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Old-School Road Trip Games to Keep Your Family Sane

In the days of iPads and portable video game consoles, it seems like kids (and more than a few adults) would rather use technology to get through a road trip than spend it playing family games. But, sometimes, putting the screens away and participating in some good old-school road trip games can make lasting memories for everyone involved. The puzzle professionals at Solve It! remind us of these fun family games that can make the miles fly.

Licence Plate Game

This old-school road game is best for cross-country trips, where you’ll get the opportunity to spot licence plates from various states. You can either have passengers keep track of the license plates they see or you can create a BINGO grid of states so that you’re playing a game within a game. When someone wins a BINGO, you can move on to various other BINGO games like four corners, blackout, and more.

If they’re just keeping a list of license plates they see, keep the game going for a set amount of time, such as between rest stops, or have it continue for the entire trip. This is a great game to play while you also play other games because it doesn’t take too much effort to look at license plates as cars pass or when you’re in a parking lot.

Twenty Questions

To play Twenty Questions, one person thinks of a person, place, or thing and the other players take turns asking questions in an attempt to find out what that person is thinking of. The game ends when twenty questions have been asked and the person, place, or thing is still unknown or when one person guesses the person, place, or thing correctly.

Tailor this game toward your vacation to build excitement among your family members. For example, if you’re headed to Florida and Disney World, choose a person, place, or thing associated with Disney to keep your passengers focused on their destination and not how long it’s going to take to get there. For older kids, you can make the game even more challenging by limiting questions to yes/no questions so they get only a small bit of information at a time.

Alphabet Game

The Alphabet Game is an excellent way to reinforce the ABCs with younger children, while keeping older children occupied and engaged. You simply search for items outside the car that start with each letter of the alphabet. This can be played in a variety of ways, but the two most popular ways are to have each person complete the alphabet separately or to complete the alphabet together as a family. The second way tends to go much faster and you can play several rounds.

For younger kids, consider removing the letters Q, X, and Z, or you can change the rules a bit for those letters and have them find things that contain those letters instead of starting with them. Either way, these adjustments will speed up the game a little bit.


Road tripping is a rite of passage for everyone, but unless you have some activities planned like these old-school games, you could get tired of hearing “are we there yet?” before you even leave your neighborhood. Plan ahead and enjoy making road trip memories that will last a lifetime.


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