What to Do on a Road Trip

Ah, the classic road trip. Is there anything more American than hitting the open road with the people you love? Road trips can take you across the most beautiful landscapes and introduce you to some truly fascinating people. But that’s only if you don’t die of boredom along the way.

Here’s the thing: Real-life road trips aren’t like the ones you see in the movies. Unless you’re road tripping with someone who has a special knack for making life one big party, you need to have some activities planned to keep yourself from being bored out of your mind.

Not sure what to do on a road trip? Here are a few ideas to keep you occupied on your next adventure.

1. Download Podcasts

Anyone with a long commute will tell you that listening to the radio day after day gets old fast. Switch things up by downloading podcasts prior to your trip. You can ask your passengers what podcasts they recommend. Or, as the driver, you can take advantage of the unspoken rule of road tripping: The driver gets to choose what to listen to.

2. Plan Rest Breaks in Scenic Spots

Everyone needs to stretch their legs and use the restroom at some point. Why not do it in a place with a view? Use Google Maps to plan bathroom breaks in scenic places and interesting spots.

3. Go Camping

Step one: Find a beautiful campsite.
Step two: Get a rooftop cargo carrier and load it with all your camping gear.
Step three: Enjoy a night or two by a cozy fire, sharing laughs and s’mores with friends.

4. Live Out Your Foodie Dreams

Traveling through multiple states? Map out the best restaurants, food trucks, diners and bars in each state and try to stop at a few of them. To avoid getting hangry in-between stops, pack a cooler full of healthy, energizing snacks (think: cheese sticks and fresh fruit).

5. Stop at Random Places

Half the fun of a road trip is finding cool stops along the way. If you see a quirky shop or a weird roadside attraction, pull over and take a look! Stopping at these places is the secret to coming home with interesting stories.

camping travel road trip

6. Document Your Travels

As you get older, you may forget the little details of your travels. Don’t let those memories fade! Jot down your travel experiences in a moleskin journal. Prefer to type? Download a journaling app like Journo Travel and make sure that you never forget any aspect of your trip.

7. Go Off-Road

Got four-wheel drive and a sense of adventure? Ditch the pavement and explore America’s most scenic places on dirt and gravel. From Arizona’s Mojave Road to Colorado’s Alpine Loop Trail, there are plenty of exciting places off the beaten path. Before you hit rough terrain, be sure to keep your valuable equipment safe in a protective Pelican case.

Need a heavy-duty case for your next road trip? Shop Pelican cases at the official Pelican store.

8. Play Road Trip Games

Put down the phone once in a while and play some road trip games with your crew. If it’s just you and one other person, play a two-person game like 21 Questions or Two Truths and a Lie. Road tripping with multiple people? Bust out Cards Against Humanity and get ready for some laughs.

9. Prioritize Sleep

Getting a poor night’s sleep and driving for hours on end obviously don’t mix. Even if you're not the driver, make sure that you get those precious Zzzs. If you’ve been sleeping in cheap motels, consider splurging on a nice hotel just to get one good night of sleep.

10. Watch a Sunrise/Sunset

Watching a sunrise or a sunset is incredibly calming and makes for stunning pictures. While you’re bound to see a few sunsets on your road trip, you may need to wake up early for a sunrise. We promise that it’s worth it!

11. Have a Heart to Heart

Most people keep things light and fun on a road trip, but don’t dismiss the importance of deep conversations. Discussing meaningful topics can be a great bonding experience that brings everyone closer.

12. Create a Shared Photo Album

Taking lots of pictures on a road trip is sort of a given. Less of a given, however, is sharing those photos between your fellow road trippers. To maximize your memories, create a shared Google Photo album for your trip. Everyone can plop their pictures in the album so you can preserve your favorite road trip memories.

Having a Blast on the Open Road

In the movies, road trips are often portrayed as being effortlessly fun. But in reality, you may need to try a little harder to keep things entertaining on the open road. With these activities, you can find ways to pass the time and make incredible memories along the way.

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