So you’ve made the brave decision to test out a road trip for the annual family vacation. Once you’ve packed, mapped out the route, filled up the gas tank, and stocked up on snacks, the only challenge that remains is finding a way to keep the kids occupied and hang onto some semblance of your sanity until you reach your hotel. OK, maybe just the first rest stop. Baby steps.
On the best road trips, the fun gets started way before the GPS tells you for the fifth time that “you have reached your destination.” If you’re envisioning being cramped in a car with whining, complaining, and do-not-make-me-pull-over fighting, it does not have to be that way. You will be prepared.
Having entertainment on hand is an essential hack for traveling with kids. There’s always I Spy, and cow counting. And yes, you could just load up an iPad with movies and apps. But somewhere between endless hours of screen staring and the 98th round of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” there is a happy medium. These car games are designed for travel, giving you hours on the road with no messes, no complicated pieces, and most importantly, no boredom.
There are solo games, games for two that stir up some friendly competition—not to be confused with fighting, and games that the whole crew, even the driver, can get in on. For the more competitive group games, it could be fun to pack a surprise bag of small treats to use as prizes.
Below, the best games for kids of every age—and kids at heart—that will make getting there so much more than just a really long drive.