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: Continuum Games Games on the Go at Walmart

"This pick earns the top spot because it's budget-friendly, versatile, and great for all ages."

Best Budget: Mad Libs Mad Libs on the Road at Amazon

"This pad is an inexpensive way to learn about sentence structure and parts of speech."

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

"This game is perfect for a pair (or more) of siblings to play."

Best for Families: Regal Games Original Travel Bingo Assorted 4 Pack at Amazon

"This bingo set makes for quintessential family fun."

Best for Adults: Player Ten Pick Your Poison at Amazon

"This game is meant to trigger all kinds of fun and lively conversations among couples or friends."

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

"Recommended for kids age 3 and up, this game doubles as a tool for practicing math, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving."

Best for Ages 4 to 7: Briarpatch I SPY Travel!​ Card Game at Amazon

"Recommended for ages 4 and up, kids can practice building their vocabulary and reading skills with this game."

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

"Designed for ages 7 and up, kids will pass hours searching for the objects contained on the 54 cards."

Best for Ages 13 to 15: What Do You Meme? Shotgun at Amazon

"Intended for ages 12 and up, this game encourages players to complete dares, trivia, challenges, questions, and tons more."

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 to games of chance to games of skill, these are the best road trip games.

Best Overall: Continuum Games Games on the Go

Continuum Games Games on the Go Portable Games

Courtesy of Macy's

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 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

Yes, this is a version of the very same game you played growing up. This collection has a road trip theme, so it’s perfect to play in the car with two or more players. Work together to create silly car songs and road travel-themed stories. As fun as this game is, it’s equally educational for kids learning grammar and language fundamentals. This paperback costs about the same as a cup of coffee from that Starbucks at the next exit.

Best for Siblings: Skillmatics Guess in 10 Animal Planet Card Game of Smart Questions

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

A pair (or more) of siblings can play this simple game designed for kids ages 6 and up. The goal is to guess the object on the game card by asking no more than 10 smart questions. Choose from 10 different themes, including animals, geography, sports, and more. Each contains 50 game cards, six clue cards, and a portable and travel-friendly storage box.

Best for Families: Regal Games Original Travel Bingo Assorted 4 Pack

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: Player Ten Pick Your Poison

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 create 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 age 3 and up, this game doubles as a tool for practicing math, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving.

Best for Ages 4 to 7: Briarpatch I SPY Travel!​ Card 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 to practice building their vocabulary and reading skills, as they discover specific words or letters.

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

What We Like
  • Helps kids engage their senses

  • Can be played over and over

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. This game is designed for ages 7 and up.

Best for Ages 13 to 15: What Do You Meme? 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

Our overall pick is Games on the Go (view at Amazon) for its budget-friendly price, versatility, and compact size that won't get lost. However, if you're looking for something slightly more engaging for your kiddos, you can't go wrong with Mad Libs on the Road (view at Amazon). It sparks creativity while allowing your kid to practice their grammar and language skills.

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 an 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 6-year-old twins.

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