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posted on November 14th, 2016

I spy with my little eye, license plate bingo, naming the states in alphabetical order (that one’s just me? Got it) — we all know the most time-treasured car games. And even though getting behind the wheel is more fun now than it was to be strapped into the backseat being carted to Grandma’s, adults can suffer from road trip inertia on those long hauls too. We’ve rounded up the best ways to kill spend time on your next road trip, whether you’re keeping the little ones entertained or going adults only.

Alphabetical categories

Rather than just pick out letters from street signs, select a category (ice cream flavors, beach cities, car models — sky’s the limit!) and take turns naming an item in the category in alphabetical order. Make it extra specific (80s band members) for a challenge or keep it broad (food) to keep the game moving quickly.

Twenty questions

An oldie but a goodie, this game can be kid friendly or suited to grown-ups only. In case you’ve never taken a road trip before: one person thinks of one specific thing — anything at all — and the other members have twenty yes/no questions to guess what it is. The person who gets it right gets to think of the next item.

Regional snacks

Snacks are half the fun of a good road trip anyway, so why not make them into a game? At each gas station/rest stop/diner, everyone has to collect one snack specific to the region you’re in. When you reach your destination, the person with the most or best snacks win — up to you if you want to make the prize the full collection of snacks gathered (yum).

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Name game

The first player states a famous person, and the next player has to say a famous person whose first name begins with the first letter of the previous person’s last name (example: James Bond, Barry White). If someone says a one-name-only celeb (Oprah, for instance), the direction of the game reverses.

Never have I ever

Most fun with the right group of people, this oft-used drinking game can be just as fun sober. Keep your mind out of the gutter if you’ve got kiddies on board, or let your imagination wander if you’re all over 18. Quick breakdown: one person states something they’ve never done, everyone else lays claim (and tells the story) if they’ve done it, and/or puts down one finger if all parties began with five fingers raised.

Cow game

One last esoteric bonus: if your road trip takes you anywhere remotely farm-related, the cow game is a way to fuel ongoing competition between the left and right sides of the car. It’s simple: when someone on the right side of the car spots cows on the right, they yell “Cows on my side!” and gain a point (likewise for left). If you want to get strategic, someone on the right side who sees cows on the left can try to distract left-sitting riders so they don’t get the cow points.

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Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.