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Clever Travel Games to Stay Entertained on the Road

We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.

Do you like road trips? If so, you aren't alone. The great American road trip has endured the test of time. Going on a road trip is a great way to avoid long airport lines and pesky layovers, plus there are lots of things to do to keep boredom at bay while cruising the highway. According to a study, the average American will eat 13 snacks and play 16 car games on a road trip. With the right games, the journey can offer just as much excitement as the ultimate destination. Try playing one of these four clever travel games to stay entertained on the road.

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Street Scramble

Aerial view of car driving on road between trees
Credit: wmaster890/ iStock

If you have a pen and some paper, try a game of Street Scramble with your friends. Choose the name of a street or city that's longer than four letters. Next, give everyone two minutes to write down as many words as they can come up with using only the letters in the street or city name. If you're driving through Florida, for example, and pass a sign for Aviles Street (the oldest street in the country), your list might include words such as "save," "lives," and "vale."

When two minutes are up, go through your list to calculate your score. You get two points for any word nobody else came up with and you get one point for the others. Be sure to keep a running score throughout the trip. This game really tests your word skills, so it'll keep you entertained throughout the drive. Just remember to keep an eye on the road!

Want to take the game online? For a digital version, check out the app Unscramble Anagram. If you'd like some friendly competition, compare scores on both social and global leader-boards. Meanwhile, Wordox allows you to play against a virtual opponent.

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Scavenger Hunt

A couple relaxing in a convertible
Credit: goodluz/ Shutterstock

A scavenger hunt is such an iconic childhood game since it's both fun and engaging. The game works well for road trips too. Before starting on your journey, make a list of items you might see along the way such as a traffic cone, camper, or one of America's weirdest roadside attractions. Give everyone in your car a copy of the list. Whoever checks off the most items by the end of the trip wins!

If you're heading somewhere you've been before, you can make your list even more specific. Driving across South Dakota? You know there'll be numerous signs for Wall Drug and its free ice water and five-cent coffee. Heading up the California coast? If so, you're likely to see at least one person enjoying the sunshine in a convertible. You can also take part in larger, ongoing scavenger hunts around the country and globe. Find city-specific hunts such as this one in Philadelphia that lets you tour historical landmarks or another that lets you explore Miami's urban art. Feeling ambitious? Make your next trip an international adventure with a Global Scavenger Hunt and test your skills in a series of undisclosed locations.

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License Plate Phrases

Winding road between mountains
Credit: Wildroze/ iStock

For a game you can start and stop anytime, look outside your window at another car's license plate. Then, come up with a phrase that begins with the first letter and finishes with the last. For example, if you see the license plate 482 EPC, you could come up with "Eat Parisian Croissants" or "Elephants Pirouette Clumsily."

If you're driving overseas, you'll get more letters to work with. In Croatia, for example, you might see something like ZG 3985 GC. How about "Zoos Get Gorgeous Camels" or "Zero Geologists Go Crazy"? Be prepared for the phrases to start flying as people's creative juices get going. There are no winners or losers, but it goes without saying that the weirdest phrases will get the most laughs.

Of course, if your competitive spirit requires a winner, there are plenty of other license plate-related games to try. See who can spot plates from the most states or be the first to find any combination of the alphabet — in order — on a license plate.

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Who Am I?

People traveling in car looking at map
Credit: ImYanis/ Shutterstock

If you're a fan of guessing games, you might be familiar with the classic game, "Who Am I?" In this game, a player thinks of a famous or historical figure (dead, alive, or imaginary). Then, the other players ask yes-or-no questions such as "Are you alive?" or "Were you an athlete?" This continues until someone correctly guesses the name of the famous person.

In another variation, however, you get to be more creative. Instead of yes-or-no questions, players ask questions like, "If you were a city, what city would you be?" or "If you were a restaurant, what restaurant would you be?" The original player answers based on the persona they chose. The questions continue until the other players have enough information to guess the identity of the famous figure.

For example, if you have Sherlock Holmes in mind, you'd likely answer London for the city. When it comes to what restaurant the famous, fictitious sleuth would be, there's no right or wrong answer. You could answer "Speedy's Cafe" or opt for something clever like "Cold Stone Creamery" in reference to his cold, analytical nature. Excitement will build and the questions will continue until someone guesses that you're referring to Sherlock Holmes. The best part about this game? You don't even have to be on the road to play. Play this game on a hike or on a long train journey.

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