Road trip games can make any journey more enjoyable and fun whether you're going on a long drive across the country or spending a few hours in the car with the kids.
Our list of the 30 of the best road trip games will provide entertainment for children and adults alike, ranging from music-related games and foodie challenges to word contests and devious pranks.
You will never have to think of what to do on a long car ride again! The following is the ultimate list of games you can play on a road trip.
1. The Story Game
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 as you make way along your road trip. 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 and if your passengers are good, these stories can get seriously long!
2. I'm Going On A Road Trip
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.
Be sure to throw in a few weird and wonderful items to confuse the rest of the players!
3. The Quiet Game
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.
4. The Banana Game
This game is all about the color 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.
5. Never Miss A Beat
This game may be more of a singalong than a game, but it's still awesome!
Never miss a beat offers another chance to show off your singing skills and unusually gets everyone playing together rather than against each other.
All you need to do is stick on your family's favorite 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 by splitting into teams!
6. I Spy
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.
7. 20 Questions
This classic road trip 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 object 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!
8. Car Bingo
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 road trip route - 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 places they're visiting.
Make the list as specific to the place you're going as you want. In Texas you might have anything mentioning the Lone Star and in Wyoming you might be on the lookout for elk!
You can tailor the difficulty and number of things to find depending on the age of your children.
9. Sweet Or Sour
The rules of this road trip 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!
Remember not to distract other drivers!
10. Secret Place Race
Make use of that 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.
This can be incredibly entertaining in a Where's Waldo kind of way, except their mission in finding the village can be made critically important for the driver to be able to find the right way!
Have a reward on hand if they're able to find it in less than 5 minutes, and watch as they're completely engrossed in the task. A simple yet satisfyingly effective game.
11. Punch Buggy
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 one of those road trip games that is universally loved 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.
Granted - in some parts of the world, seeing a Beetle is incredibly rare, so if you're struggling to see many Beetles, you could always choose a specific color of car or another funny model as the target instead to make it a touch easier.
12. Regional Car Pantry
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.
13. The License Plate Game
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 license plates from as many different countries or US states (depending on where your road trip is taking place) as possible.
Write a list of the places you've seen and compare it 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.
The end of this road trip game can get very controversial - if you spot a real game winner, photographic evidence is a good idea so get your phone out and take photos in secret!
14. The Fortunately - Unfortunately road trip game
This is similar to the Story Game (see #1 above), 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.
This game can make it a little easier to remember the long string as everything has to be either fortunate or unfortunate! Get as creative as you can and you'll find yourself at your destination in what seems like no time at all.
15. The Complete Food Menu Game
This is the perfect road trip game to play if you're passing through a few towns on your way although roadside restaurants and chains will do just fine.
Print out a sheet with all the food types you can think of in a grid against the names of people in the car.
Every time you drive past a restaurant of some kind, the first person to spot it gets to collect the tick for the food type it serves. Steaks and pizzas should be easy to collect by everyone, but you might just win if you're the only one who spotted the seafood restaurant in the middle of Oklahoma!
16. The Name Game
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.
Obviously adding the rule of not repeating the same names once they have been mentioned makes this a whole lot more interesting as the game progresses although you're guaranteed to have a disagreement over whether a name has or has not been mentioned already!
17. Guess The Song
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.
This is much easier if you can connect your phone to the car for the road trip and play songs from there so you can easily search and pause the music.
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...
18. Sing The Next Line
A variation on the Guess The Song game above, 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.
19. Radio Roulette
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 programs and get to know traditional and popular music in that country - a great way to appreciate culture even when you're between destinations.
If you a radio station that is really wacky, let us know!
20. Would You Rather
This road trip 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…
You can see how this game can get as interesting in group of adults as with kids - answering the question is compulsory and providing reasons is where it gets fun!
21. Car Rules Road Trip Game
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.
The loser has to go pay for parking or buy ice creams at the next stop!
22. Hot Seat
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 friends.
You can use it as a warm up or a step up from the car version of Truth or Dare (see #27 below) depending on how close your friendships are!
23. People Watching
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...
Use your imagination to make the stories controversial and see how far you can go with making things up!
You might just surprise yourself how the most innocuous of road trip games will make you spot things you would never otherwise see just by looking at the cars around you.
24. Kiss, Marry, Avoid
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.
If you want to add a little spice to the game, use people you all know or move to people in the car!
25. While You Were Sleeping
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-mustache classic, we've got something even craftier.
Whilst they're taking a nap on the road trip, 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 mustache... but by all means, draw one on for good measure.
This classic road trip game can really take a turn for the worse if you want it to. A simple horror story about a truck that followed the car for miles that you just managed to pull away from before getting a flat tyre can go a long way as you're parked on the side of the road. Peer into the rear view mirror in horror and watch their face when a random truck appears on the horizon!
Popular with kids and adults alike the world over, Categories can be an awesome game to play on road trips as well.
The premise is simple - somebody picks a category which can have multiple different answers. Fruit or Beatles' songs can both be great options.
Players have to then take turns to name one item from the category at a time. Players are eliminated when they can't name one until there's one winner. Either the winner or the next person in turn gets to choose the next category.
That brings our list of the best road trip games to an end. Do you have other games you enjoy? Get in touch to let us know and we'll add it to our list!
27. Truth Or Dare (The Car Edition)
The old classic can and should be played on road trips! Players take turns to either answer an embarassing question truthfully or perform a dare set by other players.
The dares obviously have to be contained to the realms of the car or the roadside so you'll have to get creative.
Needless to say, this game is very different when played with kids as a family or with adult friends and is equally great in both cases!
28. 6 Degrees of Separation
This is a road trip game that will require some imagination and provide plenty of topics for conversation.
Take turns and pick two people who you may know or make them up (e.g. a Shaolin monk). The more different the background and location of these people the better!
Then proceed to discuss how these two people are connected through 6 connections or less. You don't have to know the whole chain - that's actually where the fun is.
How is a gaucho from a remote farm in southern Argentina connected to Prince Charles? The gaucho must know his ranch's boss (1). The boss knows the boss of the company that buys beef from local producers (2). That company has a liaison manager in a UK-based Argentinian beef importing firm (3). This manager has a colleague who imports fine wines from around the world for the same company (4). The colleague personally provides the fine wines to the Royal sommelier (5) and the sommelier personally knows Prince Charles (6). Bingo!
29. The Stop Joker Card road trip game
If you're going on a long trip and you're going to be driving all day or even longer than that, this is a great way to give everyone in the car, kids included, a way to have a bit of control.
At any point during the trip, each person can enact their Stop Joker Card - this means the car has to stop wherever they are passing and spend some time there doing an activity or just relaxing.
Your kids might see something really fun halfway along and use their card to break up the journey and everyone gets to have their stop along the route!
30. Pick One Car road trip game
This one is a game of patience and opportunity. Every person in the car has one chance during the journey to pick a car that you can see on your way as their ultimate One Car. The objective is to pick the coolest/fastest/most amazing car possible.
Once you've chosen a car, you can't change it - you only have one go so you better make it count - if you're passing something that is decent but not stellar, you might have to make a tough choice.
The game is made even more difficult by the fact that the first person to call the car out gets to have it so you have to be alert and on the lookout if you haven't got one yet.