End Backseat Boredom With the Best Road Trip Games

The first day of school is right around the corner along with the end of summer, but there’s still plenty of time to squeeze in one last family and friend trip before the summer fun is over. The road trip is a classic vacation. Hitting the open road with windows down and the radio on is a great way to bond as a group and create memories that will last a lifetime. While the destination is the journey, sometimes the journey can get a little tiresome. But, never fear! Here are some of the best road trip games to see you through your next car haul. Whether you are on a family trip with the kiddos or enjoying some time with grown ups, keep your time together exciting and fun with these car games.

While You Were Sleeping

This game is perfect for creative types or anyone who loves to tell stories. It can be played by folks of all ages and encourages some solid teamwork. To play this game one of your passengers must fall asleep. In that time, it is up to you and the other alert passengers to concoct a wild story about something that happened while the snoozer was snoozing. Take turns adding details to your story. Make it wacky and weird, but somewhat plausible unless you want to get caught! When your sleepy passenger awakes, it is up to everyone else to accurately re-tell the made-up story about all the things that happened while your friend was asleep. Go around sharing parts of the story, but don’t mess up! If someone goes off script you can ask them “Are you sure?” and then they have to sit quietly so they don’t ruin the joke. Convince the sleeper that the story really happened and you win. But, if the sleeper catches on and calls you on your bluff they are crowned the victor. This game is likely only good one time on any given trip…unless you have really sleepy and forgetful friends and family!

21 Questions

Always a classic, 21 Questions is a fun guessing game that any number of people can play. One person chooses an obect/person/event/etc. Everyone else in the car takes turns asking yes/no questions. Questions cannot be repeated, so keep your memory sharp! Common questions include, “Is it a person?”, “Can I eat it?”, “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” Whoever guesses the word first gets to star in the next round and pick the guessing topic. If you stump the car with your topic, you win!

I Spy

A favorite amongst kids, I Spy works similarly to 21 Questions. I Spy is a little easier for younger participants to join in, because the person choosing the guessing topic picks something that everyone can see. The challenger chooses something visible to the car (yellow road paint, license plates, mirrors, radio buttons, etc.) and introduces the topic with the sentence, “I spy with my little eye, something ____.” End you statement with a clue about what you are looking at and then let the other passengers take turns guessing what you are thinking of. If you’re feeling generous you can give extra clues. Whoever guesses the “spied” object gets to continue the game by choosing the next item.


If you are driving a family of youngsters around, be sure to pack some pencils and papers for games of Hangman. If you enjoy putting the cruise control on and listening to the radio, this game is perfect for entertaining youngsters in the back seat without having to participate. One person chooses a topic — a word, person, phrase, book, location, etc. — and draws out blanks (_ _ _    _ _ _ _) that represent each letter of the topic. The other person guesses letters. If they guess a correct letter the challenger fills the letter into the right boxes (_ a _    _a_ _). If the guesser picks an incorrect letter the challenger draws part of a stick figure. Once the whole person is drawn the challenger has won. But, if the person is able to guess the word from the letters they are choosing then they win and run the next round.

Alphabetical Categories

This game is another good one for folks of all ages. One person chooses a topic (bands, books, celebrities, plants, etc.) and begins by offering one that starts with the letter A. If the topic is animals, someone could start with aardvark. The next person then continues with an animal that starts with B — like, baboon. The game continues in a round — cow, dog, elephant — until the end of the alphabet is reached. Think really hard about those Q’s, X’s, and Z’s!

I’m Going on a Picnic

Another alphabetical game, this one strengthens your memory. Someone starts by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing ___.” The first one starts with A and each person moves through the alphabet having to repeat everyone else’s picnic items. For instance, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples” — “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and balloons” — “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, balloons, and cats.” Each person adds to the list and works hard to remember the whole list.

Battle of the Bands

This one is a little better for adults — especially ones who have lots of music on their phones or mp3 players. One person suggests a type of song (love song, travel song, songs about sunshine, etc.). Two other passengers have one minute to battle it out and pick what they think is the best song to represent the category. Each one presents their top choice to the rest of the car by playing it and the other passengers vote to choose who is the better dj.

Long trips can be a lot of fun, but when you are stuck in one small space for an extended period of time, the atmosphere can get a little tedious and stale. Make sure to collect the rules for all your favorite games before hitting the road and you and your friends and family won’t have to suffer a dull moment during the first moments of your epic adventure!


Photo credit: Nisa yeh / CC SA 2.0

No Comments

Post A Comment