As action-packed as road trips can be, even we can't deny that occasionally long drives can get a little boring, especially if you've got restless kids in the car with you. Our list of the 25 best and most fun road trip games are sure to entertain children and adults alike, ranging from music-related games and foodie challenges to word contests and devious pranks.
If you're comfortable in your musical knowledge you'll definitely want to suggest playing this one. The rules are simple: get the front passenger to play the first few seconds of a song and whoever can guess the artist and song title the quickest wins a point. The person with the most points after half an hour gets control of the music for the rest of the journey, so there's a lot at stake...
A variation on guess the song, except this game relies on your vocal chords. Instead of just guessing the song after a few seconds, players have to rack their brains and try and sing the next line, and the person who successfully remembers it first wins a point. Think of a reward for whoever wins, and if you attempt it but get it wrong you have to do a forfeit chosen by the driver.
Entertaining for adults and kids alike, this is storytelling with a twist - you go round the car and each passenger adds just one word following on from the player before. See how crazy you can make the story, and get someone to record it on their phone so you can listen back to the hilarious progression of the plot (you could go from sunbathing in Spain to training alpacas in Chile in a matter of seconds). Trust us, you're in for a laugh with this one.
This is similar to the story game, however players get a little more control and creativity (you can say more than one word this time!) One player starts off with a 'fortunately' sentence, and the next has to follow with an 'unfortunately' sentence to build a story of luck and misfortune. For example, one player might start with 'fortunately, the sun was shining' with the second player adding 'unfortunately they had a long drive ahead of them' and so on. Get as creative as you can and you'll find yourself at your destination in what seems like no time at all.
This game's a little less hands-on but no less entertaining. Use your road trip driving time to discover all the local radio stations of the place you're visiting by re-tuning every ten minutes and choosing a new station at random. You'll probably find some pretty wacky programmes and get to know traditional and popular music in that country - a great way to appreciate culture even when you're between destinations.
This classic game probably doesn't need much of an introduction - simply choose one passenger to start by thinking of a random object, and the other passengers take turns asking 20 yes-or-no questions to guess the object. Whoever finds the answer first gets to think of the random thing in the next round, but if the answerer has everyone stumped, they get to keep their role for the next round. There are no rules on the object you can pick, but lying in your answers is strictly forbidden!
One for the foodies. Stretching across the full duration of your road trip, collect as many local snacks as you can at every stop along the way to build up your car pantry. Make sure you take pictures of each snack (or buy duplicates if they'll keep) so you can see what you've managed to collect at the end of the trip, and be sure to take some weird and wonderful treats home for friends and family to try. Do some research beforehand and make a list of all the foods you want to find, or just wing it and see what local delicacies you stumble across as you go.
Another classic you've probably played a thousand times before but never get bored of. Passengers take it in turns to find an object either inside or outside the car and say: 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with…' the first letter of whatever the object is. The other passengers must then try and guess the answer (clues can be given if it's really hard), with the winner taking the next turn. This is an easy car game to play with kids and always a great one to keep bored passengers entertained for a surprisingly long time.
The rules of this game are super simple: passengers take turns waving at passing pedestrians or people in nearby cars. If they wave back they're sweet, if not they're sour. You win a point for every sweet passerby you get, so aim to find as many friendly people as possible along the way. For obvious reasons, the driver should opt out of this one, but it can be extra fun if they divert the car through a busy area of town to rack up some extra waving opportunities!
You'll need pens and paper for this game so make sure you've packed some before you head off. The aim is to spot number plates from as many different countries or US states (depending on where your road trip is taking place) as possible, writing a list of the places you've seen to compare with the other passengers at the end of the drive. This is the ideal game for those long stretches of boring motorway where you'll probably rack up a surprisingly long list, and the person with the most countries gets to ride shotgun for the next leg of the journey.
This game can be be as PG or as outrageous as you like depending on the age of the passengers. Take turns asking the car whether they would rather do one thing or another (e.g. 'would you rather go to France or Spain?') and see what they answer. Make it as difficult as possible to choose between the two options for maximum entertainment value, whether that's making them equally amazing or equally horrible, it's up to you…
If you're that nosy friend that wants to find out all of your companions' deepest secrets then you'll like this one. Passengers take it in turns to be in the hot seat and are asked 5 questions, one of which they're allowed to veto and the other four must be answered honestly. This is best played in an adult-only car (questions get notoriously cheeky) and is the ideal way to pass the time finding out some interesting new facts about your road trip pals.
First gaining popularity as part of one of Volkswagen's marketing campaigns in the 1960s, the aim of this game is to give your fellow passengers a playful punch whenever you see a VW Beetle drive past. This is traditionally played by children (as long as you monitor the punching to avoid disaster), although we don't see why the adults wouldn't enjoy it too. If you're struggling to see many Beetles, you could always choose a specific colour of car as the target instead to make it a touch easier.
This road trip game requires a bit more brain power than some of the others, but is still really entertaining and great for all ages. To play, passengers take it in turns to state 'I'm going on a road trip and I'm bringing…' followed by an item of their choice. The next person has to repeat the phrase, saying the last person's item and adding one of their own and so on - eventually you'll have a really long list of crazy items to try and remember, and it's always amusing watching people try and get it right a few rounds in.
This game is a bit of a joke for the adults who want a few minutes of peace and quiet from their squabbling kids. The rules are hilariously simple - just say 'who can stay quiet the longest?' and breathe as the competitive siblings fall instantly silent. Just a word of warning though: don't expect it to last very long, so have another kid-friendly car game lined up for when they get bored.
This is another simple game that keeps your brain occupied during a long drive without being too strenuous. One person simply says any name they can think of and the next person must say another name that begins with the last letter of the name before, and so on. For example if passenger one says Tom, passenger two might say Mary. If you've made any friends during your road trip, try and include their names to make it a tad more topical.
Everyone in the car gets to make up a silly rule, e.g. whenever we cross a bridge everyone has has to touch their nose, or whenever we stop at a red light everyone has to touch the roof of the car. The last person to join in when an action is enforced gains a point, and the person with the most points at the end of the drive loses. Get as creative as you like with the rules and try and catch people out where possible so you can take the victory.
Someone picks a car full of people that everyone can see (this works best if you're stuck in traffic), and together you make up a story about the people - who they are, where they're going, what they do for a living. The funnier and more far-fetched the story, the better - just make sure you're not staring too obviously at your subjects or it might get a little awkward...
Another one for the older crowd. Take turns listing three famous people and the other passengers in the car have to choose which person they would kiss, which they would marry, and which they would avoid. Make it really hard to decide so that everyone has a bit of a laugh, and try to predict each other's answers to add an extra twist to the game.
Make use of that dogeared old road map that sits in the car seat pocket to entertain the kids. All you need to do for the secret place race is pick a place they're unlikely to know such as a tiny village, river, or mountain, and see how long it takes them to find it on the map. Have a reward on hand if they're able to find it in less than a minute, and watch as they're completely engrossed in the task. A simple yet satisfyingly effective game.
There's nothing more tempting than pulling a prank on a passenger who falls asleep en route, and whilst we don't dispute the whole drawing-a-moustache classic, we've got something even craftier. Whilst they're out for the count, have a brainstorm with the awake members of the party and come up with an epic story or scenario of something that they missed during their nap. The aim of the game is to get them to believe the story, so make sure nobody laughs or breaks character (come up with a forfeit if they do), and keep the lie going for as long as possible. If you manage to pull it off this is far better than a DIY moustache... but by all means, draw one on for good measure.
This is the perfect game to play if you're on a road trip around England or anywhere in the UK, to make the most of the quintessentially British pub. Every time you drive past a pub, the first person to spot it collects the same number of points as however many legs the animal/person in its name has. For example, if the pub was called The Horse and Hound, the player would collect eight points for the combined eight legs of the two animals in its name. You can make it a team game if you want to, but the general idea is that whoever has the most legs at the end of the drive wins.
This game is all about the colour yellow and is super simple - points are awarded whenever a passenger spots a yellow vehicle. Come up with a scoring system for different types of vehicle (e.g. one point for a car, two for a van, and three for a lorry) and whether you saw it parked (one point) or in motion (two points). Add any extra rules you fancy, and prepare to get competitive about who saw it first.
This kid-friendly game takes a little prep before you set off, but it's well worth it if you need to keep the kids entertained on a long journey. Make a list of things the children might see along the way, e.g. cows, a tractor, a red car etc, to give to them when you get into the car. As you drive they can cross things off as they see them, not only distracting them from boredom but also encouraging them to look around and learn about the country they're visiting. Make the list as country-specific as you want (e.g. in Holland you might add windmills), and tailor the difficulty depending on the age of your children.
We're rounding off our top road trip games with a belter (literally). Never miss a beat offers another chance to show off your singing skills and is rapidly becoming a firm car game classic. All you need to do is stick on your family's favourite song or a song everyone knows the words to and start singing. Someone then needs to turn it down for 10 seconds whilst everyone keeps singing, before turning it back up again to see if you've kept the beat and stayed in time. This game is mainly just a bit of fun, but you could always turn it into a competition!