Road Trip: Tips for the Long Car Ride

One of my favorite things to do is get in a car and drive. I used to live in a small town in the states, so there wasn’t much to do back in high school. When my friends and I were bored, we would get in the car, blast music from our childhood (Lizzie McGuire movie, I am looking at you), sing at the top of our lungs and get lost that we somehow ended up in some small town on the shores of Lake Michigan watching the lights sparkle in the Windy City. They are some of my favorite memories from my teenage years.

When I moved to Paris, one of the things I quickly missed was being able to drive. Especially being in France and knowing that there were cute little towns waiting to be discovered off of the railroad tracks. I remember my train ride from Nice to Paris, how the countryside just seemed to whisk by me. I wanted to jump off and see the countless castles looming over the hills, learn about the history and imagine the stories of people that had stood in the same spot. Growing up in the United States and then moving to Europe, I quickly realized that long road trips were considered an “American thing”. When the Frenchman and I started dating, I noticed that day trips for him meant going about an hour outside of Paris. If the destination was three hours away, it was considered an actual trip in which bags had to be packed and a room had to be reserved. On my recent trip to the U.S., I sat next to a British man who had lived in the U.S. for a few years. He told me one of the things that stunned him the most about Americans was that distance wasn’t an issue for them. Three hours for Americans in a car isn’t the same for anyone from Europe.

I once had a debate with a French person about why traveling by car is amazing and fun. He said it was long and boring. I said he hadn’t prepared for it. So, in that case, here are my tips on how to make the car ride more enjoyable:

  1. Make a playlist: Half of the fun of being in a car is the music. I always make a playlist for each trip I take, because music makes good memories. “When did that song come out?” “Oh, the year we did… or the year this happened.” If there is good music bopping in the car, at some point, there probably will be some kind of impromptu singalong.
  2. Listen to podcasts: If you aren’t in the mood for music, podcasts are a great way to go as well. I am a big sucker for podcasts that teach languages or anything having to do with the news. My big podcasts recently are: Coffee Break Italian, News in Slow Italian, The Italian Podcast, France in Focus, Les Matins de France Culture, NPR, and I’ve recently but not yet listened to S-Town. 
  3. Read: This one is uncommon for me, but has occurred in the past. Sometimes, when I am really caught up in a book, I can forget about the motion sickness I get from reading in a car. If you are someone that doesn’t get sick, reading is a good way to go.
  4. Snacks and drinks: So that the pit stops are just for going to the restroom and not paying for that overpriced water or chips because you are thirsty and hungry.
  5. Sleep: Yes, driving gets tiring. Pop in some headphones and fall asleep!
  6. Play games/conversations: The person who has it worse in the car is the driver. He or she has to be attentive at all times, so they can easily get stressed or tired. When I notice this, I like to come up with games or just talk to them to keep them awake and calm. They, of course, have to be willing to.
  7. Have small stops along the way you might want to see: The best part about road trips! They are the back roads and small towns that aren’t as touristy. If you want to dive into a culture, road trips are the best.

Do you have any tips on what to do during long car rides?

Besos, 

Veronica

You can follow more of kikalavil: 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kikalavil

Bloglovin: Diary of an Expat

Instagram: @kikalavil

Twitter: @kikalavil 

Reversed Worlds

I am back in Paris, which means I am back to being the foreigner. Yet, for some reason, I feel caught between two worlds. Continue reading “Reversed Worlds”

Photo Gallery: Turkey Run State Park – Indiana

On my visit back to the United States, my family and I decided to go camping. It had been a few years since I had done such a thing. We used to do it actively back when I was younger. We had a trailer, went four-wheeling on the Oregon coast and even took a road trip to Canada. Since we sold our trailer (years ago… I must have not even been 10 years old), we haven’t done much camping, and naturally, I am much more of a city girl. But hiking and kayaking have always remained one of my favorite things to do when outdoors, and I was lucky to do such a thing with my family. This was the first time I was in the states for more than a week and a half (I was there about three weeks – more about that and the reverse culture shock in an upcoming post). Continue reading “Photo Gallery: Turkey Run State Park – Indiana”

Getting Ready To Go State Side

This weekend, I am leaving for the states! This will be my third time visiting since I moved to Paris three years ago. Continue reading “Getting Ready To Go State Side”

Made from Red, White and Blue

This is my third, consecutive 4th of July that I am not spending back home in the states (!!!), and it’s a pretty weird thought. My last 4th I remember spending with friends and even sending my what would become French host family photos from the night.  Continue reading “Made from Red, White and Blue”

French Stereotypes : True vs. False

It is that time of year again: Tourist Season. Continue reading “French Stereotypes : True vs. False”

18 Things You Might Not Know About Kikalavil

It has been a while since I have been able to actually sit down and write a blog post. This past month has just been crazy in itself, with three consecutive trips and my university gala. I am certainly not complaining. Val de Loire was a beautiful, countryside escape, Milan was my doorway into Italy, a country I was already in love with but now even more, and Germany was a fun weekend away with friends I had not seen in years. Before I get into my posts about my trips and all the seriousness, I thought maybe I could do a quick little post about things you probably do not know about me. Continue reading “18 Things You Might Not Know About Kikalavil”