What makes a good road trip? A beautiful destination
certainly doesn’t hurt, and a perfect playlist
helps too. Gorgeous coastal routes
are an advantage. However, what you will probably remember most are the good times you had with your travelling companions - and these needn’t be limited to the shenanigans that happen once you have arrived. Our list of the best road trip games will help to bring the excitement to the journey - and make hours on the road go by in a fun-filled flash!
1 . Name that Tune
This is a simple favourite which requires only a playlist, a speaker and some enthusiasm. There are multiple ways to play it, but for the most intensity you should nominate a music operator (not the driver, obviously). That person will be in charge of choosing a range of songs of different genres to play. The first person to yell out the name of the song gets one point. You can also include the artist as one point for an added element. Let the games begin.
Because it requires ears only and no hands or eyes, the driver can participate in this game too - keep score if you like, but it's just as fun without it. Be prepared for some noise - this one tends to bring out the outdoor voices with friendly competition!
2 . License plate acronyms
Granted, the feasibility of this game depends on the format of license plates in your destination country, but many do have a sequence of at least two letters somewhere on them, and that’s all that is needed.
This one requires a bit of creativity, and is perfect for older kids as it encourages them to use their brain a bit. Someone in the car will spot a number plate and call out the duo or trio of letters - e.g “DF” or “RCT.” The winner is the person who comes up with the best and/or funniest phrase for that combination of letters - from “Dirty Feet” to “Drunken Foolery” or “Red Cabbage Tacos.” This game can be as PG or R-rated as you wish, for kids or adults.
3 . Bingo Boards
You can buy or make road trip bingo boards. They should be different for every person but include a fair mixture of things that are commonly seen on a road trip and things which are a little rarer - for example, cow, horse, speed limit sign, ambulance, flag, SUV, street sign starting with “A.”
If you make your own bingo boards, they can be as easy or hard as you want, with as many squares as befits the length of your journey, and can be tailored to the destinations you will be driving to. The winner is the first person to tick of all their items - there’s room to get creative with your interpretations of each one!
4 . Two truths and a lie
This is one to help you get to know your travelling companions a little better - and although it might not last long, it’s a good conversation starter.
Each person comes up with three statements about themselves, two of them true and one of them false. The group then has to guess which is the lie, an endeavour which often proves surprisingly difficult! You can keep score of who has the most accurate guesses, but really the point of the game is more to spark some interesting yarns.
5 . Word building
This one requires a bit of thinking, and is perfect for those who love scrabble or boggle! First, establish an order, clockwise or anticlockwise. The first person chooses a letter, and then the next adds another letter, and so on around the group. The aim is to avoid being the person to give the final letter in a word.
Each added letter must allow for the possibility of a real word to be formed further down the line - and if questioned, the player must give the word they are thinking of. Whoever has no choice but to finish off the word is the loser for that round.
6 . Car colour betting
Counting cars of different colours is a favourite with the kids, but can be a little mind-numbing. You can spice it up a little by making some bets, backed up by cash or not.
The premise is simple: The group agrees on a time period, be it 10 minutes or half an hour, or a location at which the game will end. Each person picks a colour (more than one can have the same colour), and then a number. The person who counts closest to their number in cars of their colour in the allotted time or distance wins.
7 . Best in genre
Music lovers will enjoy this one, and it’s good for getting a varied playlist that suits everyone’s tastes. Everyone in the car takes turns calling a genre or category of songs - this could be as simple as “rock” or “motown” but it really gets interesting when people pick categories like “80s strip club songs,” “rainy day jams,” or “tunes to play chess to.”
Each person picks a song to fit the category and once they have all been played (this can be a lengthy game), everyone votes for the one which fits the theme best - they cannot vote for their own. This game works well when everyone has their own music to choose from on an iPod or smartphone!
8 . What’s yours like?
For this game, someone will have to come up with an object that most people own, such as “frying pan.” They then whisper it to everyone except one person who will be the guesser for that round.
Each player makes a statement about what their version of that object is like, without making it too obvious - “Mine gets really hot,” “mine makes my dinner.” The guesser has to guess what the object is. There is the potential for a lot of innuendo, depending on the crowd.
9 . Trivia
Sometimes you can’t beat simplicity. Before you depart, get your hands on one of those coffee table sets of trivia cards, or if you have access to the internet on the road you can find some online.
Whoever doesn’t like trivia (there’s always one) can call out the questions and confirm or correct the answers. Make it into a competition if you wish, or take a collaborative approach to see how many you can get through.
10 . Photo rally
A team game, this one requires a camera and a bit of extra time for your journey so you can stop frequently. It’s also perfect for those travelling in convoy and makes for a fierce competition between vehicles!
Make a list of photo opps you might find along the way, and assign points values depending on difficulty - for example, 5 points for a team member outside a McDonalds, 20 points for a team member fully immersed in the ocean and 50 points for a team member with a police officer. You can tailor them to the places you will be passing through, or just make up some weird and wacky situations. Not only will you have lots of fun, but a great photo record of your trip!
Bring some of these game ideas with you for your next road trip, may it depart from Seattle
, Mexico City
or wherever you may please.