Even great conversationalists struggle to keep the discussion going over a few days of driving, so here are some suggestions to help fill those gaps. You’re welcome!

1. “How’s it going?”: Hey, this one’s a classic for a reason. It has almost limitless responses, and by the end of your trip, you’ll have a firm grasp on how you and your travel buddy are doing.

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2. “If you had $10 million to use however you wanted, what broad-based index fund would you invest it in?”: Nice! This is the kind of conversation topic that can turn strangers into best friends.

3. “Are we alone in the universe, and if not, do you think aliens would like artichoke dip if I threw them a welcome party?”: Maybe your companion will say yes, but if they say no, then you’re off to the races.

4. “Have you ever discovered that black hole formation causes a loss in mass and radiation?”: Most likely your companion will have no idea what you’re talking about, but if they do, prepare for hours of wild dialogue with the one and only Stephen Hawking. Whoa.

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5. “Do you think Slash still wears the top hat because he enjoys it, or because people just expect it of him?”: Discussing personal heroes can offer great insight into someone’s values. Does Slash’s image matter as long as he stays true to his hard-rock roots? The floodgates of gab have opened!

6. “I’m the inventor of the microwave.”: A great way to end awkward silences immediately? Tell your driver that you’re Percy Spencer, the man who invented the microwave. And what if you’re not Percy Spencer? Well, that’ll lead to a whole other conversation!

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