Few moments are as trying as driving a long distance with bored children or waiting in endless traffic with nothing to do. Even with today's surplus of electronic travel gadgets, you may find yourself searching for a quick and easy game to play on the road either to keep yourself engaged or to stop the endless whining of your passengers. Here are some tried and true, road-tested winning games to play on the road.
- 20 Questions. Someone thinks of an animal, food, or person; this person is the answerer. The other players, called questioners, then take turns asking questions that give hints about the item or guessing what they think the item is. After 20 questions have been asked, the questioners have one last chance to guess the item. If any questioner guesses the item correctly, they win the game, but if no one can guess the item after 20 questions, the answerer wins.
- ABC Game. This popular road game has been played by countless people while driving. Players search billboards, vehicle tags, and road signs for words that begin with each letter of the alphabet (in order). Once a word has been named, no other players can use the word. The first person to complete the entire alphabet wins the game.
- Acronym Game. All you need for this game is a little imagination (a brief explanation of "acronym" for younger players). To play, you choose a license plate you see on the road. Players must then use the letters from that plate to make the name of a real or fake organization. "BYOA" could stand for "Bureau of Young Octopus Artists". The funniest or silliest name wins.
- Animal Game. Someone names an animal, like cow. The next person must name an animal that begins with the last letter of the previous animal ("w"), and could name something like wombat. The game continues with each player naming an animal that begins with the last letter of the previous animal. When a player cannot name an animal, they are eliminated. Play continues until only one person is remaining.
- Bingo. Before you leave, make some bingo cards with 5 columns and 5 rows. Mark the center square as a 'free space'. Fill the rest of the squares with items you will see along the road, like 'McDonald's', 'Holiday Inn', and 'Yellow Sign'. Each card should be different from the others. Use post-it notes for the card markers, and as you drive, each player must look for the items listed on their card. The first player to completely cover a row or column of 5 squares must call out, "Bingo" and wins the game.
- But/So. This is a storytelling game in which each line begins with either "but" or "so". Someone makes a statement like, "A baby raccoon wanted to leave its home." Another player must make up the next lines of the story, but begins it with 'but' ('But it didn't know its way around the neighborhood.') The following line must start with "so" ("So it stopped to buy a map."). The game ends when the story is finished or when no one else can think of a new line.
- Counting Cows is a classic road game that everyone in the car can play. Select a starting and stopping point (could be decided in miles or minutes). Players choose a side of the road and count as many cows as they see on their side. If you drive past a cemetery that's on your side of the road, you start over again at 0. The player with the highest number of cows when you reach the ending point wins the game.
- Road Trivia. In this game, someone chooses a letter of the alphabet. Everyone then looks around them along the roadside and at other cars to find items that start with that letter. If someone named the letter "p", players might name, "pine tree", or "Prius." The player with the most words wins.
- States Search. For this game, you will need a map of the United States. Locate your home state and leave it white. Color your state's border states a new color. Color the states that border those states a different color. Keep coloring each layer of border states a different color until you have filled in the map. Look for license plates from the states and award points for each state. States closest to yours are worth the least points, and states farthest from you are worth the most points.