The 9 Best Road Trip Games of 2021

Keep everyone entertained and engaged all the way to your destination

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Boys drawing and playing video game in car

 

Stephen W. Morris / Getty Images 

The Rundown

Best Overall: Games on the Go at Amazon

"Budget-friendly and great for all ages."

Best Budget: Mad Libs on the Road at Amazon

"Mad Libs pads are an inexpensive way to learn about sentence structure and parts of speech."

Best for Siblings: Skillmatics Guess in 10 Animal Planet at Amazon

"Encourages kids to use all five of their senses to explore their surroundings."

Best for Families: Travel Bingo at Amazon

"This bingo set makes for quintessential family fun."

Best for Adults: Pick Your Poison Card Game at Amazon

"There are more than 300 cards in the deck that combine for seemingly endless “would you rather” combinations."

Best for Ages 3 to 5: Coogam Travel Tangram Puzzle at Amazon

"The colorful pieces are all magnetic, and the whole thing weighs just over 7 ounces. "

Best for Ages 4 to 7: I Spy Travel Game at Amazon

" In addition to its entertainment value, it has educational value, too."

Best for Ages 8 to 12: Briarpatch Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game at Amazon

"Kids will pass hours searching for the objects contained on the 54 cards."

Best for Ages 13 to 15: Shotgun! at Amazon

"It also comes with a drawstring pouch to keep everything together."

In an age when everyone has a device (or two, or three) on their body at all times, it can be hard to carve out the time for disconnecting digitally and reconnecting as a family. But a road trip poses the perfect opportunity for analog play. (And hey, you might not even have Wi-Fi anyway, depending on your route!) When you’re packing up for a family vacation by car or an adults-only road-trip getaway with friends or a partner, take one or more of these games along for the ride. From brain teasers to conversation starters, from games of chance to games of skill, these are the best road trip games of 2021.

Best Overall: Games on the Go

What We Like
  • Great for groups of players

  • Includes 50 games

  • Good for all ages

What We Don't Like
  • Card stock is a little flimsy

Games on the Go is our best overall pick for so many reasons: It’s budget-friendly, great for all ages, adaptable for two or more players, and consists of just one piece that won’t get lost or fall between the seats. The card deck bound with a single ring is actually a collection of 50 games in one: It includes guessing games, word games, memory challenges, trivia questions, and more.

Best Budget: Mad Libs on the Road

What We Like
  • Good for all ages

  • Helps kids with writing and learning

  • Inexpensive game

What We Don't Like
  • Can only play each game once

Loved by both kids and adults, Mad Libs is classic road trip fun, providing families with hours of laughs and entertainment during long car rides. With the road trip version of this popular word game, kids can help create car songs, describe historical sites, and tell funny stories about vacations, all while writing and learning (without even realizing!) about sentence structure and parts of speech. Mad Libs pads are perfect for families with a wide range of ages, and these fun-filled pads are so inexpensive that you may even want to stock up on the other Summer Fun, and Vacation Fun themed ones.

Best for Siblings: Skillmatics Guess in 10 Animal Planet

What We Like
  • Durable card quality

  • Driver can play

  • Can be played over and over

What We Don't Like
  • Not great for very small children

The whole family can play this game in the car as they all try to spot objects listed on these Scavenger Hunt for Kids cards. In addition to cards with objects such as ​​"red car" or "license plate with the letter Z", the special “Hear It”, “Feel It”, and “Smell It” cards encourage kids to use all five of their senses to explore their surroundings. Family members can team up, so even the driver can play along. The 54 cards are durable and high-quality, so they’ll hold up for countless games and hours of fun on the road.

Best for Families: Travel Bingo

What We Like
  • Up to four players

  • Educational game for kids

What We Don't Like
  • Not great for very small children

This bingo set makes for quintessential family fun. It comes with four different cards so a family as large as four can play together. (If one is the driver, make sure you choose a proxy to play their board so they can keep their eyes on the road!). Each card has a different style, all in keeping with the road trip theme. And instead of marking spots with loose pieces, players just slide a fingertip over a shutter—so there’s no mess and nothing to lose track of.

Best for Adults: Pick Your Poison Card Game

What We Like
  • Sparks fun conversation

  • 300 cards to combine

What We Don't Like
  • Can get repetitive

Why should kids get to have all the fun in the car? This game is meant to trigger all kinds of fun and lively (maybe even weird, revealing, or shocking) conversations among couples or friends. There are more than 300 cards in the deck that combine seemingly endless “would you rather” combinations to pose as questions for others in the car.

Best for Ages 3 to 5: Coogam Travel Tangram Puzzle

What We Like
  • Great for even small kids

  • Helps kids with coordination and problem solving

  • Good for solo playing

What We Don't Like
  • Foam pieces aren't very durable

This puzzle challenges players to form a specific shape using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. If that doesn’t sound like an ideal game for a road trip, consider this: The colorful pieces are all magnetic, and the whole thing weighs just over 7 ounces. Recommended for kids ages 3 and up, this game doubles as a tool for practicing math, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving.

Best for Ages 4 to 7: I Spy Travel Game

What We Like
  • Good for solo and group playing

  • Kids practice vocabulary

What We Don't Like
  • Not great for open road sights

Recommended for ages 4 and up, this game is ideal for a single player or more. The objective is to seek and find objects on the road that match their cards. In addition to its entertainment value, it has educational value, too. Kids get practice building vocabulary and reading skills as they discover specific words or letters.

Best for Ages 8 to 12: Briarpatch Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game

What We Like
  • Helps kids engage their senses

  • Fun to play again and again

What We Don't Like
  • Best for older children

Two or more players will stay entertained for miles with this travel scavenger hunt game. Kids will pass hours searching for the objects contained on the 54 cards—think road trip sights like a stop sign or a license plate containing the letter “Z.” This bestselling game is a fan favorite, garnering more than 2,000 reviews that combine for a nearly perfect rating. This game is designed for ages 7 and up.

Best for Ages 13 to 15: Shotgun!

What We Like
  • Endless combinations of play

  • Includes drawstring pouch

  • Different types of play from dares to trivia

What We Don't Like
  • Best for older children

This family-friendly game intended for ages 12 and up encourages two or more players to compete by playing dares, trivia, challenges, questions, and tons more; there are 200 cards in all, so every time you play turns out different. It also comes with a drawstring pouch to keep everything together.

Final Verdict

For my money, I’ll always pick a game that I remember from my own childhood that my kids can get into, too. For that reason, my top pick is Mad Libs (view at Amazon). It’s not just nostalgic but also fun, funny, and educational.

 What to Look For in Road Trip Games

 Age Appropriateness

Make sure you choose games that are appropriate for the age and skill level of the passengers. If your toddlers can’t read, you’ll want to pick a game with pictures or shapes instead of words. If you have tweens or teens, pick a brain teaser, educational game, or conversation starter that won’t bore them. And of course, if your road trip is for adults only—feel free to go wild with a NSFW game of your choice!

 Number of Players

If you’re traveling with just one backseat passenger—say, an only child—choose a game a single player can enjoy independently. A two-player game is ideal for a pair of siblings or a couple. Games like bingo accommodate as many players as there are boards. And games like Mad Libs have no specific player requirement, so they can accommodate every rider in the car for group play.

 Moving Parts

A road trip game is no fun at all when you lose an essential piece between the folds of the seat and spend the next 50 miles digging for it. Some road trip games have magnetic pieces or connected parts, so you can’t drop them when the car is in motion. Others have no parts at all—like a ring-bound deck of conversation-starting cards—and this makes it easier to keep your hands on them (especially if you’re traveling with young kids).

 Why Trust TripSavvy?

Alesandra Dubin is a travel writer and mom who has logged thousands of miles on the road with her six-year-old twins.

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