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Best road trip games

Stay entertained on long drives with these fun ways to pass the time

  • Published Apr 14, 2016
  • Updated Oct 14, 2022
  • 602 words
  • 3 minutes
Photo: Stephen Hillier/CanGeo Photo Club
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Hitting the open road is exhilarating, but spending hours in a car can become tiresome. Liven things up with these fun games, as selected by Canadian Geographic Travel staff. Did we miss your favourite? Add it in the comments!

Game: Name-that-tune
How to play: Plug in your iPod, set to shuffle and see who can name the song (or the band or singer) first. First person with 10 correct guesses wins. An added wrinkle: the loser has to sing the chorus of a song chosen by the winner — in the voice of the artist.
– Harry Wilson, senior editor

Game: Roadtrip Bingo
How to play: This print-before-you-go travel game is great for anyone with two or more kids in tow. Find a free Bingo card template online, or make your own at home. Each square features a common (or not so common) roadside sight — a tree, fire hydrant, sheep, car or road sign. The first person to mark all the items in a single row shouts “Bingo!” to win. If there are still some kilometres to go, start over or aim for a full house (i.e. a filled card) instead.
– Jessica Finn, photo editor

Game: Place name game
How to play: Player 1 says a place name, player 2 follows with another place that begins with the last letter of player 1’s place, and so on (Ottawa à Ancaster  à Rio de Janeiro, etc.). Can limit players to countries, regions and states/provinces or cities, or play all-out with continents, oceans, rivers, mountains, etc. Also works with movies and book titles.
– Nick Walker, managing editor

Game: Horses
How to play: This works best if driving through agricultural areas. When passing a field with horses in it, the first to announce and count the number of horses therein gets to add that number to their tally. As the trip progresses competitors tallies start to grow; however, spotting and announcing a graveyard wipes out all competitors tallies (my dad was killer at this game, and to this day, I’m sure he changed his driving route to pass a graveyard that only he knew was coming up when necessary)
– Aaron Kylie, editor

Game: I Spy
How to play: In this classic game, player 1 chooses an object outside (best if it remains in sight for a few minutes) and says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is —(characteristic of whatever they’ve chosen).” Using that clue, the other players take turns guessing what the Player 1 spied until someone gets the correct answer. The player who guessed correctly now gets to choose an object for “I spy”.
– Michela Rosano, associate editor

Game: The license plate game
How to play: Watch for license plates from different provinces/states and see who has come from the farthest away. Bonus fun: making up stories about where they are going and why.
– Alexandra Pope, social media editor

Game: Alphabet spotting
How to play: This is a great game for those with young children, and those who don’t deal well with competitive games. The mission is to find the whole alphabet, in order from A to Z. Road signs are fair game, as are the license plates on other cars, but you’re not allowed to use the interior of your our vehicle. When you spot the next letter you say it out loud, and the group begins the hunt for the next letter.
– Sabrina Doyle, new media editor


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This story is from the Canadian Geographic Travel: Summer 2016 Issue

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