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How to Make the Most of Free Time on the Road

How to Make the Most of Free Time on the Road

By Alex Porter • July 09, 2019

Welcome back to part two of our #OMFRoadTrip series! Now that you’ve got your trip all planned out, we’re back with some tips to think about once the rubber actually hits the road.

Whether you’re going to travel for two hours or 20, it’s easy to get bored if you head out with no real strategies in place for navigating the roads or staying entertained in the vehicle.

These tips will help you make the most of your trip from Point A all the way to Point B.

Ways to save money while driving

Before we get into the fun stuff, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind whenever it’s your turn to take the wheel.

  1. Limit Air Conditioning. Try to monitor A/C usage as best you can. Cranking the A/C up to full blast can decrease gas mileage by 5%.1 When it gets cooler outside, roll down the windows and enjoy some fresh air.

  2. Avoid Rush Hour. Especially in and around big cities. There’s no bigger road trip buzzkill than getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for three hours. Taking a slightly longer route (distance-wise) to avoid backups could save a ton of time and money, since sitting in traffic is a huge waste of gas.

  3. Use Cruise Control. Staying at a steady speed helps your vehicle use less fuel than constantly speeding up and slowing down. Setting your speed also helps you lower your chances of getting a costly, out-of-state speeding ticket.

  4. Dodge Expensive Toll Roads. Most of the main navigation apps (like Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze) have options that will help you avoid tolls. The cost of tolls might seem minor, but they can add up quick. Check out the Tollsmart app to see if you can steer clear of more expensive toll roads. For example, a drive from Philly to Chicago would rack up $69 in tolls — while an alternative route is $30 and only takes 15 minutes longer.2

Play some road trip games

For as long as people have been taking road trips, they’ve been looking to find the best games to play in the vehicle. These five time-tested games provide 100% free entertainment that the whole group can enjoy.

  1. 20 Questions: One of the most classic, simple, surprisingly entertaining games there is. If you don’t know how to play, it’s super easy to learn. One person picks a person, place, or thing and everyone else gets 20 “yes or no” questions to figure out what it is. The more obscure you get, the more challenging it is.

  2. The Alphabet Game / The Sign Game: There’s a hundred different ways to play alphabet games but the general rules are simple: Each player tries to find every letter of the alphabet on a road sign. First person to spot A-Z wins.

  3. Alphabet Categories: One person picks a category and a letter, and everyone else has to list something that fits the criteria. For example, someone could pick “Foods that start with B” — and bananas, baked beans, beets, bread, etc… would all be acceptable answers. When you can’t think of something that hasn’t been said already, you’re out.

  4. DJ Trivia: One person grabs the phone and plays a song. Then the first person to guess the artist gets a point, and another point goes to whoever gets the song name first. This is a great option if you have teenage kids in the vehicle, and you want to see if they can recognize your favorite songs from yesteryear.

  5. The License Plate Game: This one is more of an activity than a game, since there are no winners or losers. You just make up a story/interpret the meaning behind whatever license plate you see. So ‘DBW 33C” could stand for ‘Dusty Buffalo Wings for 33 Cents.’ When the crew starts to get a little slap-happy, this goofy game will surely provide a few good laughs.

If you get bored with those, here’s a list of over 30 more fun road trip games to try out.

Queue up some podcasts, playlists and audio books

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got all the audio options you could ever ask for. Go into the trip with at least some idea of what you, and the rest of the people you’re traveling with, want to listen to.

  • Audiobooks provide hours of top-notch entertainment. If anyone in the vehicle hasn’t used Audible they can sign up to see if they can get a free 30-day trial right before your trip.

  • Podcasts might be a better bet for groups with shorter attention spans, since most are broken up into episodes that are under an hour a pop. You can find a great podcast on pretty much any topic under the sun. Baking, gardening, history, whatever you are into, there’s probably 25 popular podcasts dedicated to it. Here’s a list of 15 binge-worthy podcasts.

  • Music and road trips go hand in hand. A really cool road trip opportunity is to have each passenger put together a playlist of their top 10 songs of all time beforehand. This way each person gets to hear their favorite music, while everyone else is bound to hear some great music that they’ve never heard before.

Enjoy the open road

As your adventure unfolds, soak up the blue skies, take note of beautiful scenery around you and enjoy the ride.


The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.