With all the amazing and innovative gadgets you have at your disposal, boring road trips should be a thing of the past. These 11 ideas will make time fly, even if you’re stuck in traffic.
1. Play Digital Music Roulette
Avoid family arguments by using a random number generator—like the Random Number Generator app, free for Android—to decide who gets to pick the tunes every hour. The winner gets to plug their phone in and provide their own mini-soundtrack for the trip.
2. Turn Your Tablet Into an On-the-Go Scrapbook
Take photos, notes, and videos as you cruise to your destination. Use all that time in the car to format your observations into a little narrative scrapbook with ScrapPad for iOS. Looking back, you may be amazed at just how much fun that “boring” drive actually was.
3. Pass the Time With “Name That Tune”
Designate a DJ to play the first few seconds of a song that will have everyone in the car guessing. You can also use an app, like Trivia Tunes, to conduct the game for you. You may be shocked to discover your mom’s encyclopedic knowledge of early ‘90s hip-hop.
4. Take a Photo of How You Packed the Car
Avoid luggage headaches on the return trip by using your phone to show exactly where everything was supposed to go. Be sure to factor in space for Grandma’s leftovers, though.
5. Screenshot Directions on Your Phone
You may not always have service, so use your smartphone’s screenshot feature before you leave to keep directions at your fingertips. It’s also a good idea to be old-fashioned and have a road atlas handy for the same reason.
6. Play “I Spy” With Friends at Home
Take snapshots of the view from your window and send them to friends for a long-distance twist on this classic road trip game. Crowdsource it to multiple people in a group text and watch their competitive juices start to flow.
7. Give Your Fellow Passengers Audio Books as Early Presents
Have them “open” them on the road and you’ll save everyone from boredom. Careful, though: If you pick a good book with lots of cliffhangers, you may not want to reach your destination. You can also give a gift membership to Audible (3 months for $45) so your family members can pick their own road tomes.
8. Have a Fitness Tracker Dance Contest
See which passenger can shake his groove thing the most by having a seated dance contest and recording the results with a digital fitness tracker like the Jawbone UP3 ($179.99). Winner gets bragging rights—and a good workout.
9. “Guess That Movie” Emoji Game
Take turns describing a famous movie by only using a phone’s emoji keyboard. Pass it around and see who can guess correctly.
10. Record Your Own Road Trip Podcast
Use the microphone on your phone or tablet to turn the car into a mobile studio. Conduct interviews, expound on roadside attractions, and even feature people calling in. With bossjock studio for iOS ($9.99), you won’t have to leave the car to edit and publish the finished product.
11. Crowdsource a Return Itinerary
Take photos and notes of roadside eateries and attractions on the first leg of the trip. Then, compile and post it to social media and ask friends for suggestions or advice on where to stop on your way back. Your return trip will be loaded with things to look forward to.
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