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Five Road Trip Games

Five Road Trip Games

Posted at Mon, Jun 19, 2023 10:15 AM

When everyone first gets in the car, they’re all excited. They chatter happily about plans and things they see along the way. But eventually someone utters that dreaded phrase: “are we there yet?”

You know it’s all downhill from there, right?

But you can head off the whining, banish the boredom and save your sanity if you have some road-trip games ready. Try these:

Old-school Classic: 20 Questions

The idea is simple: one person thinks of an object and a second person tries to figure out what it is – but can only ask 20 yes/no questions.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Questions should be broad in the beginning and gradually get more specific. For instance, “is it alive”? is a good first query.
  • You can guess before you ask all 20.
  • You can reveal the category in the beginning. Back in the day, players might specify whether something was animal, vegetable or mineral. Now, noting whether it’s a person, place or thing is more common. And hey, this is your game – you can set up any categories you like depending on who’s playing (kids, adults, know-it-alls, whatever) and how hard you want the game to be.
  • Answers should be based on a common understanding.  You can’t just ask “is it big?” Bigger than what? Try to nail things down a bit: “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” (Wait, Grandma, what’s a breadbox?) OK: “Is it bigger than an X-Box?” then – that answer can move the game forward.
  • Can the kids have help? Well, that’s up to you, but try not to let the game become a free-for-all.

If the questioner guesses correctly within 20 questions, they win. If not, the one who thought of the object wins – and yes, you have to reveal the answer at the end.

Kid-friendly: What Color is It?

If you have some littles in the vehicle, include options for their skill and attention levels. One good choice is What Color is It?

To play, an adult (or an older kid) begins naming things that are the same color – for instance, bananas, sun, corn and so on – until the kiddos say “yellow!”

Then pick another color and repeat. The kids will never guess “fuchsia,” so don’t even try it. They’ll probably take a nap eventually anyway.

Screen time: The License Plate Game

Are the kids perpetually glued to their digital devices? Take advantage of their proclivity with the modern version of a road-trip classic: the license plate game.

This free download for iOS and Android includes plates from every U.S. state as well as Mexican regions and Canadian provinces.

The goal is simple: find plates from as many places as possible before the trip is over. The person with the highest score at the end of the trip is the winner.

The game doesn’t require a network connection because each player’s phone keeps track of their score.

Twist on a classic: (Not So) Punch Buggy

Bet you played punch buggy when you were a kid. Bet you still have a bruise on your arm from where your little brother thumped you, don’t you? Yeah. Guess what, he was lying – he just liked hitting people.

Here are some options for playing this classic keep-the-kids-looking-out-the-window game without anyone inflicting harm on their fellow riders.

First: Decide what players need to do when they see a VW bug. For instance:

  • For a yellow bug, everyone has to put their hands on the roof of the car.
  • Blue: bark like a dog.
  • Red: hands on your head!

Then: Spot the VW bug. Do the agreed-upon action.

The last person to do it gets a point. The winner is the one with the fewest points. You can do daily totals or keep track of everything and declare a winner at the end of the trip. Prizes? Yeah, there could be prizes.

Not enough bugs on the road? Pick another vehicle. Who’s gonna know?

Finally, make everyone behave during the game or they won’t get any goodies from the snackle box.

Adults Only: Cards Against Humanity

If your traveling companions are sick puppies, break out Cards Against Humanity. Normally a party game (with adult beverages), it can also liven up a long road trip. You’ll laugh. You’ll squirm. You’ll learn things about your friends or family that surprise you. Remember: What happens on the road trip stays on the road trip.

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