Ever since the Model T Ford hit the roads of the United States back in 1908, the humble road trip has been a time-honoured tradition. While much has changed since then, hitting the highway with friends, family or children has never lost its lustre for any age group.
Whether you are just escaping the big smoke for a trip to the countryside or carving a trail from New York to L.A., another tradition that has never lost its appeal are road trip games to pass the time.
Classics like “I Spy” probably won’t cut it here, but thanks to new technologies and apps, there’s still plenty to love about the good, old road trip game. So, we have put together a helpful guide of our favorites – old and new – destined to keep smiles on dials as you fulfil that travel itch.
Let's open with a cult classic that is especially useful for those REALLY long road trips. If you are likely to pass through multiple states on your journey, the Licence Plate Game will help keep everyone alert and engaged (and hopefully not complaining) for the entire duration.
The premise is simple: hand out maps to each person. When they spot a license plate from a state, passengers can mark it off on their map. Spice things up by adding a prize for the winner – like some extra spending money to splurge at Six Flags.
This game is great because it is a marathon challenge, not a sprint. Everyone will be motivated by the prize on offer and more likely to watch the outside world than their favorite TikTokers.
Look – we’re all guilty of the whole “Are we there yet?” phase when out and about on a road trip. But with a good, old round of 20 Questions in action, time will whizz past you before you know it.
The time-honored game of 20 Questions is great because it means they can get their many queries out of their system. Simply think of a person, place, or thing and passengers are allowed to ask 20 yes or no questions to try and guess it. The more they ask, the more information they get. The first to guess what you are thinking wins. Simple, but effective.
Create a list of items to look out for and tick off along the way. Start with common things like types of vehicles, animals, and signposts. From there, you can jazz up the game by including milestones and objects that are unique to the state or region you are passing through. You can even spice it up with uncommon things as well – anything to make the game last longer.
Technology can be useful on the road and there are apps that will enable you to learn while on the road. We recommend Geo Touch for interesting facts about the cities, towns and states you roll past, complete with fun, interactive features like quizzes. This is especially helpful for anyone who may be exploring these fabulous regions for the first time.
This app can be used individually, or you can work together to solve the brain-busting puzzles, all the while learning more about the United States. Explore places you haven’t seen before from the comfort of your car while picking up a fact or two. Now that’s our style of study.
The classic way to pass the miles on a road trip is by singing along to the radio. Smule's social singing karaoke app offers an alternative to radio and Spotify. You can record yourself singing on your road trip and even create vibrant videos to enjoy (or cringe over) later on.
There is even an option to stream your awesome singing live to your friends and family on social media. Various effects and thousands of songs are available on this nifty app, and it’s completely free to download. The best news is that even the worst singers can sound like Mariah Carey because auto-tune is built in.
If you have younger children in tow, there are a handful of easy, fun games that all ages can get involved in. For example, get the radio blaring or blast that Spotify playlist for a game of Guess the Song. Alternatively, a game of Categories never goes astray – choose a theme and the first person who can’t come up with something new loses.
Plus, if there’s nothing else that’s piquing interests, I Spy never goes astray, right?
Looking for something other than a game? Why not use this as an opportunity to create a mood board to capture all of those memories of the road trip to enjoy later on? You can use Pinterest’s mobile app or opt for the many handy features our very own Travis has to offer.
Get creative and experiment with a visual way to organize and plan your trips. Moodboard your travels by saving your favorite places or links from the web – and see it all on a map. Share your inspiration with others or seek feedback from like-minded travelers in the community. There’s plenty to do and soak up, so sign up to get access now.