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Benjanime's summer trip survival guide

It's Summer break, you just got dropped off from the school bus to run home and your parents are planning a road trip for a vacation out of state. The kicker? the destination there may take a day or two to make. So, for the kids out there getting tagged along for the ride, what activities are there to provide from such a lengthy day to night drive? well, make yourself comfortable as I jot down a listing of some of my personal favorites to take on the road.

Notebook drawings

Growing up to be the artist I am today, making fun, bite sized doodles on ordinary scrap paper had to have been my most favorite time waster during a trip. Sometimes any notebooks from school that went unused ended up being the ones that I drew out of and very rarely my mom would make drawings as well.

Spot the car of the right color

The hundreds of cars going past throughout a trip sometimes resulted in a game of pointing out a car of an assigned color given by someone else riding with us. If anyone sitting in the back were given a color like say, red, they would look around the area of the roads and point them out while telling where they are.

Singing familiar and simple songs

Whether they were along the lines of "a hundred bottles of beer on the wall", a Disney movie musical number or a hit single song from a popular band, singing out was a decent time waster if another activity got boring. The real fun was seeing if it got on the parents' nerves after a while.

Tiger electronic handheld games

These things were everywhere in thrift stores and usually came wrapped in a small bag with toys, and I had quite a handful of them with my first one being the Aladdin game based on the Disney movie. Some of them had awkward button placements though, like the directional buttons being on the right side and the action buttons being on the left, so I stuck with the ones that had the buttons on the sides that I was used to. Overall they lasted a long time as far as battery life went, and a good cheap alternative to the Game Boy.

Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Game Boy

Speaking of which, the Game Boy and the Game Gear also made for some fun hours on the go. But where the Tiger Handhelds had great battery life to compensate for the LCD screens, these two ate up batteries within just a few hours, so buying car chargers for them was necessary if you wanted to come back to playing your games if your parents couldn't afford extra batteries. Coincidentally I owned a Game Gear before I got my first Game Boy, but that's a story for another time.

Sunday comics collections

Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, Foxtrot and the Far Side books not only made for some great gags on the road, but provided plenty of entertainment given the amount of books we could take to prepare for the trip. My older brother had quite a handful to come back to from time to time, but the Calvin & Hobbes books were our favorite aside from the oldie Garfield comics.


There was nothing quite as basic as this game aside from spot the colored car. My older brother was usually better at this than I was since it required strategy and good observation skill, but despite my failings we still kept going back to it. At one point we used to use the notebook paper for it, but later my parents got a marker board to save the paper for my drawings.


Yet another basic game that required strategy, hangman was also a go-to game. The concept of thinking of a clue of a noun always started out with us being stumped until we made progress. Though it wasn't quite as fun as in early years of school because of stickers that were given out, it still made for a fun and unique way to get the family together when other activities overstayed their welcome.

Spelling Bee

When I started to excel at vocabulary in school I whipped up an idea where a key player grabs a dictionary, picks a difficult sounding word from the book and has other players guess how it's spelled out. Aside from my brother, my mom was also good at spelling out certain words that were provided, and the further we got into the game, the more difficult the words got, just like an actual school spelling bee is done.

What were your favorite car trip activities growing up? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!
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NLogan Posted on May 29, 2019 at 03:25 AM

Nothing better than binging on Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side.

Vaporman87 Posted on May 29, 2019 at 01:31 AM

For us, we usually passed the time by doing Mad Libs, playing on a handheld, and watching VHS tapes (when we had the conversion van with VCR in it).

Benjanime Posted on May 28, 2019 at 09:57 PM

my stepdad had a towering stack of archie comics that ranged from the mid 80s to the 2000s, but they were for those long bathroom breaks lol

Mr Magic Posted on May 28, 2019 at 09:51 PM

I loved reading Archie comics on car trips. Really made the hours go by.

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