Road Trip Games

9 Classic Road Trip Games For A Drive Down Memory Lane

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Oh the nostalgia! These classic road trip games are will take you for a merry and amusing drive down memory lane. So pack the family in the van, it’s time to play.

classic road trip games van

Classic Road Trip Games


1. Punch Buggy ( Slug a Bug)

Perhaps the most famous of the classic road trip games, Punch Buggy is sure to get everyone in the car awake, alert, and perhaps hurt. One point is awarded to the person who first yells “Punch Buggy” when a Volkswagen Beetle (Bug) is spotted. This person then proceeds to punch the closest opponent. Misidentifying a Volkswagen Beetle results in the loss of one point and forfeit of that player’s punch privilege for the next buggy.

2. Stinky Pinky

Stinky Pinky (also known as Road Toad) is very simple. One passenger comes up with two words that are synonyms with two words that rhyme, for example: “smelly finger”. The remaining travelers try to guess “stinky pinky”.

When deciding on your words, it’s easiest to work backwards, thinking of the rhyme set before coming up with the synonyms. It’s best to use an adjective followed by a noun. Other fun examples: “happy fruit”—“merry cherry”, “insane flower”—“crazy daisy”. In this entertaining classic, the first person to correctly identify the given combo gets to create the combo for the next round.

3. Boggle!

Boggle is a word game created by Hasbro that has a travel version available for those on-the-go! It’s basically a timed word search. You first shake around the lettered cubes held within the center of the game’s case. Once the cubes have been sufficiently shuffled, you lock the letters into place by twisting the top of the case. You have three minutes (timed by a green light on the case) to discover and write down as many words as you find in grid of cubes.

Each word is given a value based of the amount of letters it contained. Once the time is up, add up the values to determine your final score! For more details on this time-honored road trip game, click here.

4. Word Trail

Begin by choosing a category that has many possibilities, such as countries, candies, or famous people. The first person chooses any object within that category. The next person must choose an object that starts with the last letter of the first object. For example, a word trail for car brands would look something like, “Mercedes, Saab, Buick, Kia, Audi”.

A variation of this game is played by using a person’s full name. To start, pick a name. Then use the first letter of the last name for the next play (ex. “Sandra Bullock, Bruce Willis, Will Smith, Susan Sarandon, Steve Martin, Miley Cyrus”). For this game version there seems to be imaginary points given to those who are able to come up with names that keep the same letter rolling.

5. A-Z Search

Another vintage car ride game is the “A-Z Search”. The point of this game is to find the letters A-Z in alphabetical order. You are allowed to use any letter found outside of your car. Signs, license plates, and billboards are just a few examples of where you’ll find your letters. This classic game is a time-passer and always seems to get difficult for many letters such as Q, Z, J, and X. You can play as a team or as individuals in competition.

If you are on a long trip and looking for a challenge, a variation of this game has you find whole words that begin with the letters A-Z in alphabetical order (ex. Use “Junction” for J. “Fiji” would not count. Nor would the abbreviation “Jct.”).

6. 20 Questions

In 20 Questions, one player is chosen to be the answerer. The answerer chooses a subject (ex. Apple, George Washington, Empire State Building) but does not reveal this subject to the others in the car. All other players are the questioners. The questioners each take turns asking a question which can be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. Lying is not allowed in the game!

If a questioner guesses the correct answer, that questioner wins the round and becomes the answerer for the next round. If 20 questions are asked without a correct guess, then the answerer has stumped the questioners and gets to be the answerer for another round.

An interesting twist would be to battle the ultimate 20 Questions machine (which can be found here). It’s a great way to add new competition and it is very difficult to beat. Seriously…try to trick it. It knows everything!

7. Two Truths and a Lie

One of the most famous road trip games starts with one player brainstorming three personal things about him/herself. Two of which are true, and one that is false. The player then says the three statements to the group. The other players must guess which of the three is the lie.

8. Hangman

Grab a sheet of paper and play some hangman! One person picks a word and then tells/shows everyone else how many letters the word contains. For example, if your word is “Road Trip Game”, you would write down:

_ _ _ _  –  _ _ _ _  –  _ _ _ _

Then the other passengers try to guess the word by selecting letters. Ex. If some one asks if the phrase contains an “R” then you fill in the “R”s:

  R _ _ _  –   _ R _ _  –   _ _ _ _

This goes on until either:

  • a) The passengers can guess the word correctly.
  • b) The other passengers get “hung”.

Here are some official travel hangman board games.

9. Audio Books

Pick a book for the entire car to listen to. Click here for a great list of book recommendations at Amazon.


Have any “Classic Road Trip Games” that you’d like to share? Post it in the comments section below. It just may get added to our list (with credit to you of course!).



1 Comment

  1. Collette Root

    January 5, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    License plate poker.
    Include my vehicle rules:
    Mine have included handicap on license is a wild card
    I rejected the k=king etc and made letters lower than numbers with A high to Z low
    Rejected 3 pairs
    I wanted to keep it close to original but bring in more chances to choose competitive plates

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