A road trip with family means plenty of new shared memories and a whole lot of fun. But a family road trip without planning means boredom, sleepy passengers, possible tantrums, and a waste of precious bonding time. So, for an epic and enjoyable trip, plan important aspects of the trip before setting out. Carefully plan your route, food, stops, road trip games and activities. Prepare your vehicle and your roadside emergency kit. Then, and only then, should you start your road adventure.

Top 10 Classic Road Trip Games for the Whole Family - kids

Games on a road trip are a must. Chances are, if you haven’t planned, you’ll have players but won’t remember many games when it is time to play. Here’s a list of ten classic road trips that you can enjoy playing with your family:

Story-Telling Chain

This is an educational tool as much as it is a game. It boosts creativity and helps improve verbal skills. Start a story with one sentence, and take turns to build on the narrative. Incorporate whatever you see on the way into the story. The story is bound to take some fun turns. This is a very engaging way to spend time with family. Since everybody contributes something to the story, it holds everyone’s interest. Consider documenting these stories by either recording a video or writing them down. You might create some family masterpieces this way.

Alphabet Game

For this game, the players need to spot and find words starting with each letter of the alphabet. The players can pick sides and only use road signs, billboards, and landmarks on their side. The player who finds words with all the letters of the alphabet first wins. Stick to the sequence of the alphabet while playing. This game will pick up in populated areas and slow down in more natural areas. It will make everyone leave their mobile phones aside and pay attention to their surroundings.

Memory Test Game: I Packed My Bag   

This game serves as a good workout for the brain. Start the game by saying “I packed my bag and in it I added…” then state a thing. The next person should repeat the sentence, the thing you stated and add another item. The third person should repeat the sentence, the two items, and add one more item. The game has to continue like this. The one who forgets an item in between gets disqualified. The game comes to an end when there is only one remaining person, and that person is declared as the winner.                                   


Start the game with a word. The next player says a word that has some association with the first word. The third player tries to put forth a word that is related to the second word. Each consecutive player needs to come up with an associated word. Go through as many rounds of the players until someone is unable to add a word or states a word that is far-fetched or not associated at all. There’s scope for hilarious and creative associations in this game.

Imaginary Hide and seek

Imaginary hide and seek is exactly what it sounds like. Even if you are in a small vehicle, you can still play this game. One player ‘hides’ in a place mentally, as in, he/she will choose a place to hide in his/her mind. Everyone else needs to be familiar with the place. It is okay to set the rule that the place should be in or around your house. Then the other players ask yes/no questions to the first player to try and figure out the hiding place. When the first player is ‘found’, that is, any of the other players guess the hiding place correctly, the next player hides, and the game continues.

20 Questions

This game requires players to use their creativity and deductive reasoning. It’s a little similar to imaginary hide and seek, in the sense that, a player chooses a word (mostly an object), and the others ask questions to narrow down possibilities and guess the correct word. The one who guesses the correctly gets to be the next player to choose a word.

A Virtual Game of Cards

Playing with actual cards in a vehicle is far from being ideal. You can lose cards, or the game can get disrupted by brakes. This is where virtual card games come in. You can play free pyramid solitaire online. This game is fast-paced and simple. It puts a spin on the classical Klondike solitaire. Although it shares some similarities with card games like Spider and Freecell, it is quite different.

Top 10 Classic Road Trip Games for the Whole Family - card games

Would You Rather

In this game, you have to pose amusing dilemmas and choices. To play it on a road trip, you start by posing a ‘would you rather’ question. The next person picks his/her choice and briefly explains it. Then that player can ask a new ‘would you rather’ question and the game continues.  The questions posed must be according to age. This game promotes imaginative thinking and discussions. It’s great as a conversation starter and quite entertaining. Here are some sample questions:

  • Would you rather eat only your favorite food item for a month or never eat it again?
  • Would you rather have the ability to fly or to be invisible?
  • Would you rather never watch another movie or never get to read another book?


This game requires the players to turn a fortunate situation into an unfortunate situation and vice versa. You start the game by mentioning a fortunate situation. The next person needs to give it an unfortunate twist, even if it is imaginary. The third person needs to turn it back into a fortunate thing. The game continues until someone stumbles. The person who stumbles gets eliminated. The game resumes with a new situation with the remaining players. The last person (who never got eliminated) is the winner.

Top 10 Classic Road Trip Games for the Whole Family - ladies

I Spy

I Spy is a classic game with many fun variants. The first player kicks off the game by saying “I spy with my little eye something that starts with a (starting letter here)”. The other players have to guess what object it could be. Once they have guessed it right, another player says the same sentence except with the starting letter of the object of his/her choice. The guessing game continues this way.

Since you will be playing this game in a moving vehicle, it would be better to set down some ground rules like whether the chosen objects need to be in the vehicle or outside, and if outside, then how long the object needs to be visible to make it a suitable choice. You can try other variants of the game, like the one in which the player has to describe any one quality of the object he/she has in mind. The other players could also be allowed to ask yes or no questions. For maximum engagement, the choice of objects should neither be too hard nor too easy.

Wrapping Up

Adapt these or any other games according to the preferences of your family, to keep the playing members more engaged. Through such shared experiences, you’ll be able to create lasting memories.                                       

Jeanne and her son Tai have been full time travellers since 2017. They are lovers of all things travel with an insatiable desire to explore every last corner of the globe. Homeschooling and working as they move from one incredible location to the next. Their goal is to use their travel guides and stories to inspire others to explore the world.

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