Are you planning a long car trip with your teenager?
Here are some tips on how to keep your teen entertained and engaged on the road. Now, we don’t have any teenagers ourselves, although it seems the teen era is approaching us at the speed of light, and that’s why we got some pro tips from fellow parents that have been through it all.
Keeping your teens and tweens entertained during long car trips can be challenging, but with the proper planning, it can be a super-duper fun experience for the entire family.
Read on, and we’ll give you a complete lowdown on how to keep your teenagers occupied and happy. From games to music to interactive activities for the road.
Get ready to create some beautiful memories on the road with your teen!
Why Find Things to Do on a Car Trip for a Teenager?
To Strengthen Family Ties
Car trips provide a shared experience the family can reflect on and bond over. Spending time together in the car, whether playing games, listening to music, or just talking, can create memories that will last a lifetime. The planning and preparation for the trip also involve the whole family working together as a team. It improves connectedness to their parents and siblings. After a successful car trip, teenagers are likely to share their thoughts and feelings with them in the future. Being “stuck” (as most teenagers would probably see it) with family in a car for a long time will inevitably lead to conversations and interactions. Better make them fun and memorable!
To Keep Them Entertained and Engaged
Teenagers can quickly become bored during a long road trip, causing restlessness and irritability. Keeping them entertained can help prevent this, ensuring a more pleasant experience for everyone involved. Bored teenagers may turn to distracting behaviors such as constantly checking their phones or arguing with siblings. Keeping them engaged in other activities can reduce these distractions and help promote safer driving.
To Prevent Motion Sickness
To prevent motion sickness during a road trip, engage in entertaining activities that help to distract the mind and focus the eyes on the external environment. It can help to reduce the conflict between the inner ear and eyes and prevent the symptoms of motion sickness.
It Encourages Creativity
Participating in creative activities can stimulate the brain and help teenagers to exercise their imagination, problem-solving skills, and critical-thinking abilities. It can be crucial during a long road trip when there may be periods of boredom or monotony. It can also provide an outlet for teenagers to express themselves and share their thoughts and ideas with others, giving a sense of accomplishment and boosting self-esteem.
It’s an Opportunity to Learn
Whether it’s a long drive or your car suddenly broke down in the middle of the road, having a list of things to do on a car trip for a teenager helps them learn while engaging in activities or helping solve problems. Plus, it also promotes better communication and social skills.
Things to Consider
Consult your Teen for their Opinions
Involving your teenager in planning your car trip shows them that you value their opinion and, in turn, promotes trust and respect on both sides. And since they’re involved in the process, they’re more likely to feel invested and might even voluntarily offer help and take responsibility.
Skip Super Long Road Trips
You might have an excellent plethora of things to do on a car trip for a teenager, but let’s face it, there’s only so much you can do before it settles on them that the trip seems to take forever. Besides, if you plan to go during school break, they probably have plans with their friends too. And if your journey eats up all of their time before returning to school, you’ll receive lots of resentment.
Ensure your Car is in Tip Top Condition
It is a no-brainer. Safety and comfort are your utmost priority for any road trip. A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and cause inconvenience or delays on your trip. Knowing that your vehicle is in good condition can help reduce stress and anxiety while on your trip and allow you to enjoy your journey without worrying about potential car troubles.
Finding a Cozy Stay can Shift the Vibes
You may be just inside your car, but a whole day of driving and activities still takes quite a toll on everyone involved. And with teenagers and kids on board, the last thing you’ll want to do at the end of the day is worry and stress more. Finding accommodation to stay the night with cozy beds, modern amenities, and entertainment facilities will give you the relaxation you and your family need. Preferably a hotel that’s serving yummy food options! If there’s a pool or arcade machine, it’s a huge bonus! Everyone can rest deeply and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
Even though you have your list of things to do on a car trip for a teenager, stay open to suggestions and possibilities. No plan ever goes 100% as you want it to. Unexpected situations like the car breaking down and spontaneous change of mind will affect your trip. Besides, there are probably a lot of hidden gems on the way that you would want to take advantage of.
Learn some Photography Tricks
Most teenagers live on social media- Facebook, TicToc, and Instagram. You name it. They’ll post updates throughout the journey, especially if you stop in a scenic location. You can engage them and help them by offering to take pictures. And if you have some basic tricks on your sleeve, they’ll love to have you involved and be grateful for the help.
Suspend Your Judgment
Don’t be an authoritarian adult- it’s the secret ingredient for disaster! Understand that you’re not the only person inside the car. The aim is to make the trip as memorable and fun as possible. Especially with teenagers, you might not understand their choices but learn to respect them and weigh them appropriately.
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What to bring on a road trip for tweens?
When planning a road trip with teenagers, bringing various items is essential to keep them entertained and comfortable throughout the journey. Here are some suggestions:
- Snacks and drinks: Bring plenty of snacks and drinks for the trip to keep your teenagers fueled and hydrated.
- Entertainment: Pack a selection of entertainment options, such as books, magazines, music, and movies, to keep your teenagers occupied during long stretches of driving.
- Comfortable clothing and pillows: Bring comfortable clothing and pillows for your teenagers to wear and use while they rest during the trip.
- Portable electronics: Pack portable electronics, such as tablets, smartphones, and gaming devices, to entertain your teenagers during the trip.
- First aid kit: It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand in case of any accidents or emergencies.
- Maps and guidebooks: Bring maps and guidebooks to help your teenagers learn about the destinations you’re visiting and plan out activities.
- Camera: Encourage your teenagers to document the trip with a camera or smartphone to create lasting memories.
- Cash and cards: Ensure your teenagers can access some money, credit, or debit cards for unexpected expenses or emergencies.
- Comfortable footwear: Bring comfortable shoes for teenagers during activities or sightseeing.
- Sunscreen and bug spray: If you’re traveling in a warm climate, bring sunscreen and bug spray to protect your teenagers from the sun and insects.
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Fun Games to Play in the Car
Have some icebreakers with you. They come in handy every time there’s any awkward silence. It can be a joke or an activity. It helps create a positive ambiance and encourages them to participate in the conversation. Here are a few to get you started:
- Name that tune: Play a snippet of a song and see who can guess the song’s name and artist the fastest.
- Word association: Choose a random word and then go around the family circle with each person saying the first word that comes to mind related to that word.
- The whisper game: One person whispers a phrase to another person, then whispers it to the next person in line until it ends. The last person says the word out loud, and it’s compared to the original phrase to see how much it has changed.
- Two truths and a lie: Each family member shares three statements about themselves – two true and one false. The rest of the family must guess which information is the lie.
- Celebrity impersonations: Each family member has to impersonate their favorite celebrity for 30 seconds. The rest of the family then has to guess who they are impersonating.
- Answer riddles: Be the “riddle master” who will come up with and present the riddles to the group. Anyone who answers correctly within a time frame gets a reward.
- Trivia games: Act as the trivia master and prepare a list of questions in the selected category. The questions can be multiple-choice, true/false, or open-ended, depending on the players’ difficulty level and preference.
- Pinoy Henyo: “Pinoy” is a colloquial term for Filipino, and “Henyo” means genius or clever in Filipino. In the game, two contestants are selected to play against each other. One contestant has to guess the word written on a piece of paper/phone screen and place it on their forehead where everyone else can see. They can ask for one-word clues about the word (if it’s a person, place, food, or thing), and the other will answer Yes/No/Maybe. The goal is to guess as many words or phrases as possible within a given time limit.
Listen to Podcasts
It is a bit tricky since everyone has got their taste. With your teenager, they usually like podcasts that tackle sports, personal growth, entertainment, and comedy. Of course, you can ask them if they have a podcast they want to listen to. And if you’re a family with kids, tweens, and teens, be careful in selecting one so you don’t expose the children to inappropriate content.
Everyone loves movies. The question is, which one? Or what genre? Again, this will depend on the preference of everyone on board and you deciding which one to play. But if you have multiple passengers of various ages, it’s good that each can have their own screen to choose what they want to watch while on the road. (But on a limited basis!)
Art! Art! Art!
Kids love coloring books, and with adult coloring books flooding the market, anyone can enjoy this therapeutic activity anytime, anywhere. Some might prefer to have a sketchpad where they can create their art out of scratch. Art is one of the best things to do on a car trip for a teenager since it keeps them away from the screen and engages creativity while relaxing their mind.
Listen to a Playlist
Create a playlist where everyone’s choice of music is accommodated. You can also create a playlist for each family member and have them on rotation throughout the journey.
Don’t stop planning your trips just because you no longer need to think of sleeping and feeding schedules, nappies, and pacifiers.
A long car trip with your teenager doesn’t have to be a tiresome journey, and it won’t be with
these activities and ideas we’ve gathered from fellow parents. Remember to plan for breaks and snacks to keep everyone refreshed and energized throughout. With some planning and creativity, you can turn a long car trip into a fun experience for the whole family.
Hit the road with your teens and tweens and enjoy this bonding time!
Here’s a quick rundown on the basics of what to bring on a car trip for teenagers:
-Snacks and drinks
-Comfortable clothing and pillows
-First aid kit
-Maps and guidebooks
-Cash and cards
-Sunscreen and bug spray
Learn more in our Guide on Taking a Road Trip with Teenagers.
Try these things to do on a car trip for a teenager to make the journey more enjoyable:
-Listen to Podcasts
-Art! Art! Art!
-Listen to a Playlist
Learn more in our Guide on Taking a Road Trip with Teenag
Try out these games as part of the things to do on a car trip for a teenager to keep them engaged:
-Name that tune
-The whisper game
-Two Truths and a Lie
Learn more in our Guide on Taking a Road Trip with Teenagers.