Checklist for the Ultimate Drive-in Experience
Vintage Car with text The Ultimate Drive-in Experience

We have tried to think of everything, we really have, we even talked to other people. We have organized this checklist for the ultimate drive-in experience from general policy rules and drive-in common courtesy to personal comfort choices. If you think checklists aren’t “manly” enough you can take it from the youtube guy “Manly Moments” at the bottom of this blog. But I got to say this list is thoughtful but it’s also tough, real tough, like action hero quality.

  • Have some cash on hand. These days (thank you Covid!) you will most likely have to pre-purchase your tickets online, however if you are a “spur of the moment” type and want to buy at the gate you’re going to need cash, also for the canteen – if it’s open. It’s a good idea to check your favourite drive-in’s listing and their website for updates and policy.

  • Turn off your headlights, running lights, interior lights, brake lights….all the lights. Once parked keep your foot off the brake pedal. Having them on is a horrible distraction for other moviegoers. It will also potentially run your battery dead with your car off. You also don’t want to sit for that long with your car idling. Not only is it expensive and bad for your car it’s also not very considerate to other moviegoers.
  • Park in the dedicated parking bays. Don’t be a double parker, everybody’s paint job is just as important.
  • Drive Slowly. Be aware. Drive carefully in the cinema lot. Kids might be running around
  • FM Radio. Gone are those boxes that sounded like a tin can and clipped on that threatens to shatter the side window, especially if somebody walking back from the bathroom didn’t see the wire. The movie sound is transmitted through an FM radio frequency, make sure you have a working car radio, if not bring a portable radio and extra batteries, just in case. Also if you are unsure of your car’s battery health this is a good option. See Turn off your headlights above for the same reasons not to use your car radio with an old battery.
  • Arrive Early. Get there early to get a good ‘seat’ and to enjoy the pre-show entertainment. Does anybody else remember being honked at because you arrived after the trailers and the dancing hot dogs?
    BYOF. Some drive-in cinema’s do not allow you to bring your own food and drink. It’s the way they make money to keep going, a lot of the ticket price goes back to the distributors. If we’re in the middle of a pandemic these rules may be relaxed and you will have to BYOF (Bring Your Own Food). Again check their website for any recent updates on this policy. If they do allow you to BYOF you might want to consider a cooler.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. And for the kids: Bring (or wear) pyjamas – this can make the transition from party time to bedtime just a tad easier.
    Games. Maybe a frisbee to throw around pre-show or some in-car games to pass the time waiting for the sun to go down.
  • Make the car comfy. Bringing pillows and extra blankets helps make everywhere cozier. Check the venue’s policy, some allow parking your car backwards if it’s a hatchback, station wagon or bakkie (pick-up truck), fold down the backseat and line the back with a foamy mattress and those extra blankets and pillows.
  • Bug Spray. This will help to keep you from getting eaten alive if you need to open the windows for fresh air.
  • A fan, the kind that moves the air around, not your uncle in facepaint. If you are in a hot and humid climate or it’s peak summer, a small fan might be a good idea.
  • Extra power. If you have to bring a radio, you have packed a fan and you have teenagers who can’t stop tiktoking their life, an extra power pack might be essential.
    Flashlight. Or headlights by that we mean a light on a headband, allowing you to take the hands-free approach to finding your way in the dark. Extra helpful when you have to usher your loved ones to the bathroom.
  • Jumper Cables if your car doesn’t already have them. Some locations do provide them but it’s not a rule so it’s best to be prepared. Also, you could be the hero for someone else who didn’t bring theirs. We will cover electric car charging stations when they are readily available.
  • Pets. Some venues are pet friendly, check their listing to see if that’s the case and always check their pet policy for particulars.
  • Bring a potato. What? Why? You are asking right now. It’s to rainproof your windscreen. Strange, but true; cut a raw potato in half, rub the cut side of one-half potato on the window, use the other half of the potato if needed, leave to dry without touching. The starch in the potato will act as an invisible barrier between the windshield and the rain.

One of the takeaways from all of this is that it’s important to be courteous to your other moviegoers. If you don’t have any of these items on hand you can pick them up or have them delivered right to your door.

PICNICS & CAR-DINING

PICNICS & CAR-DINING

NECK PILLOWS

ONESIES

FOR THE PETS

FOR THE PETS

LAMPS

LAMPS

SEATING & BEANBAGS

SEATING & BEANBAGS

PORTABLE FM RADIOS

PORTABLE FM RADIOS

FM HEADSETS

FM HEADSETS

DON’T LOSE POWER!

DON’T LOSE POWER!

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In the spirit of transparency, we want you to know upfront that links to products we recommend are (mostly) affiliate links. This means that, at zero additional cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. A percentage of that commission is being set aside to start funding the foundation we are creating to help bring edutainment to underserved areas around the world, starting in Africa. Thanks in advance for helping us with this mission! To read more about it and perhaps get involved, read Focus on Africa.

Are you a POP-UP Cinema owner?

Stop suffering from FOMO and get listed on the Pop-Up cinema directory! With all the increased traffic you are going to have to deal with you may have to hire car guards. Click the button, choose your package, fill in the form, upload your images and you’re good to go! And don’t worry, you can actually preview your listing before you commit…
because we all know commitment can be scary.

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