What are Some Good Games to Play on Road Trips?

Hunting for license plates is a game that can be played while on a road trip.
Games can be a good diversion from sibling squabbles.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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Road trips are a family-friendly and often budget-friendly way to vacation without missing a single mile between your home and your destination. Whether traveling across a state or country, road trips allow time to get a feel for the landscape and environment of your journey. Although staring at the passing sky and sites around you can be enjoyable, boredom can also set in, particularly when traveling with children. Before the whining and irritation of a long car ride can set in, divert attention with some good games to play on road trips.

Because of the unstable nature of most vehicles, traditional diversions like board games are not easy to deal with on the road. Instead, the best games are often very simple, sometimes requiring a pen and paper or merely just a good memory. To prevent several hours spent hunting for game pieces under the seats, avoid overly complicated games.

Many people enjoy playing word games as they travel. For example, you can take a story and cut key words out of each sentence. Without looking at the story, players fill in the blanks by choosing answers that match the part of speech of the missing words, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. When “Mary had a little lamb” becomes “Mom had a gigantic baboon,” the laughter often begins. These games are fun for adults and kids, and they are also a great way to teach children about language and parts of speech.


Mental games involving memorization can also be good for the car. In “I am packing grandma’s trunk,” each player must add an item to put into the trunk. The next player must then repeat all previous items in order before adding his or her own. This is a game that allows families to work together to create the longest, silliest list possible. Offer hints to younger players if they get stuck, and stress that the game is a team effort rather than a competition.

Long drives across the United States offer particularly good games to play on road trips that can even turn into a permanent testament to your journey. In the license plate hunting game, keep a camera handy or provide each participant with an inexpensive disposable one. As you travel, try to snap photographs of license plates from each of the 50 states, or at least of each state you pass through. At the end of the trip, make these into an album or collage as a living memory of your trip and how you prevented boredom along the way.

Games played on a road trip require a sense of fun and willingness to be silly more than anything else. While they can serve as great diversion from sibling squabbles or break the tension after a family fight, games can also help bring families together with laughter. An arsenal of fun, car-friendly games can make a trip truly memorable, and often even those members of the family who consider themselves too cool find themselves being drawn into the fun.


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