Games to Play While Traveling

Family road trip

With some fun games to play while traveling you can eliminate the boredom of sitting for long periods of time. Whether played in the car, on the plane or in the airport, these games can make time fly.

For Kids

While movies and videos can help on a trip, you want children to do more than stare passively at a screen. A fun interactive game can help the time pass and engage those developing minds.

Alphabet Game

While best played in a car, this game can also be played in an airport, train station or anywhere there are lots of signs. Starting at the beginning of the alphabet, each player must find the letter "A' somewhere on a sign, license plate, etc. The player then moves on to finding the letter "B," and so on. Each siting can only be counted once. The first player to finish "Z" wins.


This playground favorite can be played just about anywhere. Start with a steady cadence of six beats: two pats on the legs, two claps and two finger snaps. After the cadence is established, one player calls out the following, one phrase per beat set: "Categories...such as...names of." On the fourth beat, the player announces the category. The cadence continues. Each player in turn must name something in the category before the cadence is complete. If they do not, they are out. The last person left wins and establishes the category for the next round.

Example of good categories include colors, flowers and animals. A more difficult variation for older children is to have each answer be in alphabetical order. For example, in the category, flowers, if the first answer is aster, then begonia, calla lily, and daffodil would follow.

Young Adult Games to Play While Traveling

While young adults may be harder to entertain, there are several games that may keep them interested.

I'm Going to Bombay

This memory game can be played on planes, in cars and on trains. The first player starts, by saying "I'm going to Bombay and I'm going to take..." and then names an item beginning with the letter "A," such as an albatross. The next player follows by repeating "I'm going to Bombay and I'm going to take..." That player repeats the previous player's item and adds a "B" item. Each subsequent player repeats the phrase and lists all previous items, in order, and adds an item beginning with the next letter. Anyone who forgets an item is out. The person who completes the entire alphabet wins. An example for the letter "F" might be "...I'm going to Bombay and I'm going to take an albatross, a basket, a CD player, a dog, an extra large pizza and a flute."

Twenty Questions

This old reliable is usually a favorite with teens and adults. One person is "it" and thinks of an object. Each player in turn may ask a "yes" or "no" question about the item. The players have to guess the item by the answer of the twentieth question. If they do not, the person who is "it" wins. Each player may guess during his turn. If a player guesses correctly he wins. If he guesses incorrectly, that player is out and the others continue.

Some variations include allowing for the answer "maybe," and allowing for subjects other than objects, such as emotions, verbs and famous people to be used in the game.

For Adults

Just like children, adults can get bored on long trips. Adults can use games to play while traveling to stay awake and pass the time.

License Plate Poker

This is a great game to play when you are traveling by car. The first player takes a license plate from another car and makes a poker hand from it. The letter "A" is an ace, as is the number one. A "K" is a king, a "Q" is a Queen and a "J" is a Jack. The number "0" represents a ten. The player may try three different license plates to come up with the best five "card" hand. The next player has to beat the first player's hand in three license plates. If he does not, he is out. If he does have a better hand, the first person is out.The next player (if there is one) tries next for the best hand and so on. The person with the best hand after everyone has had a turn is the winner.

Story Time

This game gets the imagination going with an unending story, added to by each player. The first player starts by telling the opening of a story. He tells five sentences of the story, then at an important moment, stops and says "and..." The next player picks up the story where it ends off and adds his own five sentences. The game ends when the destination is reached.

Playing games passes the hours and provides important mental stimulation for travelers. It also encourages interaction between family members and traveling companions. Best of all, they are more fun than simply staring out the window of a car, train, plane or bus.

Games to Play While Traveling