Seven Things to Do On Your Next Car Trip

February 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For some families, keeping the kids quiet and entertained on a long car trip can be the hardest part. The easiest thing to do is pop a movie into the car DVD player, put some wireless headphones on the kids, and enjoy the next two hours in silent bliss.

Photo of a covered wagon: Can you imagine how long a car trip would take in one of these?

Can you imagine how long a car trip would take in one of these?

But what if you don’t have a DVD player, or your kids are tired of watching the same movies, or you want them to take a break from electronic entertainment for a while? Or what if you don’t have kids, but you and your traveling partners need something to do to while away the miles?

Here are a few games and entertainment ideas that will help keep everyone in the car entertained.

  1. Discussion questions: Based on the original The Book of Questions published in 1987, there are dozens of books, cards, and even mobile apps that give you thoughtful conversation starters like “If you could travel to the future, but never return, would you?” Ask a question, and then everyone gets to answer.
  2. Audio books and radio plays: Instead of movies the driver can’t enjoy, why not a “movie for the mind?” Pick an audio book on CD, mp3, or even downloaded from an audiobook service, like There are also plenty of old-time radio shows available (and legal!) for download on a number of different sites, as well as radio theater groups producing new radio play podcasts. Check out Decoder Ring Theater, ZBS (especially for Jack Flanders shows), and The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company just to name a very few.
  3. Cow counting: This is an oldie-but-a-goodie, and works better if you’re on state highways instead of freeways. Count the number of cows on your side of the car — no estimating. You have to count them! — and the first person to 100 wins. If you pass a cemetery on your side of the road, you have to start over.
  4. License plate bingo/Scavenger hunt: This takes a little pre-planning first. Create some bingo sheets or scavenger hunt checklists and hand them out in the car — the driver will need the navigator’s help, of course — and then keep your eyes peeled for items on the list.
  5. Road alphabet: Keep your eyes peeled for the letters of the alphabet, in order, on different road signs. First person to Z wins. No fair using license plates or passing cars!
  6. Road trip apps: There are dozens of road trip apps out there, from conversation starters, to scavenger hunts, to trivia games. Find a few that you can either serve as the moderator, or pass off to other players.
  7. I Spy: Name an object you’re likely to see outside, and have everyone keep an eye out. First one to spot it and call it gets a point. Remember, call out an object you’re going to see, rather than something in the car, or something you already passed.

Those are just a few of our suggestions to keep a carload of travelers entertained on long car trips. What are some of your favorites? Leave us a suggestion, or let us know if you’ve tried one of these, and how it worked out.

Photo credit: Larry D. Moore (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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