29 Exciting Games To Play On A Road Trip With Friends & Family

Fill your trip with fun and laughter by playing these fun and interesting games.

Reviewed by John Ryan De Oca, Relationship Expert John Ryan De Oca John Ryan De OcaRelationship Expert insta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years

The word “road trip” conjures up images of fun with friends and family, “chill out” tunes, and plenty of time pass and gossip. So, get your list of games to play on a road trip prepared before heading out. The truth is, long journeys can be boring and tiring, despite the adventure and exploration that awaits. Whether you are playing “Who am I?” with the kids or putting crazy “would you rather” scenarios on the table, these road trip games will have everyone laughing. Check out the bunch of fun games to play for your next road trip below.

Fun Road Trip Games For Kids In The Car

Fun road trip games for kids
Image: Shutterstock

If you are on a family vacation and want to keep your kids’ minds occupied in the car, check out these road trip games for kids to have a memorable time.

1. I Spy

This group activity is ideal to play in the car for kids during a road trip. We can all recall spotting something with our small eyes that our siblings couldn’t have guessed.

For those who require a revision of the rules, one person discreetly spies something that others can see but won’t immediately guess. Keep in mind that the object must be visible for some time. The player says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and delivers a hint – color, initial letter, or shape of the item. The other participants will ask yes-no questions until someone makes the right guess.

2. Who Am I?

Who am I? is another all-time favorite game that encourages kids to put on their detective hats and use logical reasoning.

Whoever begins the game imagines an animal or person. The other participants take turns asking questions to figure out who or what that person is. Players can ask anything that can be answered with a yes or no. They will then have to come up with an answer with the help of clues from the answers.

A fun way to play this game is to form teams. Each team can ask a defined number of questions. They get a maximum of three chances to guess the right answer. This increases the challenge level while teaching kids how to collaborate.

3. Don’t Say It

Friends playing Don't Say It on their road trip
Image: Shutterstock

Here’s a tip to make a long ride more exciting. This road trip game for kids will keep them awake and on their toes throughout the ride. Players (or creative parents) can come up with 3-5 words or phrases that are forbidden for the rest of the trip or until an event occurs. At the end of the ride, the player with the lowest penalty wins.

4. I Packed My Bag

Whether or not your children are old enough to pack their luggage, they will have to do so in this game. This memory game produces large lists of packed objects. The kids will choose an imaginary vacation spot and take turns stating, “I packed my bag and in it is…” and adding an item after reciting what has already been said by other players in the correct order.

5. A Treasure Hunt

Scavenger hunt, like ‘I spy’, involves spotting objects. Prepare a list of riches for the youngsters to find or spot along the way while you travel. The person who finds all of the objects first wins. You can keep track of the score on a piece of paper.

6. 20 Questions To Ponder

It sometimes seems like the questions never end, especially with younger children. An exciting and fun method to get it out of their system is by asking them 20 questions. You may have played it before, but here’s a quick refresher – one player imagines a person, location, or thing, and the others take turns asking yes-or-no questions. They get a guess as to what, where, or who it is after each question. The players lose if they don’t solve the guessing game after 20 questions.

7. Restaurant Race

In this game, everyone selects a popular fast-food chain, such as Burger King, Taco Bell, or McDonald’s. The objective is to accumulate the most points by identifying their chosen restaurant on billboards, exit markers, Food and Fuel signs, or hearing it mentioned on the radio. No one in the car is allowed to say the names of the franchises. Set a predetermined time limit, for example, 20 minutes, and tally up the points at the end to determine the winner.

8. Counting Cows

Every time you spot a cow during your journey, let out a cheerful “Cow!” or even a playful “Moo!” The twist here is that the first person to spot the cow and exclaim the word gets a point, but they can’t repeat it for the same cow on the trip. The child with the most points at the end of the journey becomes the victorious cow-spotting champion. It’s a fun and engaging way to keep kids entertained during car rides while also encouraging their observational skills.

9. Word Link Challenge

In this engaging word game, players take turns building a chain of related words. The game begins with the first player stating a random word aloud. The next player must swiftly respond with a word that is associated with the previous one. This pattern continues as players take turns, creating a chain of associated words. For instance, if the starting word is ‘pizza’, the chain might progress like this – pizza, toppings,pepperoni, and so on. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind: The game ends if someone takes too long to provide an answer, offers a word with an unclear association, or repeats a word that has already been used in the chain. The challenge lies in keeping the chain going while coming up with creative and related words.

10. Secret Place Discovery

In this engaging activity, one participant takes on the role of the “navigator.” The navigator examines a road map and selects a discreet location, such as a small town, village, or river, without pointing it out on the map. The navigator then announces the name of this hidden destination. Now, the challenge begins! Another player, known as the ‘explorer’, has to search the map and pinpoint the secret place based on the name revealed by the navigator. It’s a fun and educational way to test your geographical knowledge and map-reading skills. You can add in a 30-second time limit to amp up the excitement.

11. Sweet And Sour

This exciting game is perfect for kids to enjoy during a road trip. Each player takes turns waving at passengers in nearby cars. If the occupants of the other car wave back, it means they are ‘sweet’ and the player waving earns a point. However, if the people in the car don’t wave back, they are deemed ‘sour’ and no points are awarded. The goal is to see which player reaches ten points the fastest.

12. Animal Name Game

This game kicks off with one player naming an animal. The next person has to come up with another animal name that starts with the last letter of the previous animal mentioned. For instance, if the game starts with ‘tiger’, the next player might say ‘rabbit’ and the game continues from there. But, if anyone repeats an animal name, they are disqualified.

13. What Color Is It?

This delightful game is perfect for young children! One kid picks an object based on a color, say the clouds. The next kid tries to guess the color correctly by suggesting another object of the same color, say the Moon. Each kid takes a turn to suggest an object until the round is up or someone suggests an obviously wrong object. Once the round is up, all the children have to blurt out the color at the same time. Each kid takes a turn to pick a color and start a new round.

Family time can be fun with some cool and exciting car games to play on a road trip. You can enjoy the games listed in the next section with your entire family, including kids, elders, and youngsters. Scroll down to take a look.

Best Road Trip Games For Family

best road trip games for family
Image: Shutterstock

1. Game Of The Alphabets

Players attempt to find words beginning with each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. You can choose to play in teams, with each player building on the group’s progress, or individually, with each person working through their alphabet.

When players find their next word, they scream out the letter and the word so that everyone can keep track. Some players follow the rule that all the players must return to ‘A’ if they see a graveyard.

2. Guess The Song

Turn on the radio or shuffle your Spotify, radio channel, or CD player. The first person to scream out the song’s name as soon as the music begins will win.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may also make it more challenging by asking more questions about the music, like who starred in it or sang the song, if you all are music lovers.

3. The Infinite Word Game

Family playing The Infinite Word Game to enjoy the road trip
Image: Shutterstock

In this fun game for a family road trip, one person begins with a word of their choice. The other players will say a word that begins with the initial letter. What’s the catch? Every time a player says a word, a letter is added to the starting sequence. So, the players cannot use a word that has already been named. Let’s see how far you can go with a bit of cooperation! (Hint: don’t start with long words.)

4. The Trail Of Words

The rules of this game are simple. Players take turns naming compound words that begin with the last word of the previous compound word. For example, the series would go like this: animal barn – barnyard – yardstick – stick figure…and so on.

Traveling with friends on vacation? It is almost impossible to keep quiet when you are in the car with your friends for a vacation. Check out these fun games to play with friends on your next road trip and enjoy every moment.

5. I’m Going on a Picnic

The first player begins by stating, “For our picnic, I will pack…” and then mentions one item starting with the letter ‘A’ like ‘apricots’. The second player then repeats the sentence, including the first item, and adds a new item starting with the letter ‘B’ like ‘bamboo sticks’. The challenge is to continue this pattern, with each player reciting the entire list of items in alphabetical order and adding a new item corresponding to the next letter of the alphabet. The ultimate goal is to see who can remember and recite the longest list of items in the correct alphabetical sequence.

6. Alphabet Hunt

The quest begins with the letter ‘A’. The goal is to spot and call out each letter sequentially by finding them on road signs, license plates, billboards, and any other passing objects. The first person to successfully navigate through the entire alphabet in order emerges as the victor. You can place this game with numbers too.

7. Categories

In this engaging game, select a wide-ranging category, such as cities, movie titles, or dinner foods. Players then take turns naming items within that chosen category, but with a twist – they must do so in alphabetical order. For instance, if the category is countries, the game could go in this order – Albania, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, and so on. The catch: is that if a player fails to provide their answer within a 10-second time limit or doesn’t correctly proceed down the alphabet, they are eliminated from the game.

Games To Play On A Road Trip With Friends

Games to play on a road trip with friends
Image: Shutterstock

1. Two Truths And A Lie

This game is fun for both old and new friends and is one of the best games to play in the car with friends, depending on the truths and lies you choose to tell about your life. Three statements are made by each player, one of which is a lie. The others have to figure out which statement is a lie. You can be delicate in your mixture of truth and fantasy, retell a former incident that your co-travelers were a part of, and include one small lie.

2. Never Have I Ever

This is probably the most revealing of all the games to play on a road trip with friends. Players take turns saying things that begin with the phrase “never have I ever…” The rest then make guesses as to whether or not the assertion is true. The more rounds you play, the funnier the statements become.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may also make the person narrate the story of things they claim to have done to make the trip exciting and fun.

3. While You Were Sleeping

When people start falling asleep on a long car trip, it is the best time to play this game. After ensuring that the person is fast asleep, players make up a story about what happened while sleeping. Everyone awake contributes to the story. When the person gets up, others try to persuade them with their fabricated story. Whoever breaks character first or is discovered speaking a false story gets a dare to perform or a penalty work.

4. Retell A Story From The Past

Consider this a game of “who can lie better?” One player begins by narrating an incident about their life, which can include dating stories. Other players have to guess if the person is telling the truth or fabricating a story. Each player is given two follow-up questions, which they can use to guess whether the story is true or false. Finally, the loser has to reveal an actual, embarrassing incident of their life.

5. Padiddle

If you are traveling during the night, here’s a fun game to keep everyone engaged and awake. As you drive along, keep an eye out for cars with only one working headlight. When you spot such a vehicle, enthusiastically call out “padiddle”. The player who’s the quickest to shout it out is the winner.

6. Kiss, Marry, Avoid

In this lighthearted game, participants take turns mentioning the names of three individuals, whether they are people they know or famous personalities. The challenge lies in the other players deciding which of the three they would prefer to show affection to, commit to in marriage, and avoid.

7. Telephone

One player takes on the role of the storyteller. The storyteller begins by whispering a story to another player in the car. This second player then whispers the same story, attempting to recreate it as accurately as possible, to another person and they continue the cycle. The relay of whispers continues until it reaches the last person in the car. This final participant then loudly shares the story with everyone. The result is often a humorous and unexpected twist on the original tale, leading to laughter and amusement.

8. Tunnels And Bridge

Whenever your vehicle goes under a tunnel or over a bridge, involve everyone in the car by having them hold their breath. The player who can hold their breath the longest while passing under these structures wins a point. Throughout the trip, keep a tally of the points. Determine the ultimate winner when you reach your destination based on the accumulated points.

9. Hot-Seat

Each passenger in the car takes a turn being in the ‘hot seat’, while the other players ask them intriguing or playful questions. The ‘hot seater’ has the power to veto one question that they prefer not to answer, but they must respond to the remaining questions. As the game progresses, challenge yourselves by making the questions progressively more difficult with each round, adding an element of excitement and intrigue to your journey. It’s a fantastic way to get to know each other better and test your creativity in crafting intriguing questions during your car ride.

Infographic: What To Pack For A Road Trip

Indeed, road trips are all fun and games. But you must remember that you would be on the road for long hours, which would require packing various trip essentials.

Below is an infographic to list them all so you can have a fantastic road trip experience. Check it out!

what to pack for a road trip (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Road trips are adventurous and amazing, but the long hours on the road can make anyone feel bored when conversations dry up and the music starts to feel too loud. That is why you need to be prepared with ideas for fun games to play on a road trip. Keep note of the road trip games for kids like I spy, Who am I?, I packed my bag, etc., to keep the kids entertained – because who wants bored and cranky kids in the car? Take your pick of games like two truths-one lie, while you were sleeping, the game of the alphabet, etc., and have a blast together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are road trip games fun?

Yes, road trip games are fun because everyone is having fun, strengthening their bond, and making new memories together.

How do you make a solo road trip fun with games?

If you are on a solo road trip and happen to cross paths with friendly strangers, games are a great way to make friends with them. You can play Never Have I Ever, Who Am I, or 20 Questions to create a bond with your fellow passengers.

Can electronic devices be used for games on a road trip?

Yes, you can use electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and handheld gaming devices to play games on a road trip.

Can games be adapted for different age groups?

Yes, you can theme it according to the age of the children on the trip. For example, you can go for simpler word games if you have younger kids.

Are there any games we can play while driving?

Even though drivers must focus on driving to ensure safety, they can participate in games that do not require them to take their hands off the wheels or their eyes off the road. Simple word games, storytelling games, guess the song, etc., are some games that the driver can participate in.

Can games help to reduce travel-related stress?

Long travels can be stressful, and games help ease the travel pressure and improve the bonding between the travelers. It can also help to fight boredom.

Are there any games to educate children during a road trip?

The “Alphabet Game”, “ 20 Questions,” and “I Spy” are educational games that can impart knowledge while traveling.

What are some road trip games that can be played solo?

You can play crossword puzzles, sudoku, and word search solo. You can also play solo games like solitaire, jigsaw puzzle, minesweeper, and chess on your tablet or smartphone.

How can technology be incorporated into road trip games, such as GPS or social media?

Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone, and you can play interesting games like geocaching, road trip bingo, and social media challenge games to keep the travel duration interesting.

Key Takeaways

  • Playing games during a road trip adds extra fun to the journey and makes the trip memorable.
  • The Guess The Song game is one of the most amazing games to play during a road trip.
  • Get everyone involved in the games and have a good time together while traveling without getting bored.
games to play on a road trip_illustration

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Let’s get ready for the best road trip ever! The following video takes you through the best road trip games to keep you entertained on your journey.

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John Ryan De Oca

John Ryan De OcaRelationship Expert

John Ryan De Oca is a relationship expert with six years of experience in coaching people and helping them achieve their desired outcomes with a mind-body-soul approach. He aims to transform how his clients feel about themselves and make them feel confident in their relationships. John has worked with and studied under some of the best therapists and coaches and...read full bio

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