In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, holiday travel certainly looks different than usual. In the name of social distancing, it may mean shopping with a packed flight cabin for the adventure of a summer road trip. (This is another reason to check your car insurance if it's been awhile.)
Of course, the biggest sacrifice in traveling by car is the extra time it takes to get to your holiday destination. And anyone who has been on a drive knows that the clock can pass the hours – especially if you have small children. So why not try some fun car games?
Here is our list of 40 road trip games to play in the car. (Get creative … coming up with your own variations can be part of the fun!)
40 fun games to play in the car (for kids and adults)
- Alphabet : We will start our list of the most ubiquitous car travel games. To play, you start with the letter A. Each passenger takes a turn to find something along the road (or inside the car) that begins with the chosen letter. Then you go through the alphabet. It may take some time for Q and Z, so it's up to you if you want to allow numbers on registration plates.
- Categories: The principle of this game is simple, which means it can be changed endlessly. A person chooses a category ̵
- Radio Roulette: Test the knowledge of the audio files in your car by guessing song names on the radio. Just turn to a random station or mix your phone. Whoever calls on the song's name wins first.
- The Truth or Dare: This game is a car ride adaptation of a classic. Ask a question to a fellow passenger, then let them decide to tell the truth or complete a wave. Just make sure your scales can be safely carried out in the car.
- I Spy: When you think of things to do on a long road trip, this game is probably top of the list. Start by vaguely describing something you see – like "I spy something yellow." Then let everyone else swivel and ask yes or no questions until they can guess the item.
- License plate game: There are some car trips that you can play using the license plates on other vehicles on the road. Try to find plates beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Or get creative by creating a phrase using the flat letters as acronyms.
- One-word story: Here is a fun game to play in the car: Tell a story one word at a time, where each person adds a new word. Who knows where you will end up when it's over.
- Scavenger hunt: It requires some planning, but a scavenger hunt can be one of the best road trip games for children. Prepare a list of common things you may encounter along the way (or print a published list on the internet). Then encourage your family to check out each item as you discover it during your travels.
- Rhyme: Test the chair for your passengers with this game for the car. Start with a person choosing a word. Then turn around and say words that rhyme with it. The first person who stumbles or repeats a word loses the round.
- Celebrity: Who says there are no car games for adults? In this car driving game, a player starts by choosing a famous person to imitate (but shhh … don't know). Then ask all the other questions. But here's the prisoner – they have to answer the question as if they are the celebrities. See how long it takes someone to guess the right answer.
- Lyrics: Here's another fun road trip game for music lovers. Turns over to recite a line from a song. Then see if others can guess the song name and artist.
- Quiet game: Tired of crazy car games? This can give you some peace and quiet. See how long your passengers can be silent. The first one that fails loses.
- Movies: This is one of the best car games for movie lovers. Tell an actor first. Then the next person names a movie that the actor has played in. Here comes the twist: The next player must name a co-star from the same movie. Then name another movie they have appeared in. This one will be difficult, so see how far your crew can make it.
- Slug bug / punch buggy: While Volkswagen has officially stopped making its famous Beetle, road trip car game it inspired live on. This one is pretty easy to play. Just scream out every time you see a VW Beetle. If you like, it can be accompanied by a friendly punch to your neighbor's arm.
- People watching: On a drive, you might be driving at the same cars for hours. Have some fun by making a story about people in the car next to you – the more fun, the better.
- Never have I ever: Start with everyone holding up five fingers. Now you can rename something you've never done. If someone else did they put a finger. The last person to win.
- Rock paper scissors: Here is a game to play in the car with children who need no explanation. Since it does not take long to play, you may want to consider making it a backseat tournament.
- Spelling bee: This may not be in the category of cool car games, but it can be played by passengers of all ages. Say a word and have everyone try to spell it. Just make sure to have some double checking of the tough ones.
- Bilbingo: Looking for things to do on a car trip? Look no further than car bingo. Create a bingo table with a different type of vehicle on each square. Then see who can do the first bingo by discovering the convertible, motorcycles and semi-trucks.
- While sleeping: Try to fool a snoozing passenger. When someone falls asleep, have everyone else come up with a story together. When sleeping beauty wakes up, explain all the exciting things they missed and see if you can make them believe it.
- 21 questions: Think of something – anything. Then give all 21 questions to guess what it is.
- Did you hear?: These road trip questions will test if you can decipher between facts and fiction. Each player asks a question that begins with "did you hear." Then the other players have to decide if it is true or false.
- Fortunately / Unfortunately: To play this game, switch between happy and unhappy situations. For example, "Fortunately, I got a new puppy … unfortunately it ran away." Keep adding the story until you end up with a wild story.
- Alphabet Categories: Choose a category, such as types of food or dog breeds. Then turn to the list of items that fit your category in alphabetical order.
- Nameplay: This driving game is perfect for pop culture fans. Start by saying the first and last name of a famous person. Then the next player names another celebrity whose name starts with the first letter of the previous person's last name – like Lebron James and Jerry Seinfeld.
- Battle of the bands: Choose a category, for example "songs about a city." Then let two people choose competing songs that fit the description. Play both on the stereo and let the whole car vote for a winner.  In my suitcase: Here's an idea of what to do on a long road trip. "I'm going on vacation and I packed an apple." repeat the items before them. Go through the alphabet and test your memory.
- What do I count?: Choose something you see outside the car to start counting – but don't tell anyone what it is. Count high and see how long it takes them to guess what you expect.
- Humma that tune: This one is harder than it sounds. Turn to hum a familiar song and see if anyone can guess it.
- Sing-along string -along: Sing a line from one song Then the next person sings a line from another song so m starts with the last word in the previous lyrics.
- Would you rather?: Give two alternatives, for example: “If you had a superpower, would you rather fly or be invisible? “Begin a lively discussion by hearing what everyone would choose.
- License Plate Map: Print a map of the United States and try to discover a registration plate from each state.
- The alphabet race: Shout out a letter of the alphabet. The first person to find a word that begins with that letter wins.
- Mad Libs: This game is a popular interest when looking for things to do on a road trip. Choose words to fill in topics and then laugh at the stupid stories you create.
- Road sign bingo: You can find free versions of this driving game online. Print a bingo card on the internet before leaving home. Then try to find all the road signs on the card.
- Explain a movie plot poorly: See how fast your passengers are by providing alternative explanations for popular movie plans. Then, see if they can guess the movie. For example, the original Star Wars story could be described as "an absent father trying to get his son to join the family business."
- Six Degrees of Separation: Of course, there is the popular version that connects all actors to Kevin Bacon. But you can choose any two people in the world and try to connect them through six connections or less.
- Guess the taste: Choose a candy such as jelly beans or fruit snacks and try to guess the right flavors in a blind tasting challenge.
- Forbidden word: Choose a common word and make it forbidden to say in the car. The first person to use the word accidentally loses.
- All About Me : Want to play games to get to know someone better? Turn around to say something about yourself that no one else in the car knows.
Relax and enjoy the journey
When you pull out of the driveway to embark on your next trip, the last thing you should think about is your car insurance. At Erie Insurance, we want you to have complete peace of mind when you go on the road – to know your car and everyone within it is protected. Find a local ERIE agent in your area or get a free quote insurance online.