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Fun Travel Games to Help Pass the Time

People love to travel. There's something about escaping from day-to-day routines and exploring unfamiliar destinations that energize us. As the world eases back toward normalcy, people are looking forward to hitting the road again. Getting from point A to point B can get a little monotonous sometimes, especially if there are younger travelers aboard. Keeping your traveling crew entertained can make the trip much more enjoyable, and there's no better way than having fun with some classic road games.

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01License plate game

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An oldie but a goodie, the license plate game has been keeping road warriors entertained for generations. The goal is to try and spot license plates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. You'll find free alphabetized lists online that you can print up beforehand to help players keep track of their progress. Or, for those who can't imagine turning off their electronic devices, you'll find a selection of free license plate game apps to download.

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02I spy

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Keep things classic by introducing your travel companions to the "I spy" game. Not only does it work for car trips, but also aboard planes or trains. Each person starts by saying, "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with …" and they name the first letter of the object they're describing, while others try to guess what they're looking at. Create your own rules to accommodate different age groups.

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03Twenty questions

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This game is a fun way to pass the time, whether you're on the road, in an airport, waiting for food in a restaurant, or hanging out in your hotel room. It works best for a group of between two and five people. Choose someone in the group to be "it" first. That person will think about a living, deceased, or fictional person, a place, or a thing. Each player asks one yes or no question to try and guess what the "it" person is thinking until the group has asked 20 questions.

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04Road-trip bingo

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Travel bingo is a fun game for all ages. You can create your own bingo boards, download them from a website, print them up, or buy them at most big-box stores. Players try to match up pictures on the board with the passing landscape. The first person who finds all the items on their board wins.

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05The name game

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This versatile game works best for players ages four and up. Each person says a name, but they must do so within three seconds, or you can designate time a specified number of claps. If someone fails to think of a name within the allotted time, they're out. Consider allowing more time for younger kids, giving them "misses" to make it more fun. You can also substitute the name of colors, places, songs, movies, cities, or any other category you can think of.

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06Name that tune

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One of the most popular television game shows ever, "Name That Tune," originally aired in 1952. It was a hit in the 1970s and 1980s and had a revival in 2021. For travelers who love music, this is the road trip game for you. Thanks to technology and streaming services, you'll have an endless selection of songs, genres, decades, or categories to choose from. One person controls the music, playing about five seconds of a song. The rest of the group tries to guess the name of the song. Consider adding Disney tunes to make things more competitive for younger players, but this game is fun for all ages.

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07Name the music artist

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This twist on the "Name That Tune" game is fun for older tweens, teens, and adults. One person starts by calling out an artist, such as "Billie Eilish." Each player in turn names a song that the artist performed, but most do so within a predetermined allotment of time. Another alternative to this game is to name a music artist or celebrity, and the next player must name a different artist whose name starts with the last letter of the celeb's name.

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08The backward sentence game

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Be ready for some laughs with this one! The first player says a sentence out loud. Then, each player, in turn, must repeat the sentence backward within the time allowed, usually a two-minute round. Each correct attempt earns the player a point. The player with the most points wins bragging rights.

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09The sorry I'm late movie guessing game

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For travelers who are also film connoisseurs, this game will keep you guessing for hours. The first player begins with the statement, "Sorry I'm late," and finishes the sentence with a hint, a scene or line from a movie, such as, "but I had an offer I couldn't refuse." Movie buffs will recognize that line from The Godfather, of course. The other players will try and guess what movie the hint comes from. Whoever has the most correct guesses wins.

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10The accents game

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Over the last year or so, many of us have become quite familiar with a wide range of shows, movies, and characters appearing on an array of streaming services. Who among us hasn't tried to mimic Alexis' "Ew, David" line from Schitt's Creek? Accents and taglines are fun, and most of us will admit that we've either conquered some from our favorite shows — at least tried to. For this game, one person uses their best impression of a character, and the rest of the group tries to figure out who it is. Consider bonus points if someone correctly guesses what show it came from.

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