Map Out Fun on the Road

Father and daughter kneeling by a car

If there's a long car ride in your future, buckle up and let the good times roll. Whether you're a military kid who's moving, visiting friends or family or going on vacation, it's possible to have a whole lot of fun along the way. Here are a few travel tips that can help you pass the time:

  • Help choose your stops. Research your route. It may take you right by national parks, historic places, famous diners, amusement parks and more. If so, ask your parents if it's possible to see a few.
  • Bring a book. Long car rides are great for catching up on reading. So grab the latest book from your favorite author and see if you can read the whole thing before you arrive at your destination. Consider reading aloud with your parents, brothers and sisters, or listen to audiobooks, either with headphones or as a family.
  • Watch a movie. Some newer vehicles have DVD players built into the ceiling for instant drop-down entertainment. If yours doesn't have one, ask your parents if you can use the family laptop to watch your favorite DVDs on the road.
  • Play a handheld video game. Bring your video games along for the ride. Save the princess. Get a high score. Catch 'em all. This might be the one time your mom or dad doesn't mind if you play video games for a long time.
  • Get a "license" for entertainment. License plates provide a steady source of entertainment on the go. If you're in the United States, you might try to spot a plate from every state. You can tweak the game if you're traveling in another country.
  • Find your ABCs. Compete with your family members to see who can go from "A" to "Z" the fastest. You decide the rules. Check out road signs and logos on passing vehicles. You may breeze through the first part of the alphabet, but those last letters could take some time.
  • Make up a game. If you're feeling creative, try making up a road game. See who can spot the oldest car, for example.
  • Write a play. Come up with characters and a plot, then choose your cast among your fellow passengers. Hand out copies of all the lines and have a reading. Your driver can be your acting coach.
  • Share family stories. A road trip is the perfect opportunity to retell favorite stories — you know, the ones that everyone always laughs about — and discover new ones. Ask your parents to tell you what they were like at your age, their favorite school memories, embarrassing moments, family history and more. Once the stories start flowing, you may be too entertained to watch the clock.
  • Follow the map. As you're riding along the highway, try to guess your location on the map. Pick out landmarks on the road ahead and see how close your guesses are.

The hours you spend on the road with your family are what you make them, so opt for awesome and memorable. Visit Military OneSource for more great tips for military kids on the go, and share them with your friends.


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