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11 Road Trip Games To Keep the Whole Family Entertained

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Let's Play

Are you dreading a family road trip because you think boredom will lead to complaints the whole time? Before the era of tablets and podcasts, road trippers had to find other ways to stay entertained in the car. These classic road trip games will take you back to your childhood and help make the time go faster — and keep the kids from tapping your shoulder every two minutes to ask if you're "there yet." What do you do to keep road trips fun for everyone? Tell us in the comments.


Related: Do You Have a Car Care Plan?

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I Spy

Sharpen kids' perception skills. The game works by having one person spot something (it can be anything: an object they see outside, or a person in the car) and having the other players guess what that thing is. Once you've thought of your item, say: "I spy with my little eye" and answer players' questions — such as about color or size — to help them decipher what the object is. They can ask only "yes" or "no" questions.


RelatedThings You Didn't Know About Your Favorite Board Games

Young siblings playing in packed car on a road trip
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20 Questions

You have 20 questions to figure out what thing somebody else in the car is thinking about. Start broad and narrow the options as you get more clues: Is it an animal, vegetable, or a person? What color is it?

Road Trip License Plate
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License Plate Game

Memorize or write down the letters of the first license plate you spot, then form as many words as you can. Apart from the letters on each player's individual plate, two vowels are picked (they can be unique or the same) that all players can use to add to their pool of letters. The player with the most words at the end of each round wins. 

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Two Truths and a Lie

Great for old and new friends, or to gauge how well your family knows you. The game works by having one player make three statements, with one being untruthful — and the other players have to guess which. You can get creative by mixing true statements with a little fiction, such as retelling a story in which you went on a real trip somewhere but changing the details of who you went with.

Closeup of Child's hands playing with alphabet-toy-block
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Alphabet Game

Fun for all ages, as long as everyone has the alphabet memorized. Play by finding items to match all 26 letters of the alphabet in order from A to Z. Get creative by using billboards, roadwork signs, license plates, landmarks, and monuments — anything goes! Once you see the next letter, call it out and keep it going.

Kids playing games while travelling by car
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Animal Name Game

A test of creativity and memorization skills for more crowded cars as each person says their name and an animal that starts with the same letter. (For example: Jake the jaguar.) The next person says all the names before theirs, in order, and adds their own. If they mess up, the game starts all over. Repeat until you get tired.

Family with dog in the car
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Fortunately/Unfortunately

The possibilities are endless with this progressive story game. One person begins telling a story and each player adds a sentence — but must start that sentence with "fortunately" or "unfortunately," and alternate. So: “John went to the supermarket to buy a drink. Unfortunately it was closed. Fortunately he found a vending machine nearby. Unfortunately it didn’t take dollar bills.”

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Name the Tune

Fun for musically inclined groups. Each player hums the tune of a song for 10 seconds; the others have to guess what it is. Bonus points for those who can guess it in five seconds or less. 

Happy family enjoying in car during road trip
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Team Story Telling

One person starts telling a story; the next person has to continue the story by using the last letter from that first sentence. For example, if “Lori went to school on Monday and met up with her friend Maria,” the next person has to continue the story with the letter "a": “An eagle suddenly flew across the room, and Maria was startled and started to cry.” The first person to get stumped loses.

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Who Am I?

This guessing game will help sharpen history knowledge. Players ask "yes" or "no" questions to guess the identity of a famous person. For example: Is it a woman? No. Was he ever president? Yes. Was he a general? Yes. Did he live in Virginia? Yes. Is he George Washington? Yes. 

Hangman game and a pen
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Hangman

Great for polishing spelling skills. One player draws a gallows and thinks of a word for the guesser, who can ask one letter at a time. Wrong guesses get a new stick figure body part drawn into the gallows, and a whole stick figure ends the game in a loss; correct guesses get body parts erased. No pen or paper to play with? No worries, just fog up the car window and write clues there! Or buy a travel hangman set for $10 on Amazon.