How to Road Trip

In a few days, my friends and I are going to be driving from Rochester, NY to Darby, PA for a Fleet Foxes concert (if you want to see them visit: for the Darby show OR to find a show near you). There are going to be five of us in one car, not terrible for a 6-hour car trip, but not the best. Here are some ideas for how to make your road trip as fun as it can be in close quarters.

1.) Comfort – First of all, you want to make sure that everyone is comfortable, or as comfortable as possible. There is nothing worse than that one person who is complaining because they feel too squished the whole ride.

“My legs hurt! Can you move over? It’s too hot! It’s too cold!”

Everyone should have an equal amount of space and enough legroom. Another thing to try is to switch places in the car everyone 2-hours. This allows for some stretching time and mixes things up a bit.

2.) Food and Drinks – People are likely to get hungry, especially on road trips, and stopping to get food at rest stops can get expensive. Rather than opting for fast food, try packing some snacks beforehand. Trail mixes are the best because you can make them yourself. As for drinks, bring a lot of water. Cars get nice and warm when there are a bunch of people crammed inside. If some people do not want water, then buy some instant drink mixes like Kool-Aid or Minute Maid Lemonade. Pour them straight into the water bottles, shake, and drink. Make sure that you have a cooler in the trunk so that the drinks can stay cool. Try bringing some fruit, both fresh and dry. Making sandwiches is a good idea too. I would suggest asking everyone to make their own since some people do not like ham, or turkey, or cheese…or even bread.

Another idea when it comes to food is to eat breakfast or lunch (depending on when you leave during the day) before hitting the road with the entire group. It is nice to be able to sit down at a restaurant or diner with your friends. This is the perfect way to get amped up for the trip! A place I like to go before I leave Rochester for a road trip is the Charbroil Restaurant. This little diner makes really great pancakes! The place is normally pretty full on the weekends, but during the week there are many tables open.

3.) Gas (gasoline, not the bloated kind) – Everyone should pitch in for gas! The cost for fuel can be incredibly expensive, and it gets annoying for the driver to always be the one to pay. This also goes for driving. If the owner of the car is comfortable letting others drive, then drive. Splitting up the driving allows everyone to rest and makes the trip a bit easier for everyone.

4.) Music – Unless everyone likes the same kind of music, then you will probably have some music issues. Normally, I let the person who is driving pick the music, since he is the one who needs to concentrate on the road. Another fun thing to do is to make a playlist for the entire road trip. The Jet Packer offers some good ideas along with NPR. Coming up with your own can be just as fun. The right music can make the time pass quicker, can encompass the freedom of the drive, and can just be fun enough that you sing out loud. Try looking on iTunes Essentials for a good compilation of the perfect road tripping songs. When making your playlist, make sure to add variety and make it fun and interesting to listen to. You want people to laugh and smile when they hear the songs. Old songs are fun because once people remember what they are they will start singing. Try to capture the feel of the land and the atmosphere.

Here is what I came up with: (First is the song, then the artist)

1) Monsters: Hurricane Bells,

2) Ruby: Kaiser Chiefs,

3) Conversation 16: The National,

4) The Travelin’ Song: The Avett Brothers,

5) I Want to Break Free: Queen,

6) You Only Live Once: The Strokes,

7) Little Bit: Lykke Li,

8 ) The Suburbs: Arcade Fire,

9) Daylight: Matt and Kim,

10) Home: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes,

11) Summertime: Janis Joplin,

12) White Blank Page: Mumford & Sons,

13) When You’re Falling: Afro Celt Sound System,

14) Subterranean Homesick Blues: Bob Dylan,

15) I Think I See the Light: Cat Stevens,

16) Two Weeks: Grizzly Bear,

17) Somebody to Love: Jefferson Airplane,

18) Hard Sun: Eddie Vedder,

19) The Good Times Are Killing Me: Modest Mouse,

20) Bennie and the Jets: Elton John,

21) Light My Fire: The Doors,

22) Vagabond: Wolfmother,

23) The General (Live): Dispatch,

24) White Knuckles: OK Go,

25) Still Rock and Roll To Me: Billy Joel,

26) Another Sunny Day: Belle and Sebastian,

27) Dream On: Aerosmith,

28) Come On! Feel the Illinoise: Sufjan Stevens,

29) Champion Angel: The Low Anthem,

30) Ticket To Ride: The Beatles,

31) Helplessness Blues: Fleet Foxes,

32) Just (You Do It To Yourself): Radiohead,

33) Holland,1945: Neutral Milk Hotel,

34) Mansard Roof: Vampire Weekend,

35) Neighborhood #3: Arcade Fire,

36) Fake Palindromes: Andrew Bird,

37) I Am Not A Robot: Marina and the Diamonds,

38) Don’t Stop Me Now: Queen,

39) Flathead: The Fratellis,

40) Cecilia: Simon and Garfunkel,

41) The Violet Hour: Sea Wolf,

42) Wavin’ Flag: K’naan,

43) Do You Want To: Franz Ferdinand,

44) Life is a Highway: Rascal Flats

Games – Try some of these games in order to better pass the time:

  1. The Alphabet Game: Pick a category and go around the car listing different items that fall into that category in alphabetical order. For example, if the category is animals, then you would start with Alligator, and the next person would say Bobcat, and so on. Another way to play is to stick with the letter “A” until you cannot think of any more ideas. Then you move on to “B” “C” etc.
  2. 20 Questions: One person thinks of a person, place, or thing and everyone else has 20 yes-or-no-answer questions to ask until they get the answer.
  3. The Celebrity Game: List celebrities based on the first letter of their last names. For example, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Betty White, etc. If a player cannot think of a celebrity, or if he repeats a celebrity that has also been said, they are out. This game can also be played with movies, books, TV shows, etc.
The Road Trip Team offers a good selection of other games to play on a road trip.
Hopefully these little tips will help root out any of those road trip issues that you may come across. Happy travels! And drive safely!