Surviving Your Summer Road Trip

By Kristi S.

Are you planning a road trip for this summer? If you are, I both admire your courage and question your sanity. A road trip sounds like my literal nightmare. The motion sickness, the confinement, dealing with other drivers, the fact that the majority of your vacation is effort rather than relaxation. I would much rather fly and already be on the beach when you arrive disgruntled and smelling of stale car air. If my ranting has not dissuaded you, I do know three things you need to make your road trip bearable.

  1. Functioning air conditioning: You can use our auto repair reference tools to fix it, take it to a mechanic, or buy a new car. All I know is if your AC is not working on the morning you are set to leave, then fate is intervening on your behalf. Do not chance it.
  2. An abundance of snacks: For me, this would mean an entire car of tortilla chips. But health and variety are probably good when packing snacks, too.
  3. Audiobooks.

I may not have a lot of road trip experience, but I do drive a lot and I firmly believe that audiobooks can save your sanity on the road. A peaceful, soothing story can quiet your nerves when you are stuck in traffic and your kids are on the second hour of a slug-bug slap battle. Conversely, a nail-biting thriller can help to keep you awake when driving lonely roads through the night. Whatever your road trip needs, there is an audiobook to support you through it. So, I’ve compiled three lists specifically for road trippers going it alone, heading out with a group, or braving it with the family.

For the Solo Road Trip

On a solo road trip, there is a lot of time on your own for reflection and entertainment. You need an audiobook with a strong storyline and a sprinkling of humor or drama to keep you engaged and alert through the long hours of driving. My suggestion is:

 The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: What better option for a road trip alone, than listening to another person’s story of travel and adventure? Harold Fry is a heartwarming story filled with quirky characters you’ll grow to love. Pair it with a certain Proclaimers song that has been stuck in my head since reading the summary.

Check out this list for more options:

For the Group Road Trip

Whether you’re cruising down the coast with your sweetheart or a gang of friends, you’ll want something for those moments when you need a break from chatting. You need audiobooks with familiar voices or stories that you can discuss later. Think comedian memoirs, quotable classics, or mysteries you can work together to solve.  My favorite option is:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, I love Neil Gaiman. Paired with the wit of Terry Pratchett and presented in a full-cast audio, Good Omens is an amazingly funny and upbeat novel of the apocalypse that is perfect for group listening.

Take a look at this list for other ideas:

For the Family Road Trip

When traveling in confined spaces with your family, moments of silence are rare and cherished. You need audiobooks that appeal across ages to capture everyone’s attention. Luckily, there are tons of audiobooks suitable for children that have solid readers and storylines that are sure to keep everyone happy. My first choice would be:

Matilda by Roald Dahl: I have never met a person who does not like the highly intelligent and precocious Matilda. Younger children will delight in Matilda’s magic while others in the car will love hearing an old favorite. Not to mention, Kate Winslet has a stunning voice and won an award for her performance in this book!

Need more inspiration? Turn to my family list:

There’s a world of audiobook options in our catalog to explore, but hopefully I’ve helped narrow down your options. Like your (hopefully) repaired AC, I have just saved your life on this road trip. Let me know where you’re headed this summer and what books you plan to take with you!

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2 responses to “Surviving Your Summer Road Trip”

  1. Alex says:

    My go-to for a group road trip is comedy. I moved across the country a few years ago listening to David Sedaris’ audiobooks, and my last multi-state drive was made bearable by John Mulaney and Maria Bamford (they’re on Hoopla!).

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