Roadtrips can mean miles and miles of highway with nothing very interesting to see. It can also mean kids (or kids at heart!) in the backseat who run out of ways to entertain themselves. Roadtrip games can help make the trip go faster and also help keep the driver awake during those long stretches of endless highway! Over the years, we have played many roadtrip games. Some of them store bought, and some we have just made up over the years. Here are some that we have had some great success with. How about yours? Have you tried these? Comment if you have more game ideas!
This is a classic game that I have played my entire life. The nice thing about this game is that you can even play it by yourself for something to do while driving or riding. It requires that all players know how to read. There are many variations, I’m sure, but these are the ‘rules’ that we always play:
Objective of the Game: Starting with the letter ‘A’, find words on road signs, billboards, or business signs that include that letter and call it out (e.g. ‘A’, highway!). The first one to find it and call it out gets it. No one else can use that sign. That person is now on letter ‘B’ while everyone else is still looking for letter ‘A’. First one to get to through the entire alphabet (through ‘Z’) wins the game. You can continue playing until everyone gets through it or start a new game after the first person gets through. License plates and words on vehicles can not be used. The hardest letters are J and Q. Oftentimes, these are ‘catchup’ letters to even out where everyone is! Sometimes roads don’t have enough signs to play this game. It’s a judgement call whether or not you have to give up on the game and try something else.
License Plate Sayings
This is a game that can be fun to play if there are a lot of vehicles on the road with you. Typically there are three letters on every license plate that goes by. The group picks a license plate letter combo (e.g. ‘AWT’) and everyone shouts out three word sayings that start with those letters (e.g. ‘All Whales Talk!’). These can be total nonsense – and many times those are the funniest. You continue on until you tire of those three letters or run out of sayings. This game requires everyone to at least know what letters words start with, but doesn’t mean they know yet how to read. It can be quite fun with smaller kids who sometimes come up with the funniest sayings.
Would You Rather?
This is a game that is best done with the deck of cards for this game ( Would You Rather Classic Card Game ), but can also be played by just making things up. Usually, you pick two very challenging or disgusting things and ask everyone else if they would rather do ‘X’ or ‘Y’. The more challenging or disgusting, the funnier it is what people say to reason out what they would choose. E.g. Would you rather eat your own boogers or a live centipede? People have to pick – otherwise, it’s not a fun game.
This is a guessing game where people try to identify a person or object in 20 questions or less. It is appropriate for all ages, but can be more adult or not depending on the content. To play the game, one person thinks of a person, place, or thing. The other players take turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to try to figure out what the answer is and can have one guess per turn. Keep track of how many questions are being asked and if you get to ‘20’ the person ‘wins’ and reveals the answer. If someone guesses the answer, they become ‘it’ and the game continues. To make the game easier or more controlled, you can select a category for the answer to be in.
In this game, you create silly stories together. It starts with the driver who says the first word in the story. The person sitting in the front passenger seat will need to say the next word in the story. You’ll want to have some sort of rhythm going so that each person doesn’t have a lot of time to come up with a word. The sentences need to make sense. A person can end the sentence with a ‘period’ or ‘exclamation point’ or ‘question mark’.
Two Truths and a Lie
People take turns. They say three statements. Two of which are true and one is a lie. Everyone else tries to identify which one is the lie.
The Movie Game
The game starts with an actor/actress. The next person has to say a movie that they have been in. The next person has to name another actor/actress in that same movie. It continues on until someone is stumped or incorrect.
One person starts by saying “Fortunately” and mentioning something fortunate. The next person has to follow by saying something unfortunate about the previous situation. If someone stumbles, they get a strike. Three strikes and they are out. Last man standing wins.
Someone chooses a category. The next person has to name something in that category that starts with ‘A’. The next person has to repeat that and then name something in that category that starts with ‘B’. And so on.
The Name Game
Someone starts with the name of someone famous. The next person has to say a person whose first name starts with the letter of the previous last name. If someone mentions a person where both the first and last name start with the same letter, the game reverses in order.
Someone starts with a word. The following person has to come up with another word associated with that word. The game continues on until someone messes up or gets stumped.
Cows on My Side
When you see a cow on your side of the road, you have to yell “Cows on my side!”. Every time you call a cow, you get a point. If you see cows on the other side, you say “Cows on your side!”. If you call “Cows on your side” before the other person sees them, you steal a point. If anyone sees a cemetery, they yell “Ghost cow”, stealing all of the other sides points.
Going on a Picnic
The first person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing” and then names something you would bring on a picnic that starts with ‘A’. The next person has to repeat what the previous people have said and then add something with the next letter. The game continues through the alphabet. Someone is out if they mess up.
License Plate Bingo
You can either make up Bingo cards or just use a map for a group game. Each person watches for license plates and yells out when they see a new state. Then, either find the square with that state or the state on the map and mark it (or color it in). That person could receive points for finding that state or you could have everyone have to find their own license plate with that state. You could also modify the cards depending on where you are or to make some easier for smaller kids. Offer bonus points for Hawaii and Alaska. This game can take awhile, so we find that we play it on and off during the entire trip. Some of the best places to find new states are parking lots at touristy areas or national parks. Whoever gets bingo wins, and it’s also fun to see who can fill in their entire card/map.
Scavenger Hunt Bingo
Make up bingo cards (or find some online) with things you might see from your car. Each person watches for items and yells out when they spot it. You can have everyone fill in their card or have each person have to find their own. Whoever gets bingo wins, and it’s also fun to see who can fill in their entire card.
The Preacher’s Cat
The first person says something about the preacher’s cat using two words that start with ‘A’. The next person replaces those two words in that same sentence with two words that start with ‘B’. The game continues on through the alphabet. A variation of this game is that each person has to think of two different words using each letter of the alphabet. One round goes with ‘A’, then ‘B’ and so on.
Spot the Car
Using bingo cards, try to spot different models of cars or trucks. You can also use colors for smaller kids.
Where’s the Alphabet?
Observe objects on the road and say each object that you see in alphabetical order. The first person may see an apple tree. The next person sees a billboard, and so on. You could also use a printed list and make it more like a bingo game where you’re trying to fill in a sheet of objects that start with all of the letters of the alphabet.
Someone chooses an object and says “I spy with my little eye” and then offers a clue. Players take turns trying to guess what’s been spied.
If you spy a yellow car, yell “banana”.
Rhyming Guessing Game
Someone chooses a word and gives a rhyming clue. For example, “I rhyme with boot but am not a chute”. Players guess by asking a question. “Are you a musical instrument?”. If wrong, the first player should rhyme a reply, for example, “No, I’m not a flute”. This continues on until someone guesses or the group gets stumped.
This involves some preparation ahead of time. Each person writes down funny facts about themselves on slips of paper that the others probably don’t know. Fill a jar or plastic bag. During the trip, someone pulls out a fact and reads it aloud to the players. Players take turns guessing who the ‘fun fact’ belongs to.
Either bring a dictionary or use an online dictionary. Someone chooses an obscure word from the dictionary. Each person (except the driver) writes down what they think is the real definition or something that sounds real, but is funny. The person also writes down the real definition. Then, reads out loud everyone’s answer in a random order. Once all of the answers have been read, each player votes for which answer they think is correct. Scoring is as follows:
– 1 point given to a player for every player that thought their answer was correct
– 2 points for each player who correctly guesses the correct answer
– 3 points to the reader if no one guesses the correct answer
– 3 points to a player that submits an answer similar to the correct answer
Game is over when someone reaches 50 points (or whatever you decide).
Variations – choose other categories. Like obscure movie plots, obscure famous people, strange laws, or acronyms.
Travel Games to Buy
For players 17 and up. The answers to the clues are perfectly innocent, but the clues lead you to think of something dirty! Assuming you have a dirty mind, of course!
Apples to Apples
In this game, everyone is dealt seven cards. The ‘judge’ selects a card that provides an adjective or description. Everyone else chooses a card from their hand that best matches the description on that card and puts it in a pile near the judge. The judge shuffles the cards provided and reads aloud each one. They then select the one they like the best. The person who provided that card wins a point. The next person is the judge and play continues until one player accumulates enough points (to be determined by the group).
Cards Against Humanity
This is an adult version of Apples to Apples.
Would You Rather
See the previous description.
This is an adult game. A player selects a card, reads the question and all of the multiple choice answers (A, B, or C). Each player votes with a card face down on what answer they think you will choose. You provide your answer (A, B, or C). Players who match your answer get a point. Play continues until enough points are accumulated (decided by the group).
Take turns trying to answer trivia questions from selected categories. Accumulate points until someone is the winner.
Magnetic Board Games
Play retro board games while traveling using magnetic boards.
Wooden License Plate Game
Use a wooden U.S. Map to play the license plate game described above.