30+ Fun Road Trip Games To Pass The Time While Traveling

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friends playing fun road trip games

There’s no better feeling than the freedom of the open road. The destination that awaits you evokes excitement and joy.

Where are you going? Maybe you’re traveling to the hot spot of the summer or visiting your boyfriend, putting a stop to long distances. You can feel the energy building up inside you on this journey to somewhere new. But what do you do when the road trip seems never-ending?

It can be hard to keep your mind occupied behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. No matter where you’re sitting, there are ways to make the trip more bearable.

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Whether you’re alone or with friends, it’s beneficial to have some go-to activities for the car. Luckily, there are plenty of fun road trip games to play in the car to pass the time while you’re en route.

30 Fun Road Trip Games for Long Car Rides

1. Categories

Start by picking a category such as colors or vegetables and take turns naming something in that category until someone is stumped. Red, green, yellow, pink... you lost! This is a fun way to use your brainpower and react quickly to someone possibly taking your answer.

2. The License Plate Game

You’ll inevitably pass some out-of-state drivers. Take advantage and see how many of the states you can find before you reach your destination. Feel free to print out a map before your trip and mark which states you discover.

In another variation of the License Plate Game, most license plates contain three letters and this game makes use of them. Interpret each potential acronym in a funny way. For example, PMP could be “purple mashed potatoes” and LSB could be “Lexi smells bad.” Be creative!

3. Story

You may not have thought of yourself as a writer until now. One person says a word to begin a story and all the players take turns adding another word to the story. It will be fun to see where the story ends up.

4. Celebrity

One person chooses a famous person and plays out their character. They will answer questions as if they are this celebrity and the first person who guesses correctly wins. It will then be their turn to take the stage.

5. The Alphabet Game

Take turns going through the alphabet and find letters in the car or passing license plates and road signs. This simple game gives you a chance to search for things instead of focusing on the time it’s taking to get where you need to be. Good luck to whichever player gets X.

6. My Father Owns a Grocery Store

A fun guessing game that involves some deep thinking. Begin by saying, “My father owns a grocery store and in it, he sells something that begins with the letter...” Once someone has guessed the food item you were thinking of, it’s their turn.

7. Going on a Picnic

This memory game continues to build until you mess up or forget. The first person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring...” Then the next person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring...” and must list the first person’s item before adding their own. As the list grows, it becomes harder to remember all of what was said.

8. Deep Questions

Pull out your phone and head onto Pinterest or the Internet for some great conversation starters. You’ll be sure to get to know your friends better while exploring your own answers to some deep questions.

9. Guess the Song

Put a playlist on shuffle and see who knows music the best. Whoever can name the song and artist first wins. This competitive road trip game allows you to work on your listening skills and maybe come across some new music.

10. While You Were Sleeping

This is a great game if you have sleepy passengers. When a passenger is sleeping, the awake parties in the car must create a story. Once the passenger awakes, the game is on.

The passengers must now make the sleeping person believe their story. If someone goes off-script or breaks character, they lose points; if you're successful, you win points. If the sleeping passenger ends up joining in on the story and correctly fools the car, they win.

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11. Did You Hear That?

This is a great game for those interested in the news and pop culture. The object of the game is to fool your car mates. You will say, "Did you hear that (blank) happened?" You fill in the blank with something you either have or have not heard and your car mates must decide if it's true or not.

They are to respond with, "That didn't happen" or, "Tell me more." If they say, "Tell me more," the points double if they guess correctly.

12. 21 Questions

One person thinks of something (it can be anything). Then, the car has exactly 21 questions to figure out what the thing is. Whoever guesses it right gets to start the next round.

13. The Movie Game

This is a great game for movie buffs. One person begins by naming an actor or actress, and then the next person has to name a movie that person was in. The person after them has to name another actor from that same movie, and on and on it goes.

14. Riff Off

If you've seen "Pitch Perfect," you know exactly how to play. A person starts singing a song and the next person has to connect that song (using the lyrics) to another song. If you mess up, you're out. Last person singing wins.

15. Alphabetical Categories

Want to make Categories a bit harder? Make your car mates do it in alphabetical order. The same rules apply as regular Categories.

16. Regional Food Master

The object of the game is to get as many local snacks as possible before you reach your destination. The rule is that at every gas station you stop at, you must find one snack item that is made within that region.

17. The Name Game

Someone randomly says a famous person's name. The next person has to name another famous person's name which starts with the first letter of the previous person's last name. If someone says a famous person who has the same letter for both their first and last name, the game reverses in order.

18. Word Association

The object of the game is to see how far you can go. Someone begins with a word and the next person has to say a word that is associated with it. The game continues until someone messes up or says something too far-fetched.

19. Cows On My Side

This is great for those driving through country states. The object of the game is to grab as many points as possible. To gain points, you have to A) Yell, "Cows on my side" if you see cows on your side of the car, or B) Yell, "Cows on your side" before that person can claim them.

If you see a cemetery, however, you can yell "Ghost Cow" and you steal all of the points from the other side.

20. I-Spy

A classic car ride game to play is I-Spy. In this car ride game, someone spots an object and says, "I spy with my little eye something (blank)," and fills in the blank with a descriptive word of the object. The remaining players have to guess what it is.

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21. Punch Buggy

Want a semi-violent but fun road trip game to play in the car? Punch buggy is it. Whenever you see a Volkswagen Bug, punch someone in the car and say, "Punch buggy, no punch back." You can get creative and add more rules, like having to name the color of the car or if it has a spoiler or not.

You can also do variations of this game for other cars. For example, on family road trips, my husband and I pinch each other when we see a Prius.

22. In My Suitcase

This memory game is great for long road trips. It begins with someone saying, "In my suitcase, I packed..." You begin the list with the first letter of the alphabet and continue on.

So the first person will begin with A, then the next person has to continue the list from the beginning and add on with their letter. Whoever messes up first loses.

23. Who Am I?

This game is very similar to 20 Questions except the player starting the round has to be a person. You can decide whether you will play with people who are living or dead.

24. Two Truths And a Lie

This game is self-explanatory. You say three "facts" about yourself, but one of them is a lie while two of them are truths. The rest of the players have to guess what is the lie.

25. Color Search

Before you begin your road trip, decide on a color you want to look for. Once the color is decided, you can start earning points by shouting out objects that are that color like "yellow car." Most people like to stick to just cars, but you can broaden the search to just about anything. It's great for younger kids, too!

26. Would You Rather?

Would You Rather? is a fun game to play to pass the time and get a few laughs. You ask your fellow car mates, "Would you rather..." and give them a choice of two situations. They must then choose which one they'd rather pick. The questions can become quite outlandish so buckle in for some laughs.

27. City, Country, River

You go in alphabetical order. On each turn, you have to name a city, a country, and a river that starts with the letter you are on. If you can't think of one, you're out. It goes until there is only one person left.

28. How Long is The Tunnel?

Whenever you get to a tunnel, pick a number. Then, once you enter the tunnel, whole car begins counting. Whoever was closest to how long it took you all to get out of the tunnel wins.

29. Road Trip Olympics

You can get really stiff while on a road trip, so whenever you stop it's good to get exercise. On the Road Trip Olympics, at every stop, have your car mates compete in a physical challenge, whether it's jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, or another activity. The person who can do the most within the time limit you set wins.

30. Spot The Cracker Barrel

As you go along your road trip journey, keep a lookout for Cracker Barrel locations. Call them out to win points. The winner receives a free meal at the next Cracker Barrel stop. You can obviously switch out Cracker Barrel for any franchised restaurant like Wendy's or McDonald's.

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6 Ways to Pass the Time on a Solo Road Trip

1. Listen to a podcast.

One of my favorite things to do on solo road trips is to listen to my most-loved podcast. Time seems to escape when I’m listening to familiar voices. It also makes the drive seem less lonely because I feel like I have company.

2. Talk to yourself.

As weird as it may sound, sometimes all you need is to talk to yourself. Vocalize your thoughts and listen to your own voice. If there’s something weighing on your mind, let it out and come up with a solution. Who gives better advice than you?

3. Listen to your favorite songs.

Alone time in your car is the perfect opportunity to sing your heart out. It’s always nice to have a road trip playlist with some of your favorite songs. Play it on repeat and get excited about where you’re heading.

4. Call a friend.

Another great way to pass the time is to talk with a friend or family member. Always be safe and use your speakerphone. But enjoy a good conversation with a person you don’t normally get to talk to.

5. Listen to an audiobook.

If you love storytelling, this is the perfect option for you. Before you leave for your trip, download the book you’ve always been wanting to read. When you’re in a good headspace and ready to listen, play the audiobook and enjoy the story.

6. Think about what you will do when you reach your destination.

Sometimes there’s nothing better than future thinking. If you don’t already have plans set in place, now’s the time to figure out what you’ll do once you get to where you’re going. This will also make you excited and help the drive go faster.

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Deauna Roane is an associate editor for YourTango who covers pop culture, lifestyle, astrology, and relationship topics. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.