10 awesome road trip games to survive the drive

You’ve got everything packed up and picked out the perfect rental car. Now it’s time to head out on the road for that dream vacation. Now all you have to do is keep everyone entertained with these classic road trip games.

awesome road trip games

1. I spy
Probably the easiest game to get started on any road trip. Just uttering “I spy with my little eye” gets everyone on the lookout to find whatever you’ve picked. It’s good for kids, and works just fine with the younger set. All I can suggest is to make the target something readily available, because nothing sucks worse than trying to guess the red lettering on a billboard from five miles back on the road.

2. 20 questions
Pick the answer and make the rest of the people in the car figure it out. Only 20 questions to find the answer. Seems easy enough, until you get someone that picks something obscure like Hervé Villechaize. Trying to guess Tattoo from “Fantasy Island” might get people to starting asking “Are we there yet?” Hey, that’s a question – 19 more to go. 

3. License plate game

License plate game

A car full of kids, a few pads of paper, pens and the open highway. That’s all you need to keep the little ones happy as they search for license plates from different states. Keep track of the tags you find on the paper (be honest), and the one that spots the most plates wins. You can raise the stakes by giving double points for Canadian plates. And, of course, the game should automatically end if someone spots a Hawaiian plate on The Mainland.

4. Punch buggy

Punch buggy

The concept is simple enough: give a little love tap to your neighbor in the car whenever you find a Volkswagen Beetle. But how you play it now can be varied. There are debates on whether the classic buggies, the New Beetle or the sporty modern version should be used for the game. But just make sure you don’t go for broke with the punches. Nothing worse than fighting back tears after your little sister beats you down. 

5. Hold your breath
You’re taking a drive into Pittsburgh and come upon a tunnel that will take you into the city. Time to see how long you can hold your breath. Whoever holds their breath the longest wins. It’s probably a good idea to let the driver or person in the front passenger seat figure out who wins. And good luck for those that try to hold their breath as they go through the 1.6-mile long Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston. 

6. Guess the time

Guess the time

You’re driving from Miami to Orlando for some fun at Walt Disney World. How long will it take to meet Elsa and find out if she wants to build a snowman? That’s where everyone in the car comes into play. Take turns figuring out how long it’ll take to reach the destination. Just don’t let the driver use GPS before making their guess. Or worse, let them think they can speed wildly to beat the estimated time from said GPS device.

7. Memory game
There are a few names for this one (The Picnic Game, Casserole Game, etc.), but they all start in similar fashion. “I’m going out on a picnic/vacation and I’m bringing…” follow that with whatever item that comes to mind. Then the next player has to remember that item and add something else to the story. Get a part of the story wrong and you’re out. This one keeps the trip fun and can last for a little bit, so long as you give the younger travelers some leniency with their turn in the game.

8. Quiet game
What kid hasn’t had this game thrown at them during a car ride? You’ve been fighting the entire time with your brother or sister over that Mad Libs. Your parents have let it slide for 80 miles, but no more. “Let’s see who can stay quiet the longest.” Yeah, the old folks wanted some peace and quiet. But it’s good time to get creative and find a way to pick on your sibling without any noise. Little pieces of paper straw wrappers are good for throwing. 

9. Would you rather?
Would you rather put your hand in a bowl of electric eels or dance while roaches are poured on top of you? Neither option is particularly pleasing, but you’ve got to pick one. That’s the premise of this road game. Everyone takes a turn having to choose between awful and awful. Or awesome and awesome – depends on who’s asking the question. I’ll admit his is more geared toward the adult set, but it can easily be tailored for kids and be just as fun. 

10. Hot seat
This one is decidedly grownup, but still a lot of fun. Every person in the car takes a turn in the “hot seat.” Once you’re in the seat, the others in the car will ask you five questions that you must answer. Usually you can veto one of the questions, but you can see how wild this game could go. The only thing to worry about is giving an answer that’s going to tick off people in the car.

Is there a game you played growing up during road trips that we didn’t cover? Let us know below.