One time-tested way to make the time fly by on a road trip with family or friends is to play games together during the long drive. While iPods and other gadgets will last for a while, all batteries will eventually run out. So here are 10 road trip games to keep every occupant of your car, well, occupied. No batteries or screens required.
The License Plate Game
This game seems as old as road trips themselves. The game is simple: As you’re riding down the road, look out for the states on the plates and collect all 50. Alaska is hard to find, Hawaii is even harder. The first one to spot them all wins. If you really want a challenge, don’t use a list of all 50 states for reference.
The Alphabet Game
The Alphabet Game is similar to the License Plate Game, except that it involves collecting letters of the alphabet instead of states. You can also use any letters you see. Road signs, bumper stickers, license plates and storefronts are all fair game. Start with A and make your way through the alphabet in order. The first one to make it to the end of the alphabet wins. The best way to win this game is to get creative with where you get your letters from.
This game is so popular it was turned into a book! One person picks something they see outside their window and says “I spy with my little eye…” followed by a vague description, like the object’s color or its shape. “I spy with my little eye… something blue!” Then the rest of the car has to take turns guessing what the object is. Once someone does, the correct guesser gets a point and the next person gets to find an object. The person with the most points at the end wins. Try not to pick something that will disappear too quickly.
Punch Buggy or Slug Bug — whatever you call it, you’ve probably been a victim of this game. Whenever anyone in the car sees a Volkswagen Beetle, they can yell “Punch buggy!” (or “Slug bug!” — your choice) and lightly tap whoever is closest to them. You can only call punch buggy if you’re the first one to see it. There are quite a few variations on this game, with some people awarding two punches for old Beetles vs. new Beetles, or more for certain colors. Feel free to come up with your own rules.
Never Have I Ever
If you don’t really know some of the people in the car, this game is great way to break the ice. Never Have I Ever starts with each person holding 10 fingers up. One person will start by saying “Never have I ever…” followed by something that they have never done, but that most people have. For example, “Never have I ever... been to Iowa.” If you have done it, you put down a finger. Once you’ve put down all 10 fingers, you’re out, and the last person left wins. You might be surprised by what your friends have missed out on.
For this game, one person thinks of something while everyone else in the car has 20 questions to try to find out what that person is thinking of. It could be restaurant chains, famous landmarks, TV shows or anything else. It’s great when the questions become more specific and you’re closer to getting the answer.
Name the Song
Depending on the radio station, you might enjoy this more than your kids. Start up a radio station and try to guess the song before anyone else does. With streaming services like Spotify or Pandora, you can tailor the song choices to your tastes as well.
Two Truths and a Lie
This is another great game for road-trippers who might not know each other that well. Two Truths and a Lie has one person naming two facts about themselves that are true and one fact that is a lie. Then the rest of the car has to guess which of the three facts is false. This game is sure to bring out some surprises.
This game can help to keep your mind working when the landscape has been dull and flat for awhile. In this game, players count up from one, each person saying a number in a rotation. Each time someone comes to the number seven, a number with seven as one of the digits, or a multiple of seven, they have to replace that number with the word “sloop.” So for example, in “...26, sloop, sloop, 29...” the number 27 has been replaced because it has seven in it, and 28 has been replaced because it’s a multiple of seven. If someone messes up or takes too long, then everyone has to start again from the beginning. The goal is to get as far as you can. It can get to be a real brain workout!
This game is great fun for the cars that are equipped with heated seats. In this game, try to turn the heated seat on for the person next you without them noticing. In all likelihood, they’ll try to get you back and create a competition that could last a whole car ride.
Ready for a road trip to put these games to use? Here are some awesome summer road trips you can try.