Time spent on any road trip is often filled with oohing and aahing at the breathtaking landscapes that surround you. And in between stops at the most famous things to do, you’ll need an entertaining way to pass the time. This is where road trip games come in. Having a list of fun games to play in the car makes driving those long stretches of road go by faster.
Games to play on a road trip should be easy, fun, and help you bond with your travel companions. They often unearth previously unknown fun facts, fill the vehicle with laughter, and are some of the best memories of the trip. Spicing up what could be an otherwise dull drive is always a good strategy, right? Let’s take a look at the best car games and start creating some unforgettable memories.
Fun road trip games for everyone
A favorite from childhood, this car game requires astute observation of your surroundings. The way the game works is that the first player says the phrase “I spy with my little eye...something ___________” . Then they fill in the blank with a simple word like “shiny” or “green” or “big”. The other players then take turns asking yes or no questions until they’ve figured out the object. The person who guesses correctly wins.
This is a good game because it can take one minute or ten, depending on how difficult it is to guess.
The License Plate Game
This is one of the simpler car trip games. When playing the license plate game, there are several variations. One is to spot license plates from another country (if you’re in Europe) or state (in the United States, for example). In Iceland, neither of these scenarios is likely. A common modification is to pick a letter of the alphabet and scout for plates that either contain or start with that letter.
A more interesting twist is to use letters in the plate as an acronym to come up with a short sentence. So for example, if you see LL-M54 it could be Ladies Love Mike or something similar. You’ve got to be quick on your feet; good car games make us laugh, so the weirder or more hilarious your sentence, the better.
Of all the trip games around, this is probably one that provides the most insight. You get to ask anything you want, so maybe download some free printable sheets to get some ideas. There are entire websites and apps dedicated to these types of question games.
The answers may surprise you, and you might discover something about your friends or family that you weren’t aware of. You might also reveal some new information to them. This is a great way to get to know your fellow passengers even better. Beware these types of car ride games; what you learn might shock you!
The Movie Game
This road trip classic is similar to Six Degrees of Separation (or Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon as it’s sometimes played). In the movie game, someone names an actor or actress. The next player has to name a movie with that person in it. Then, the next player has to think of another actor or actress in the same movie. Afterwards, the next player thinks of a different movie with the second actor in it. It continues like this until players run out of actors or movies.
For bonus points, see if you can find a way to fit it Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece Prometheus. The grand opening scene of the movie was filmed in Iceland. It features Dettifoss, one of the most famous Iceland waterfalls.
Create a Story
Another one of my favorite fun car ride games is making up a story; the twists and turns happen very quickly and it's an unpredictable game. It requires imagination, and you can end up anywhere. You start with one single word and then players each take turns adding one word each to the story. It’s a rapid-fire game that can go in a different direction at any moment.
The Alphabet Game
This is one of my favorite games to play in the car. You have to pick a category and then name something in that category starting with that letter of the alphabet. So for example, if the category is food, then you could say A is for apple, B is for banana, C is for cherry and so on. If you reach the end of the alphabet, start over and keep going until you run out of items. You’ll be disqualified if you repeat one.
For a road trip scavenger hunt, you’ll need a list of things you’re likely to see while driving. Some items tailored to Iceland's Ring Road might be sheep, special road signs, campervans, waterfalls, glaciers, lava fields, etc. Check each item off the list as you pass it to try to get as many as possible. This is one of the best fun car games because you’re constantly on the alert and can point out some pretty cool things.
Car bingo is one of the classic car travel games that you’ll enjoy. It’s similar to Scavenger Hunt but narrower in scope. Think of the different types of vehicles that you’ll see on the road (SUVs, trucks, motorhomes, etc.). As you find them, cross them off your list. The first person to cross all of them off wins.
The Quiet Game
This is a great game to play when you want a little bit of peace, quiet, and calm. Many parents are already aware of this game and it’s just as effective with kids on road trips. Players see how long they can stay quiet and the winner is one who holds out the longest. Be careful not to use it too much, as your children may quickly catch on to what you’re doing. We wouldn’t want to ruin it.
Road trip games for adults
What we’ve seen has been pretty tame and innocent, so it’s perfect for both families and adult travelers alike. But there are also some fun road trip games that I wouldn’t recommend playing around anyone under 18. After all, not all games for the car have to be PG-13.
Never Have I Ever
Players hold up the fingers on one hand and start saying things they’re never done. It could be things like “Never have I ever gone skiing” or “Never have I ever met a celebrity”. Everyone takes turns naming things and whoever folds down all of their fingers first is eliminated. Keep going until there’s a winner.
Would You Rather
Another fun game is Would You Rather. Think of two of the strangest, grossest, or most difficult situations someone could find themselves in. Then ask the other person “Would you rather...option A or option B”? This game allows you to be creative as well as discover unusual truths about people.
Kiss Marry Kill
This is a really good car game that has the potential to shock and gives you peek into the mind of those you’re traveling with. Everyone in the car has to list three people. Then everyone has to decide from among those three who to kiss, who to marry, and who to kill. The three people chosen can be current figures from today, or people from the past like old movie stars or historical figures. They can also be someone fictional, like the Mona Lisa or Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
Truth or Dare
Truth or dare is another game that can reveal a lot about your travel companions. They can choose to answer a question truthfully or do a dare. The dare has to be something that can be done safely within the confines of the car. Get creative and see what kinds of amusing dares you can come up with. Just remember to always practice driving safety.
The best road trip games for your journey
Road trip car games and rocking playlists are an essential part of your arsenal for maximizing the good times you’ll have while you travel. It’s not always about visiting places like Svartifoss waterfall or the Golden Circle (although those are pretty great). Some of my fondest memories of trips are the silly things we did like running around the car at a stoplight and rushing to get back to our seats in time.
However you choose to spend your time, soak up every single moment and enjoy your trip.