8 Road Trip Games to Keep Everyone Entertained, No Matter Their Age

Whether you’ve got a car full of kids, adults, friends, or family, these road trip games will make sure everyone has a good time—no equipment required.

Gray car parked on side of empty road, with parent and young blond boy peeking head out of car window to take a picture of green mountains

Lots of road trip games are free and you don’t need to pack anything other than your brain and a sense of humor.

Courtesy of Getty/Unsplash

Road trips are as much about the journey as the destination. But even though a car gives you flexibility and allows for more spontaneity than a plane, train, or bus, boredom is bound to set in. That’s where games come in.

Whether you are hitting the road with a party of 2 or 10—or with kids or adults—here are appealing games that can help pass the time and keep the “are we there yet?” chorus at bay.

20 Questions

In this classic parlor game that transitions easily into the car, one player thinks of a random person, place, or thing and the other participants take turns asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions to figure out the answer through a process of elimination. Whoever gets the answer first starts the new round.

The License Plate Game

The goal of this quintessential road trip game is to spot at least one license plate from each of the 50 states. Participants can write down the states as they see them or check them off of a list. Have kids in tow? Print out a blank map of the United States for each tot and have them color in the states whenever they see a corresponding license plate.

Build a Story

You might not write the next great American novel on your road trip, but you can create a hilarious tale collaboratively. The first player invents an opening line and then everyone takes turns adding a sentence to the story. Keep it going for as long as you need to, whether it’s the next rest stop or your final destination.


In this game, players take turns choosing letters to create a valid word (so no picking “Z” after someone says “X”). But the catch is that you don’t want to be the person to complete the word. Any player who does complete a word is penalized by receiving a letter from the word GHOST: “G” for the first penalty, “H” for the second, and so forth. Players who receive five penalties—and therefore spell out the word “GHOST”—are eliminated until one winner remains.

Scavenger Hunt

A game that involves spotting specific objects during the trip might not be ideal for the driver, but the rest of the travel party can have a blast. Simply create a list of objects to look for beforehand and distribute it to each traveler. Make the game easy or challenging by choosing items that are really common or very rare. To add some randomness to the game, create a unique list for each participant. As with any scavenger hunt, whoever finds the most items wins.

Alphabet Game

A good choice for families traveling with children, the alphabet game is another road trip classic that involves looking for words on signs and billboards that start with each letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter “A” until reaching “Z.” Players can simply yell out the word when they see it, and the whole group moves on to the next letter. Whoever spots the most words wins.

Interactive Podcasts

You may not be able to convince a game show host to join your road trip adventure, but your entire travel party can put their smarts to the test by pressing play on a trivia or brain teaser podcast like Good Job, Brain! or Road Trip Riddles.

Name the Passenger

As you make your way along the open road, keep an eye on passengers in the other vehicles around you. (Unless you are driving, of course.) Pick some passengers at random and have a discussion about what name you would assign to them and why. Some laughs are guaranteed.

Nathalie Alonso is a journalist based in New York City. Her work has also appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Refinery29, and Well+Good, among other publications.
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