It’s time for a vacation! You’ve been planning it all year long. The trip to the beach, Disneyland, the mountains or Grandma’s. Vacations are great for family bonding but too much time in a vehicle can leave everyone ready to pull their hair out.
“Are we there yet”, “I’m hungry”, “are we there yet”, “I need to use the bathroom”, “are we there yet”. Don’t forget the traffic jams or the shortcut that adds two extra hours to the drive. Even air travel can seem to last forever especially when there is a layover.
Experienced travelers know to plan ahead for the travel time not just the time spent at the destination. In today’s world there are many travel games available. Go the the local store and you can find plenty of electronic games and gadgets that can mesmerize a child such as a Nintendo ds, portable DVD player, hand held games, etc. You can even buy travel size board games of scrabble, backgammon and more.
However, some of the best travel games don’t cost a penny and are fun for both kids and adults. An eight hour ride or more, even if not traveling with kids, can be boring and stressful. Below are five great ways to enjoy the journey that have passed the test of time and don’t cost a thing.
The traveling alphabet game
There are many variations to this, choose the best one for all participants. As suggested by the name the goal is to make your way from A to Z. You can play utilizing signs and billboards or another variation uses license plates. If using signs you need to decide if the letter you are searching for must be the first letter in a word or can be found any where in the word. For example if you are looking for the letter “E” and it must be the first letter you should look for “exit” or “Exxon”. My family used to use the first letter of the word except for certain letters such as “Q”. If you are playing with younger children or are in an area where there are not as many signs you may want to allow the letter to be any where in the word. Also once the word on the sign is used no one else can use it. If the word is on a different sign it can be used again or someone can use a different word on the same sign but they can’t use the exact sign and word combination that has already been called.
The License Plate Game
For this game you will need a piece of paper and a pen. To make it more interesting and a learning experience grab a dictionary, history or geography book. If traveling in the United States try to find a car with a license plate from every state. If you bring a book with you every time a new state is found look that state up and write something about the state down. The person who has found the most states by the end of trip wins.
Name That Tune
Hum or sing certain words to your favorite songs. The person who identifies the most songs wins. Another variation is to flip through the radio channels and the first person to guess the song playing gets a point. You can set your own winning threshold. If you love music but can’t hum just try a song naming game. Someone will start by naming their favorite song and then the next person must come up with another song that starts with the last letter the previous song ended with. For example, The first person says “Frosty the Snowman”. The next person would need to name a song that begins with “N “. If someone can not name a song or person they are out of the game. The last person remaining wins.
You can do a little research before you leave or just choose items that can typically be found anywhere. Prepare a list for each person traveling and the first person to find all items or the person who has found the most items by the end of trip wins. Be sure to have items on your list for all areas of your trip. For example, you could have items such as caution lights, stop signs, schools, etc for metropolitan areas and cows, ponds, a red flower, etc for rural areas.
I Spy (or I’m thinking of)
I’m sure everyone at some point has played I spy. Look around in your vehicle and find an item. Begin by saying “I spy with my little eye” and then give a hint about the item you are looking at. The hint can be the color, size, etc. Keep giving hints until someone guesses it. Another variation that my family likes is I’m thinking of. We use this when in the car since there are not many items in the car. We will describe something from our house such as our cat or dog.