Tired of the kids blindsiding you with “yellow punch buggy, no punch backs” while you’re driving? Or are you planning an epic road trip with your friends and want to keep things old school and phone-free? Don’t worry, the road trip games on this list are great for kids of all ages, so load up on Timbits, buckle up and let the road trip fun begin!
What are Road Trip Games?
Before iPads, smartphones, and podcasts, there was the humble and digital-free car game. Back in the day, car games were intended to keep everyone from dying of boredom on long drives, and the games often included singing, looking, guessing, and special interest trivia. Are you planning a family or friend road trip anytime soon? Here’s a list of some of our favourite games you can play to bond with your travel buddies, because half the fun is the journey, right? We may be in the age of technology, but some classic road trip games will never go out of style!
10 Road Trip Games to Save Your Next Vacay
1. 20 Questions
Great for: Ages 5 to 101
How to play: Player 1 thinks of a person, place or thing. The other players take turns asking questions to clue in on the answer.
Rules: Player 1 must only answer Yes or No to the questions. Other players have 20 questions in total.
Player 2: Is it alive?
Player 1: Yes
Player 3: Is it an animal?
Player 1: No
This now rules out that the answer is an animal, which means the other players should steer away from asking questions about animals or pets. There are 18 more questions to be asked. If nobody guesses Player 1’s answer by the end of question 20, Player 1 wins.
While more competitive players might select someone obscure, like Annie Edson Taylor – the first woman who survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, it’ll be more engaging for everyone to pick a person who can be guessed reasonably. Though don’t blame us if your little one consistently picks a character from PAW Patrol!
2. The Movie Game
Great for: Movie buffs of all ages
How to play: Driver names an actor and the next passenger (go clockwise or counterclockwise around the seats) names a movie the actor stars in. Next passenger chooses another actor, and so on.
Rules: Anyone who can’t correctly name an actor/movie is out until the next round.
Example: Let’s say you start with Ryan Reynolds. The next person says ‘Green Lantern‘, the player after that says ‘Blake Lively’, the person after that ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants‘…
3. The Licence Plate Game
Great for: Ages 6 and up
How to play: This fun road trip game is played by searching for licence plates from different provinces or U.S. states, and see how many different ones you can find. Great for that classic North American road trip in the U.S. or Canada.
Rules: The person who scribbles down the most licence plates from different places wins!
If your road trip involves exploring only one province or state, then a variety of licence plates might be few and far between. Another variation of the game is for one person to spy a licence plate and make a silly sentence out of the letters on the plate. BNET could be “Bert Never Eat Turnips.” Kids will especially love this version.
4. Two Truths and a Lie
Great for: Road trips with only adults
How to play: Each person says two things about themselves that are true and one that’s a lie. The other road trippers then have to take turns deciding which of the statements is false.
Rules: Make up your own
Example: Player 1 says something like: “I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro,” “I ran into George Clooney once at a party,” and “I’ve dated three donut fryers.”
Tip: The more outrageous you make your truths and lies, the more fun the game! And it’s a great way to really get to know your road trip buddies.
5. The Alphabet Road Trip Game
Great for: Kids of all ages
How to play: Pick a category: places, food, sports, movies, songs – whatever you want. Start with the letter A. Each player then takes turns naming something beginning with the letter A from that category.
Rules: No Googling for answers!
Example: If the category is travel destinations/geography, the first word may be Australia. The next person comes up with another place name starting with A until everyone has exhausted their knowledge of geography. Then move on to letter B, and so on.
6. Would You Rather?
Great for: Kids of all ages
How to play: This road trip game can be a great bonding sesh! Pick someone to ask a question of ‘Would You Rather’. Come up with two (equally unpleasant or perplexing) alternatives, and ask each person in the car to choose one.
Rules: Choose your own ‘Would You Rather’ subjects to suit the age groups in the car.
Example: “Would you rather live without internet or would you rather live with cockroaches?”
7. Name That Tune for Road Trips
Great for: Music lovers of all ages
How to play: You can play Name That Tune any number of ways on your road trip. One way is to play a song on the radio or Bluetooth, and see who can “name that tune” the fastest. Another way to play is for one person to start reciting the lyrics to a song without any tune, as deadpan as possible. The other people in the car can race to see who can guess the song first. The winner is the one who starts the next round.
Rules: The first person to get to five correct songs wins. No cheating with Shazam or any other song-naming apps!
Tip: Switch things up from new music to old school classics to keep this road trip game fun and always entertaining.
8. The Memory Game
Great for: All ages
How to play: Start this game with an easy sentence, like “Going on a Picnic.” One passenger starts by saying, “I’m going out on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by an item. The next person recalls what the first person said, then adds their own item.
Rules: The picnic items grow and the first person to get the story wrong is eliminated.
Tip: Keep this game going fast to keep it fun. Think Mad Libs for a road trip!
9. The Quiet Game
Great for: Noisy kids and annoyed adults
How to play: When you need some peace and quiet from cranky kids in the backseat or cries of “Are we there yet?” then save this road trip game for one of those times.
Rules: The rules are pretty simple: everyone in the car stays quiet. Whoever speaks first, loses.
Tip: Ramp up the stakes by offering a prize at your next rest stop to the winner. Don’t overuse this one, because you never know when it might really come in handy!
10. Scavenger Hunt
Great for: All ages
How to play: The Scavenger Hunt road trip game requires a little bit of prep before you set off (but we think it’s worth the extra effort). Before your trip, write a list of common things you’re likely to see along the way. Each person gets a copy of the list and a pen and marks them off along the way.
Rules: The first person to spot everything on the list wins!
Example: Your list may include things like: a Volkswagen Beetle, a police car, cows, a Timmies, a motorcycle, a car carrying a canoe, a lake, or a train.
How About One of These Epic Road Trip Ideas to Get You Started?
Canada has one of the most beautiful, diverse landscapes in the world. From the Gaspé Peninsula to hot springs in the Northwest Territories, there’s no shortage of places to explore by car.
Going on a road trip in the United States is as classically American as apple pie. From the scenic Overseas Highway to the world famous Route 66, we rounded up the best road trip options that America has to offer.
Explore the best of southern Ontario with these 3 road trip ideas from Toronto. Take a fun road trip to discover different Canadian landmarks, hidden photo spots and independent restaurants that are just waiting for you.