Here are five tips to make the most of your next trip to the drive-in the best drive-in movie experience possible.

Going to the local drive-in movie theater is a great American pastime. Even though the number of drive-in theaters keeps going down year after year, Americans will never get tired of watching movies behind the wheel. In fact, for many individuals and families, drive-ins are one of the least expensive ways to see first-run movies. 

For the first time in history, the national average cost of a movie ticket went above $9 in 2018, shooting up to $9.11. Drive-in tickets tend to be much less per person. Attendees traditionally pay per parking spot so a family of four can easily see a movie for less than they would at an indoor theater. 

The coronavirus pandemic has also shuttered movie theaters across the country. Going to the local drive-in may be your only option if you plan on catching a flick on the big screen. Staying outside decreases your chances of contracting the virus. You’ll also have more room to spread out and practice social distancing. From protective seat covers to homemade treats, here are five tips to make the most of your next trip to the drive-in.

Show Up Early

Americans are starting to rediscover the joys of watching movies outdoors in the face of the coronavirus. Many indoor theaters remain closed or are operating with limited seating capacities so more patrons will likely flock to a drive-in instead. If you have a drive-in theater in your area, it’s best to show up early to make sure you can get a good seat. If this is your first time watching a movie outdoors, you may need to adjust your position so give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable. 

You can always show up early and enjoy the outdoors before the sun sets or the movie begins. Bring along some games or sports equipment to help pass the time, especially if you have small children who tend to get restless when there’s nothing on the screen. 

Get Comfortable

There are lots of different ways to watch a movie in or around your car. As a couple, you may want to stay in the front seat. You can recline the passenger and driver seats for extra comfort. As for large families and groups, try folding up the back seats and laying down an air mattress, pillows, or a comforter so your kids have more room to spread out. They also don’t have to worry about sitting still in their seats. They can roll around without getting in anyone’s way.

You can also bring inflatable chairs, lawn chairs, and folding chairs to the drive-in theater if you prefer sitting outside. You can get closer to nature without missing anything important. The windshield or the angle of the screen may block your view, so bring along some extra chairs to give yourself some more seating options. 

If you have a pickup truck, try converting the bed into a cozy viewing area. Lay down a mattress or cushions to make the most of this space. Use a truck bed liner to protect the back of your vehicle. You don’t want crumbs and spilled drinks sticking to the bed of your truck. The liner will also help you keep the mattress and pillows clean so you don’t clog them up with dirt, tar, and grease. 

Bring Your Own Refreshments

Thomas Donut

Enjoying Thomas Donuts in the car.

Many drive-in theaters do not have onsite concession stands. If they do, get ready to pay a steep price for popcorn and soda. If you’re looking to save money, it’s easy to bring your own refreshments. You don’t have to stick a bunch of candy in your purse or worry about getting stopped at the door. Just keep your at-home snacks in the car and you should have everything you need for the big show.

This is your chance to get creative with your movie theater snacks. You don’t have to rely on salty popcorn and boxes of candy. Try bringing homemade treats, appetizing meals and other dishes you won’t normally find in a movie theater. 

Our favorite thing is to grab gourmet donuts!

9 Healthy & Easy Snacks for the Car

Protect the Interior

If you plan on enjoying all these delicious treats in your car, it’s best to install floor mats so you don’t dirty up the carpet in your vehicle. Nothing will stain the interior of your car quite like sugary sodas, greasy popcorn, and other edible treats. One wrong move and the entire floor of your car could get soaked. You should be enjoying the movie instead of worrying whether or not your kids can keep their beverages in their hands.  

With rubber floor mats, you don’t have to worry about staining or ruining the floor of your car. These mats are designed to collect and soak up large amounts of fluid so it doesn’t seep into the hardware underneath the vehicle. Without these protective coverings, a spill could leave your car smelling like Coke for years on end. Or worse, you might end up with a nasty case of mold. 

Give yourself more peace of mind behind the wheel with protective coverings.

Don’t Forget to Clean Up

Unlike indoor movie theaters, it’s important to clean up after yourself when visiting a drive-in. There may not be ushers on hand to come through and clean up your mess. Leave the outdoors as you found it and bring along your own clean-up materials. Bring a trash bag from home so you don’t end up littering your neighborhood. You may also need wet wipes in case you don’t have access to public restrooms. Bring along sanitary wipes if you need to wipe up stains and spills throughout the movie. Before you drive off into the night, look around your parking spot to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.

Keep these tips in mind as you venture to your local drive-in movie theater. It’s a great way to get out of your house and enjoy some entertainment without risking your health and safety.