If you’re about to embark on a car journey spanning many hours, then you’ll at some point need to overcome the problem of boredom. Let’s face it – being forced to sit in the same position for a very long time, with barely anything to do, is tedious. In order to get through the ordeal, you’ll want to provide yourself with some entertainment. This is especially so if you’re going on a long journey with small children in tow, who will quickly make the experience unbearable if they’re not provided with some form of distraction.
Let’s run through five ways in which those long car journeys can be made that little bit more tolerable.
A book will provide you with hours and hours’ worth of entertainment. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to read the written word while simultaneously paying attention to the road in front of you, which makes reading a no-go for those who’re driving. But even if you’re not driving, you might find that keeping track of the words on the page while the car is in motion to be slightly nauseating. Fortunately, modern technology provides a means of circumventing this problem: the audiobook. By listening to an audio recording of someone reading a book aloud, you won’t run into the problem of unwelcome nausea – and you’ll be able to keep yourself entertained for the entire journey without bothering your fellow passengers.
As far as genre goes, it’s usually better to listen to something that’ll keep you engaged while you’re driving. What this is will depend on your personal taste. This might sound so obvious that it doesn’t merit mention, but it’s difficult and dangerous to make the switch to another audiobook while you’re driving – and skipping backwards to catch something you missed is similarly difficult. So unless you want to be stuck with something you’re barely following and not interested in for hours on end, it’s worth choosing something you know you’re going to stick with.
While entertaining yourself with a book is a worthwhile and welcome way of passing the time on a long car journey, there’s also something to be said for a game. Games played in the car will involve everyone, and they’ve been played for years. You might try and form a sentence from the letters of passing registration plates, or play ‘I Spy’ (though if the landscape is constantly changing, you might need to make the guesses extra-quick).
Twenty questions is a game that’s proved to be a classic. Each played picks a person, and the other members of the car must guess who it is using twenty yes-no questions. Make things even more interesting by using post-it notes. Write the name of a person on a note and then apply it to someone’s head. Everyone in the car must then alternately ask questions to see who they are. This variation of the game requires that you don’t try to sneak a peek at your reflection in the rear-view mirror.
Bear in mind when playing twenty questions that there’s no real point in winning the game; you could easily nominate some obscure fictional character who you know the other people in the car will have no chance of guessing. But then the end result will be a carful of annoyed people. A good ground rule therefore is to name someone that you know that everyone in the car has heard of. Even then, there are some names that are simply difficult to guess – Christopher Columbus and Sharon Osbourne are two well-known but challenging examples. Let your imagination – and your deductive reasoning skills – run wild!
If you’re driving across the continent, then your car journey could last for dozens of hours. In order to pass the time, you might watch a TV series. A subscription for an online streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime may allow you to download your content in full HD to save you the trouble of streaming it. This is especially necessary if you’re going to be driving through places with patchy signal. With so much high-quality television to choose from, it’s easy to marathon your way through an entire series of something – or perhaps even more – before arriving at your final destination.
Music is something that’ll help you to get through even the most tedious voyage. Make a playlist of your favourite songs and blast them as you’re hurtling down the motorway. Be sure that you aren’t imposing your taste in music on the other members of the car while you’re doing so, however, as this will almost certainly result in tantrums. Make sure that it’s something light and fun – you don’t want to depress everyone in the car, particularly if you’re on the way to your summer holiday destination.
To make the music in your car especially democratic, make use of Bluetooth or the auxiliary input on your car’s stereo. The occupants of your car can then take it in turns to play their own music out loud. Alternatively, you can pass a single phone around the car with a Spotify playlist, and take it in turns queuing up tracks. Naturally, the person driving the car has the final say over whether something gets played.
A long journey should be broken down into several legs. After all, you’ll need to refresh your mind every so often to be able to properly focus on driving. And, what’s more, you and the rest of the people in your car will need to occasionally eat and go to the toilet. And your car, too, will need to be refuelled every so often. Plan a few rest breaks into your journey. While there’s nothing wrong with stopping at the first service station you see upon deciding that you need a break, it’s better to plan where you intend to stop. Some service stations, after all, are considerably better equipped than others.