10 Tips to Surviving a Long Road Trip

It’s summer time and that usually means a few things: lemonade stands, no school, days spent at the pool, summer camp and vacations. Some people say it’s not about the destination it’s the journey. Well, in a lot of cases this is true, but that can’t necessarily be said for long road trips, especially if you’ve ever been in the car with small children.

My husband and I have taken our fair share of road trips, most recently from Germany to Milan, and have realized a few things that work for us so the drive is somewhat enjoyable.

Here are my 10 tips to surviving a long road trip! I’d love to hear your’s in the comment section below.



  1. Pack snacks. Seriously, the most important thing in any road trip is to have snacks readily available. We have learned this the hard way and have been starving with no gas station or fast food restaurants in sight. Snacks have become extra important to pack now that we live in Germany because there aren’t exits with food every twenty feet here. They are much more spaced out and most of them are just gas stations and a Burger King if you’re lucky. We love to pack pretzels, water, Doritos (for Vinn), blueberries, crackers and some kind of deli meat, usually salami.
  2. Podcasts. I am seriously obsessed with podcasts. They are perfect for long walks and long drives because you can be entertained and possibly learn something new, depending on the podcast. Some of my favorites are here and here, but really anything related to true crime is a winner! Recent obsessions are Up and Vanished, S-Town, Young House Love Has a Podcast, The Mind of a Murderer and Gilmore Guys.
  3. Music. Just like podcasts, new music is a must. Vinn and I save new music for long car rides so we both have something to look forward to. We’ve listened to the new Zac Brown Band album, John Legend and Rascal Flatts. Michael Buble usually makes an appearance, too. Depending on the destination, I also blast some kind of Disney music. Our road trip to Alsace, France included Beauty and the Beast because we were visiting the fountain that inspired the fountain the movie.
  4. Movies. If you have small children in the car, this is probably the biggest survival tip. I remember when my family would drive from Ohio to Hilton Head, South Carolina, my dad would hook up our small TV/VCR combo so my sister and I could watch our favorite Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. Eventually my parents had a mini-van with a DVD player so we could be in the 21st Century and watch DVDs. My mom would even hop in the back and watch some. Nowadays, I don’t watch movies in the car because I am sitting in the front and have a 6 pound dog on my lap, but I definitely see them in our future when children are in the mix.
  5. Make strategic stops and routes. Not only will stopping be necessary, but you can also visit some new places along the way. We chose to drive through the Alps during one of our trips even though it was going to take us longer because the Alps are so beautiful. Making stops will help break up a super long drive, giving you time to stretch your legs, grab something to eat that is more substantial or even spend the night in a hotel.
  6. Take turns driving.  This may seem like a given, but it is certainly helpful to take turns driving if there is more than one person of driving age. This doesn’t happen every trip for us, but I know it helps when it does.
  7. Talk about your destination. A great thing about a long drive is that you have plenty of hours to chat. Vinn and I like to talk about where we are going, what we hope to do while we’re there and make sure we know what the other person really wants to do.
  8. Play games. And no, not like, I Spy, although that would be fun. We really like 20 questions, which turns into a deeper conversation about life, our future and other random things.
  9. Utilize your phone. Thank goodness for smartphones. You can use the time (if you’re not driving) to check your social media channels, research the history of your destination or find out the correct answer to things you are discussing with your riding partner. I’ve used car rides to read the history of the Duomo, read Vinn the menu of a restaurant we will go to on our trip and looked up the year to many a song to prove a point!
  10. Embrace the annoyances. Traffic will happen, spills will happen, dogs will bark, something will go wrong during your long road trip. It took me a while, but learning to embrace the annoyances has helped make the long road trips enjoyable.

I hope this summer brings you great memories and that these tips will help you survive your next long road trip!

How do you survive a long car ride?

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