I went on countless road trips as a kid. They were lots of fun, but I definitely remember all of the stress that trying to figure out huge paper maps, bumper-to-bumper traffic while you have to pee, eating fast food that sounded like an awesome idea at the time but made you feel bloated like a toad and oily afterwards, being bored out of you mind and trying to keep awake night driving, and all the other fun scenarios caused…
Thankfully, we have GPS now (I love Waze particularly) which has greatly improved the overall demeanor of road trips, however there are bunches of thing you can do to improve your overall experience, all outlined below for your road trip enjoyment!
Snacks: The right mix of snacks will give you guilt free energy throughout your trip and a little planning ahead with keep it budget friendly too. Add a little from each section below and you will be good to go:
- Bulk section foods at your neighboring Central Market or Whole Foods: The bulk section is my FAVORITE! From granola, nuts, chocolate covered snacks, gummies, dried fruit, baked veggies, and more, you can get salty, savory, and sweet snacks for a fraction of the price you would at a gas station or in a package.
- Fruit: Apples, oranges, bananas and more, with a little sugar for energy and low calories, fruit definitely outdoes the candy bars any day.
- Protein: Quest bars, beef / pork / turkey jerky, and protein powder will give you a healthy and filling boost.
- Big-meal planning: Being on a road trip is like going to a grocery store hungry – you end up making terrible decisions based on your taste buds and eyeballs rather than your healthy banging bod! To avoid this, check out what quick and better choice restaurants are on your trip in advance (Chipotle, Potbelly’s, Which Wich, Zoe’s Kitchen, etcetera). This prevents quick last-minute decisions you will regret later.
- Drinks: Don’t forget to hydrate. Bring lots of water bottles and buy flavored drinks in advance so you don’t spend a ton at connivence stores. To prevent drinking too much, I always bring gum (my favorite is 5 gum since it’s so yummy and lasts forever) so I don’t get dry mouth but also don’t have to pee every five minutes.
Things to do: Keeping occupied between stops is much better than being bored, in my opinion at least, so outside of taking in the view, I like to do the following:
- Counting games: Have you ever noticed how many people drive a Prius? This game may not work in California, the Prius capital of the Universe, but we call-out “Prius” every time we see one and the person with the most Prius calls at the end of the day wins. If you call a different car a Prius on accident, you have to do a dare or something along those lines. Also, taxi-Prius count as two points. While you don’t have to use this particular car, or even a car at all, for this game, it is a fun way to pass the time and have a friendly competition along the way.
- Podcasts: Serial and Criminal have spent hours and hours coming out over the sound waves of our car. While criminal cases might not be for everyone, podcasts in general can be thought-provoking, funny, serious, and can spark additional hours of conversation from everyone in the car discussing the various topics. Find some that sound interesting to you, download them in advance (to save data), and enjoy hours of entertainment in the car.
- Books on tape: Have a book you have been wanting to read but haven’t had the time? Play it in your car!
- Adventure stops: Why stop at a boring gas station when you can find a historic site along your route to stop, learn something new, and use a break for something more fun than the loo.
- Journal-ing: I always like to document my trips by writing them in journal. What a better way to pass time than to document your adventures in the car?
- Dance party: A good playlist can make or break a road trip! Don’t forget to plan ahead and download your favorite songs. This will definitely come in handy when your driving late at night and need to re-energize at the top of your lungs signing your favorite songs.