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Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, and that means over 30 million Americans are going to be on the road, traveling to their favorite holiday destinations. If you’re going to be one of them, chances are strong that you’re worried about the trip. Are you stressing out thinking about all the traffic, worried about getting lost, or apprehensive thinking about how boring it is out there on the interstate? Well, don’t let the thought of Memorial Day travel get you down.
Road trips can be fun, and you don’t have to empty your bank account to enjoy a long ride to a great destination. Here are five cheap road trip ideas you can use to make traveling fun this Memorial Day.
1. Break It Up with a Checkpoint or Two
One of the best ways to break up the monotony of a long road trip is to plan a few interesting stops along the way. Finding a place or two to pull over, stretch your legs, and see something interesting can actually turn your road trip into a fun part of the Memorial Day holiday. If you plan, you can actually take a fun break without spending a whole lot of cash, too. For example, if you’re traveling the East Coast for Memorial Day, consider stopping in Washington DC; attractions such as the National Zoo and many Smithsonian Museums are free. If you’re in the Midwest, park your car at the Mall of America and do some serious window-shopping as you stroll around this monument to capitalism. Browsing is a free activity after all!
2. Download Those Podcasts
There’s nothing worse on a car trip than hitting a radio “dead spot” in the middle of nowhere, especially in the middle of the night when you’re trying to stay awake. Don’t let it happen! One of the best ways to avoid radio deserts is to download a bunch of podcasts ahead of time and listen to them while you’re traveling. Great podcasts will draw you in and keep you alert as you put away those miles. If you want to listen to a compelling crime/procedural podcast, go ahead and download Serial seasons one and two. Or, if American myths and folklore is your thing, check out Lore. Whatever your podcast tastes, downloading a few of your favorite episodes is a great way to get you through long, boring stretches of highway.
3. Play a Game
Do you remember those road games you played in the car as a kid? Well, there was definitely something to them. Sure, they may have helped keep your parents from losing their minds on those long car rides. However, even when you’re all grown up, car games can help pass the time and make the trip fun. There are terrific games for adults to play in the car now, too. For example, you can try a game of “21 questions.” One person thinks of a topic, and people keep asking him or her questions until someone guesses what it is. You can also try “six degrees of separation.” Name two random actors, and contestants (the other people in the car) have to connect them together by movies in six steps or less. These games, and others, will help you forget about all the miles you still have left to travel.
4. Sing a Song
We discussed radio deserts earlier, as well as how to use podcasts to get through them. Another way to survive when you lose radio signal is to make music of your own, with car karaoke. Put together a mix of your favorite songs to sing before you travel. Then, play a song and have a person sing it loud and proud. A great singer will impress everyone on the ride, while a not-so-great singer will still keep everyone entertained. If you want to step it up a notch, set up karaoke teams and let rival teams pick the song their competitors have to sing. It might not sound pretty, but singing your way across a few states can be a ton of fun.
5. Go Live
Another way to make a ho-hum road trip fun is to broadcast it live for the entire world to see. Have someone (obviously not the driver) provide real-time, preferably humorous updates on social media as you’re traveling. Post pictures, location check-ins, videos, and quirky commentary as you drive down the road. Make sure you respond quickly to all the commentators who are monitoring your road trip. You might find your Twitter or Instagram accounts picking up followers if you make your posts interesting enough. If you’re entertaining the masses who aren’t sitting in the car with you, you’ll likely have more fun while driving to your destination.
Holiday road trips are often boring, but they don’t have to be. Try some of these tips this Memorial Day and have some inexpensive fun while you pass the miles away. Of course, make sure you know how to keep your road trip snack costs down as well and you’ll truly have a cheap road trip to remember!