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Road Trip Playlist: 5 Ways to Fine-Tune Your Drive

By Misty Harris

Road trips have their challenges: timing bathroom breaks, playing trunk-Tetris with the luggage, and choosing between filling your gas tank and sending your kids to college. But all the little things fade away when you’re listening to something entertaining on the stereo. There’s no better time or place to discover a new favourite than during the hours you spend in the car with your family. Here are five audio options to help you fine-tune your road trip this summer.

In a busy world, finding time for a book can seem as improbable as a traffic circle where everyone follows the rules. But who says you need to read a novel to enjoy it? Road trips are the perfect chance to listen to an audio book—many are narrated by celebrities, if not the authors themselves—and find out what you’ve been missing. AMA members can shop Indigo’s selection of audio books in the AMARewards Online Store and earn 5% back in reward dollars.

The usual road trip soundtrack is a combination of music, conversation and the backseat refrain of, “Are we there yet?” Why not spice things up with a podcast? From in-depth interviews to whodunnit crime dramas, comedy to current events, there’s something for everyone—even your backseat drivers. A quick online search of your favourite genre, followed by the term podcasts, will get you started with recommendations.

Want the perks of streaming music without the hit to your data? Most subscription music apps, including Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, allow you to download pre-fab playlists for offline listening. It’s an easy way to discover new music and ensure that, even in areas with spotty internet, you never miss a beat. (Heaven forbid Sweet Caroline cuts out right before the ba-ba-bum.)

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Whether you go old school with a local station or subscribe to a satellite service, radio remains a solid option for road tripping. There’s a channel for every mood and taste, with every song chosen precisely for the target audience. The bonus? No technical expertise is required, so there’s no need to have your kid explain anything to you.

This is the age of trust issues (we’re still shook by Dan’s resurrection on Roseanne). It’s understandable, then, that many drivers would rather not have strangers curate their travel tunes. In the grand tradition of mixtapes, a carefully crafted mp3 playlist—be it loaded on your phone or classic iPod, or even burned to a compact disc—means there will be no unfortunate surprises on the road. If only the same could be said of bathroom breaks.

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