Guest post by Carrie Newhouse.

On a road trip, sometimes I love to sit in silence and contemplate the beautiful scenery around me as I…totally fall asleep, leaving the driver bored and on the verge of conking out at the wheel. This is a less than ideal situation for all involved, especially the road trippers surrounding us on the same bland stretch of highway.

Luckily, there’s a cure for what ails me. Road trip games aren’t just for kids anymore! Are you ready for some silly games to keep your whole road trip crew entertained and alert?

Road Trip Game 1: Name That Tune

trip30 vacation

Most everyone has an iPod today, so Name That Tune has gone from reruns on TV to new life in the car. This game is best played in carloads of three or more. To start, appoint one person to be the DJ. The DJ (gently) throws everyone’s iPods into a bag and picks one randomly, keeping it hidden. This prevents the iPod owner from an advantage over the other players. The DJ shuffles the songs and when a song starts playing, everyone races to name the song. The first person to name the song gets the point!

Depending on the musical acuity of your car mates, the level of difficulty can easily be adjusted. To make it easier, the player only has to name the artist or band. To make it harder, add in bonus points for naming the album, year released and all members of the band. First person to 15 points (or 1500 points on a particularly long trip) wins!

Road Trip Game 2: Build a Title

Road Trip Game: Movie Mashup

I’ve borrowed this game from Doug Benson’s podcast Doug Loves Movies. There are plenty of fun games on this podcast, so check it out for other options. Build a Title has a simple premise that can make for some maddening game play.

Start with a simple movie title. I’ll use Dead Man Walking as an example. The first player must add a movie title to the beginning that ends in Dead or a movie title to the end that begins with Walking.

One option is to add The Evil Dead to the front so your new title chain is The Evil Dead Man Walking. The next player must add to the list of titles, using a movie that starts with Evil (The, A, and An can be dropped from the beginning of titles) or ends with Walking.
A second option is to add Walking Tall to the end. The resulting chain is Dead Man Walking Tall. The next player must add a movie that ends in Dead or begins with Tall.

Every time a player adds to the chain, they must repeat the whole chain of titles. A big part of the fun is seeing if everyone can remember the entire chain without dropping any of the movie titles. The last person to add to the chain and repeat it correctly is the big winner!

Road Trip Game 3: Categories


This game is simple, but can be played off and on for hours without running out of ideas. One member of the car throws out a category and everyone takes turn naming items that belong to that category. The last person to name something in the category wins the round!

Everyone should keep track of their named items to avoid any repeats, especially if a category goes on for more than several rounds. Some suggestions for categories are: articles of clothing, diseases, Michael Jackson songs or characters in Harry Potter.

Road Trip Game 4: Not So Much a Game

Nerdist illustration by Tom Kurzanski

Nerdist illustration by Tom Kurzanski

I’m not copping out on the games, but I have gotten hours of wide-awake enjoyment out of podcasts on long road trips. This American Life, an NPR staple and perpetual iTunes chart topper, has hundreds of podcasts that can be streamed for free or downloaded for $0.99 each. I always recommend downloading podcasts ahead of time in case you are in a dead zone or have a limited data plan.

This American Life is a great option, but there are infinite free options out there to download early! If you and your road trip partners have a special interest, I promise there is a podcast to match. Love comedy and celebrity interviews? Try the Nerdist Podcast. Want to listen to word and trivia games and play along? Ask Me Another is in your wheelhouse. Need quick tips on how to be improve your life in small ways? Happier with Gretchen Rubin is short, smart and entertaining. Want some random, riveting and true stories from insanely good storytellers? Listen to The Moth (especially any episode with Simon Doonan.) THERE ARE SO MANY MORE. My iPhone has at least 70 podcasts ready and waiting for me to put in my earholes.

I think it’s road trip time. Don’t you?

Posted by Carrie Newhouse