Everyone always talks about making the perfect “road trip playlist.” There are two reasons I don’t think this as important as millions of Spotify users make it out to be. One: you don’t need to make the perfect road trip playlist because it already exists and it’s called Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Two: while it’s true that driving down an empty highway with the windows down and the radio at full volume is a freeing, exciting feeling, listening to something that really grabs your attention is a better way to keep you alert and pass the time.
Some people enjoy listening to an audiobook while on the road; personally, I prefer podcasts. Steve and I started listening to podcasts on our road trip after we decided to check out NPR’s deservedly-hyped hit S-Town. We binged on all of the episodes over the course of several days, and then I learned that he had never listened to the first season of Serial. After that, it was the latest episodes of The Men in Blazers Show, the back episodes of Reply All, and more. Here are a few of my picks for longform listens to make the long hours on the road fly by in entertaining style.
Picking the ideal copilots for an extended road trip is important. Whether it’s your partner or your BFFs, you want people with whom you can spend hours in a car without wanting to kill them. Choose the perfect travel companions and your trip will be an incredible bonding experience, full of amazing adventures and special time spent together. Well, 95% of the time it will be. The other 5% of the time you’ll be tired and hangry and whoever’s driving will have just made the fourth wrong turn of the day and you’ll be all-out shouting at each other over the hellfire-and-brimstone religious radio station you’re being forced to listen to because someone forgot to charge the phone with the music. That’s just how it is. But there are some important steps you can take to ensure that percentage stays at 5% and that you still all love each other when you reach your destination.
Get out of the car
On our road trip, we tried to limit our driving time each day to five or six hours, but some days we had to spend nine or more hours in the car and on those days we definitely got more antsy and more argumentative. Obviously the conditions of your road trip may dictate how long you have to drive each day—if you’re trying to make it across the country in a week as opposed to our 2+ months you’re going to be forced to have much longer days on the road—but even if you know you’re going to be driving 12 hours don’t be tempted to try to push through without pitstops. Even 15 minutes’ break outside the car to stretch and get some fresh air and explore a town or a nature area makes such a difference in everyone’s temperaments.