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Avoid hearing those dreaded words “Are we there yet?” on your next family road trip with these fun road trip games to entertain the whole family!
Make it an adventure to remember by keeping everyone occupied along the way, with loads of laughs and a bit of thinking to keep you all alert and excited. We’ve put together a list of the best road trip games for families to help make your journey extra special!
Fun Road Trip Games To Play In The Car
When it comes to road trip games, there are plenty of great options that require absolutely no preparation or equipment! These are the best kind of games.
But if you do have time to prepare ahead of time (and aren’t just in the car right now Googling for ideas), we’ve got a few extra options for you that do require a little more effort and preparation.
Games can be a great way to keep kids entertained on long journeys. Not only do they provide a fun diversion, but they can also help break up the monotony of the journey.
Choose Wisely – If you are road-tripping with kids, remember not all games are created equal and some may be more stressful than you want. Make sure to choose ones that are easy to pack and don’t require a lot of set-up, small pieces or clean-up.
Plan ahead – If you’re bringing along some physical games, make sure to pack them in a bag that’s easy to access and won’t take up too much space in the car. If you’re relying on your phone or tablet for part of your road trip game entertainment, make sure you have enough battery power and/or data left to last the entire trip.
Get everyone involved – One of the best things about playing games on road trips is that everyone can join in on the fun, regardless of age or ability. This is especially the case for no-prop road trip games, which can help keep the driver alert during long stretches of road!
Fun Road Trip Games That Don’t Need Any Equipment
Our favourite family games to play in the car are definitely the ones that don’t require you to bring anything with you. We have a few that we play anytime we have a long car ride with the kids. Not just on a long road trip.
1. I Spy
I spy is the classic game for the car that almost everyone knows! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun.
It can be a great game to play with school-aged kids who are learning their letters and spelling, but you can also adjust the game to suit little kids by using colours instead of letters.
How To Play: Take turns choosing something that you can see either within the car or outside the car windows and having everyone guess what it could be based on the first letter clue. For example, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with T”, which could be a tree. The person who guesses correctly has the next go.
2. The Alphabet Game (Also Known As Alphabet Soup)
This is our favourite car game to play as a family. We have a lot of laughs at some of the more obscure answers if someone gets stuck (and do help each other out if we have extra answers).
How To Play: Nominate a category, such as countries, girls’ names, food, movies, songs, etc. Go through the alphabet, starting at A, with each person coming up with an answer that fits the category for each letter of the alphabet, such as food, A could be apple, avocado, acorn etc.
There are a few ways you can play this, depending on how challenging you want it to be or if you are playing with younger kids vs older kids, teens or adults.
We don’t keep scores but you can either give each person a point per letter they get an answer for or just give the point to the fastest responder per letter. Either way, it’s a lot of fun!
3. Sorry I’m Late
This game is definitely better suited to older kids, teens and adults who have seen a lot of different movies. If playing with kids, it also helps to keep your answers suited to movies you know they have seen.
How To Play: One player starts with “Sorry I’m late” and then proceeds to give a reason based on the plot of a well-known film, while the others attempt to guess the movie.
For example, Sorry I’m late, I had to help a mermaid trade her voice for human legs. Answer – The Little Mermaid.
4. Who Am I?
This is another game that can be adjusted to suit younger players, keeping it within their knowledge base but can be a real good challenge when playing with teens and adults.
How To Play: Think of a character or famous person your fellow passengers should know of and have them take turns asking yes or no questions to reveal clues about the identity of the person. Whoever correctly guesses first leads the next round.
Questions might be things such as “Are you female?”, “Are you fictional?”, “Do you wear glasses?”, “Do you play sport?”.
5. Ice Cream Sundae
This is a quick game that can be fun for younger kids especially.
How To Play: Create your ‘sundae’ by finding cars you pass in the right colours. Start with a cone, which would be any yellow car, then you’re looking for your ice cream flavours: brown car (chocolate), white car (vanilla). Add your sprinkles (pink, purple or blue), then top off your Sunday with a cherry (red car).
You can play the same game with different types of food, such as pizza or a taco. Just make sure you plan your colour sequence first so everyone knows what to look for.
6. The Movie Link Game
This is another fun game to play with movie buffs!
How To Play: The first person begins by naming a film and the next person names a different film that is somehow related to the first. It might be that they have the same actor, or the same genre, director or theme. You will need to be clear on the link before you take your turn!
For example, The Croods – Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (the link is Ryan Reynolds), Tomb Raider (the link is movies based on games).
How To Play: Take turns asking the group a ‘Would you rather?’ question such as ‘Would you rather eat ice cream or burgers?’, ‘Would you rather go to Egypt or England?’.
There is no ‘winner’ as such for this game but it is fun learning everyone’s preferences.
8. Road Trip Trivia
If you have an older group of road-trippers, a bit of trivia can be a fun way to pass the time.
You can either ask trivia questions based on things you already know, to see if the other members of your travel party know the answers, or you can find trivia questions online, or print some out before you leave home.
A little like the alphabet game, this game does require you have either a piece of paper or a phone where you can make notes.
How to Play: Have a list from A to Z and then as a family, look for town and city names that start with each letter of the alphabet. See if you can complete the list before you arrive at your destination.
10. The Shopping List Game
This is another simple game that doesn’t require any equipment and will get each family member thinking. This is a memory game and you can play it with many different themes.
How To Play: The first person starts off the shopping list at the letter A by saying, “On my shopping list I have…” and then naming something beginning with A, such as an apple.
The second person then repeats “On my shopping list I have an apple”, then adds something starting with the next letter, such as a banana for B.
The next person then repeats both items, with the game continuing to move around to the next player, each having to remember all of the items on the shopping list the other players named. The further into the game you get, the harder it gets.
For variations, instead of being grocery store items, you could make them things you’re bringing to a party or items I am packing for vacation.
11. The Storytelling Game
Have the entire family in hysterics with this creative storytelling game.
How To Play: The first player begins the story with an intro line, such as “Once upon a time there was a purple cat named Fred”. The second player then adds to the story, moving around to the rest of the players, in this mad lib sort of storytelling cycle.
This is a great activity to get everyone’s energy back up after some quiet time and it’s a great car game for all ages.
12. Guess The Lyrics
If you are music lovers or looking for couple road trip games, this might be the fun travel game for you.
How To Play: Take turns to share a line or two of lyrics from a popular song that you would both know to see if the others can guess it. You can give points for correct guesses if you want to make it more competitive.
13. Rock Paper Scissors
This classic road trip game or waiting in line game is a good one for the kids (or adults) to play in the backseat if those in the front seat need a break.
How To Play: For each round, players throw out either a rock (closed fist), paper (open palm) or scissors (two fingers). The winner is the one that beats their opponent’s sign, with rock beating scissors, scissors beating paper and paper beating rock.
This can also be a fun way to settle disputes over what you’re having for your next road trip meal or who gets the front seat next!
You might find even more ideas in our campfire game ideas for camping trips or some fun campervan games to pack. Some of the games we have included are similar but there are a few new ideas that could just as easily be played in cars too.
Printable Road Trip Games
If you have time to plan before you leave home on your next driving vacation, printable road trip games are a great inexpensive option that can be loads of fun.
The options for printable car games are pretty unlimited these days and you can get activities just for the kids, or printable car games for the whole family to play along.
Here are some fun options for printable road trip activities:
14. Car Bingo
Just like bingo played with numbers, each person has a different bingo grid with road trip-themed images or words, such as road signs, landmarks, and types of buildings. The first person to complete a line on their bingo grid is the winner.
You can print off extra boards so that each person can have a few rounds of gameplay.
EXPERT TIP: Laminate your bingo boards before you leave home and bring dry-erase markers and wet wipes so you can rotate through the boards and reuse them again. After all, each stage of your drive is a little different!
Here are some great printable road trip bingo games:
Make your own list before you leave home or print off a pre-made version, with things you’re likely to see along the way.
Our road trip activity book has some scavenger hunt activities that our kids love to do. They might be the favourites in the kit and we always print off a fresh copy since every drive has something different to see.
You can get our road trip activity book here:
Here are some other fun scavenger hunt printables you can try:
The license plate game is another popular road trip activity, it’s basically a type of scavenger hunt based on the number plates of passing cars, however, there are a few different ways to play.
We have included instructions for 2 different methods. A no prop version of the game and a state license plate game version.
No-Prop License Plate Game
Have each person in the car choose a different number between 1 and 9. They must find a pair of their numbers appearing on the license plates of passing cars. They can also add up two numbers to make a pair.
For example, if your number is 7 and a car has the license plate 374, add the 3 and 4 to get 7 and that counts as a double. Each time you spot a double with your number, you get 2 points. If you spot a car with three of your number, i.e. 777, you get 3 points. The first person to 25 is the winner.
Each person has a different board and they check off the spots on their lists when they see them. Whoever gets five in a row first or covers their whole list is the winner!
License Plate Scavenger Hunt
This version of the game is popular if you are travelling somewhere that has a lot of different states, for example, through the USA.
The goal is to mark off each state as you see a car with that state’s number plate. Getting all 50 USA states is a challenge but it makes it a fun game to play on and off throughout a longer road trip or as you spot them.
You can also adapt it to places such as Australia, with far fewer states to find, or look for number plates from different countries around Europe and add them to a list to see how many countries you have at the end.
It’s definitely a game that can be adapted to suit how you want to play or where you are travelling to.
Hangman: Hangman is a classic game that can be played with a piece of paper and pen, perfect for car rides. Guess the word before the stick figures are hung.
Tic Tac Toe: Another simple game of strategy, tic-tac-toe requires just a piece of paper and pen or pencil.
Board Games: Stick with board games that are simple to set up with few pieces if you do choose to bring any. Magnetic travel games are perfect alternatives to your classic board games from home.
Puzzle Books: Crosswords, sudoku, word search and any of these other word games and number games can be great in the car if you aren’t prone to car sickness from too much reading during long car rides (I am, unfortunately).
If you’re travelling with young children, or even if you are taking a couples road trip and need a little fun to pass the time, there are plenty of other simple activities and fun games that will help keep everyone happy in the car, without relying on devices the whole way.
No matter where you are travelling, there is bound to be a road trip game that will keep the whole family entertained. With these tips and tricks, your family’s next driving adventure is sure to be an unforgettable one!
Need inspiration? Check out our favourite road trip itineraries and tips: