21 Road Trip Writing Prompts

21 Road Trip Writing Prompts

Summer is the season for road trips. Whether you are on the road yourself or only dreaming of a vacation, today we have some road trip writing prompts to make the time fly. Try one out today!

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This prompt was originally posted in June, 2012. Today, I’m traveling overseas and thought a few of you might also be on the road! We’ve added twenty prompts to the original one, but I kept my own practice from 2012 at the end. Enjoy!

Road trips yield great stories. Why? Because a road trip forces you, your family, your friends, or your characters into uncomfortable and new situations. Add to that the potential for various complications and conflict, and you have all the ingredients for a terrific story. 

Whether you want to write the story of a road trip you took, or one you’re planning, or a scene from your work in progress that involves a road trip, you can use the elements of plot to help you. (See our full guide here.)

Start with a character who has a goal, and then let the complications and conflict ensue. Bring their actions to a crescendo of crisis (will they make the best bad choice to get what they want?) and deliver the climax and denouement.

A road trip has a built in external goal: you want to get to your destination, usually in a specific way for a specific purpose. But all those details can get hijacked by internal conflict, car trouble, wild roadside stops, and any other complication you can dream up. Give it a try!

Twenty-one Road Trip Writing Prompts 

  1. My original prompt was simple: Write about a road trip.

You can still do that one. But here are twenty more to take for a drive. (See what I did there?)

2. A parent and adult child have to take a road trip to sort out important family business. What happens?

3. Two co-workers have to drive to a work event one state away, but the trip goes terribly wrong.

4. A group of college seniors embark on a final road trip before graduation, but at the beginning of the second day, they pick up a hitchhiker who looks a lot like one of their professors who died the year before. 

5. A newlywed couple borrows a travel trailer and sets off on a cross-country roadtrip, when…

6. A young twenty-something trying to get home makes the mistake of stopping at…

7. An older couple has to move closer to family and takes a route that has some unusual memories.

8. A multi-family caravan road trip is derailed when a sink hole drops them into another dimension.

9. A motorcycle road trip through the Rocky Mountains turns deadly when…

10. A photographer sets out to capture pictures of the last five family-owned motels along a historic route when they discover…

11. A child convinces their grandparent to drive a thousand miles to return to a family home, but when they arrive, they are shocked to find…

Road trips yield great stories. Try out one of our new 21 road trip writing prompts today!

Ten more road trip prompts for journaling

12. Tell about a time you took a wrong turn on a road trip.

13. Describe your dream road trip. Be sure to include details about the vehicle and riders along with the route and sights along the way. 

14. What was the best thing you ever ate on a road trip? The worst?

15. If you could only take a single route to a single destination for a road trip every summer for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

16. Describe a time you learned something new on a road trip. 

17. Create your dream road trip playlist. Which artists and albums would you include and why?

18. Write about the characteristics that would describe your worst-case-scenario road trip buddy. (You can approach this either way: the person who would be best in a crisis OR the worst person to ride with.)

19. Find pictures of the open road in your favorite region and describe how it feels to be in that setting. 

20. What is your favorite book or film that includes a road trip and why?

21. Write about your favorite season or time of day to be on the road and describe it. 

PRACTICE

For this writing practice, choose one of the prompts above. Set your timer for fifteen minutes. When you finish, post your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop here. 

If  you post, please read and comment on a few posts by other writers. Share the love 🙂 

Here’s my practice from 2012:

We’re driving from California to Georgia this week, my dad and me. The first time since I was sixteen and only spoke six words to him the whole trip. We drove to Big Sur and then to Cambria where we stopped and listened to jazz in a little club along the road. It was the first time I had really listened to jazz. The piano player was blind. He could play well, the whole band could play well, but all I remember is feeling sad and alone and observant.

This time we’re driving to Georgia through New Orleans where we’ll sit in a smoky bar on Canal Street and listen to jazz. We drove through Texas today. Texas is normally a two day state, but for us it’s a three day state. He wants to take it slow and relaxing so we’ll stop in San Antonio and then Houston before making it the Mississippi Delta. I’m impatient to go faster and farther, a flaw of youth I suppose.

In El Paso we ate the worst Texas barbecued brisket either of us have ever had. Me, because it’s the first Texas barbecued brisket I’ve ever had so it was both the best and worst. and he, because it was so dry and tasteless he had to chase it with shots of BBQ sauce just to get it down.

After El Paso we drove along Texas roads so long and flat you stop seeing road entirely and completely disappear into the black asphalt, the golden land, and the blue eternal sky that seems to dissolve the land itself.

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