For some parents, the idea of a road trip brings back the nostalgia of childhood — seeing wide open spaces for the first time, family photos at historic landmarks and the excitement of new adventures. Others might dread the inevitable question from the backseat, “Are we there yet?” A long road trip can wear on the patience of even the most enthusiastic traveler, but proper preparation can alleviate some of the stressors that come with planning a family road trip and help you enjoy quality time together, so you can focus on creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Apps and gadgets are a surefire way to keep your kids entertained, but what happened to good old-fashioned road trip games? It’s rare to find a modern parent who hasn’t complained that their child is “addicted” to screens, so to help solve for this — and give your kid’s eyes a rest from the blue light — we’ve created a list of road trip games for kids to keep them engaged during the drive and make sure you’re set up for road trip success. All you need to do is print them out! Find the option to download and print all the games to play on a road trip at the bottom of the post.
Road Trip Bingo
This age-old game gets a new twist. Search for road trip sights like bicycles, wind turbines and airplanes. The first player to find five in a row wins! Of course, we didn’t forget the free space.
Word Search Road Trip Style
Search for road trip-themed words using our word search puzzles. Looking for words across, vertical and diagonal will keep your kids occupied long enough for some quiet time on the road.
Are We There Yet?
This requires some extra preparation but will be worth it during the drive. Print this template before your departure, then write in and number the cities you plan to pass during your route. Once your car is packed, you can cut out and hang the cards on a string around the car. Your kids will love taking down the milestones as you make progress on your trip.
Scavenger Hunt Road Trip Game
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt to keep your kids occupied while on the road. They can check off their road trip-themed list — of 40 items — while in the backseat, at a rest stop or while you’re out exploring together.
Draw a Moving Truck Mural
U-Hauls and other moving trucks have always been entertaining for their funky illustrated murals, making it hard to find two that are exactly alike! Using our template, your kids can practice their drawing skills to replicate the murals of moving trucks they spot while on the road.
License Plate Road Trip Game
See how many license plates you can find during your road trip and check them off your list. Your kids can work individually or make it a family venture and work in teams! You can even decide how long the game will last — it could be for a portion of the route, the entire journey or even a set period of time if you’re planning a few upcoming road trips.
Depending on the age and competitive nature of your kids, you can choose from one of the following ways to keep score of your road trip games:
- License plates from any state are worth 1 point each.
- License plates from the state you are currently in and any adjacent states are worth 1 point each, while plates from any non-adjacent state are worth 2 points each.
- Bonus points for Hawaii and Alaska.
The family road trip gets a bad rap. Everyone’s cooped up in a small space, on each other’s last nerves and one child is crying while the other sibling torments them. But family road trips don’t have to be a bust — No matter where you are off to, the key to a successful adventure is always preparation.
Planning for your kid’s road trip activities ahead of time, will not only make the drive smoother, but it will ease their restlessness. This way, you can enjoy the time spent together while in the car and when you reach your destination. You might even consider creating a travel binder for your child, so they can hold onto their road trip car games in one convenient location and not lose them under the seat. This will help personalize their road trip and get them excited for the adventure ahead!