’re safe. From driving accidents to criminal issues, it’s important for people to know that you are safe.


Don’t. Get. Lost.

It should be your first order of business, but families often overlook their actual driving plans and directions. Have multiple means of finding your way.

While it may seem archaic, pack a few paper maps – you never know when your phone battery might run out. A portable GPS unit is also a good idea, too.

Check maps online before you leave for any major construction traffic or detours that will change your route or add on significant time. New travel apps can also help you to navigate the best route in case you do have to take a different way to get to your final destination.   


Successful road trips depend on the cooperation of all passengers in the car. By helping everyone to stay comfortable and safe, you can survive long hours on the road during your next road trip across USA.


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