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Travel Games

By Steve Gillman

One of my favorite travel games is chess. Okay, it's just one of my favorite games, and I have three-ounce set with a cloth board, so I can take it anywhere. The last time I used it was in the town center of a small pueblo in the Andes Mountains. The games below are primarily car travel games, but can be adapted to other forms of travel too. Have fun!

Educational Travel Games

Some games get you thinking, learning something, or at least showing off what you know. Here's one for the family. Have the driver, or another designated host, asks questions like "What temperature does water boil at?" or "What's the Capital of Columbia?" or "With sales tax of 7.6%, what's the total cost of a $23 sweater?" For the kids to love this one, you may have to pay twenty-five cents for each right answer.

Another car travel game starts with someone looking out the window and randomly selecting an object. Players then try to imagine a creative way to make money with it. Old barns become places to advertise, cows are rented out for kids parties, and an house that is being moved becomes a traveling discotheque.

"Red Car" Travel Games

Guess how many red cars will pass in the next ten miles or ten minutes. It can also be blue cars, trucks, or whatever everyone agrees to. It's considered bad form for the driver to slow down, letting more cars pass, so his guess will be the closest.

One classic travel game involves the alphabet. Try to spot something starting with an "a", and be the first to call it out ("apple tree!"). Since the Qs and Xes are difficult, they can be skipped. The player with the most "firsts," is the winner.

Using the radio, you can have a game in which everyone tries to be the first to call out the name of the artist when a song starts. Then change the station, so you don't have to wait through a whole song to continue the contest. In one car radio game, each player chooses a word. The player whose word is spoken (or sung) first on the radio is the winner.

Here is one you can play anywhere. Someone starts a story with a sentence or two, then each person in turn adds a line to the story. It can get personal, but this usually creates a story that has everyone laughing.

Try one of these on your next trip, especially if you have a car full of kids. They are easy, and unlike my chess game, you don't need anything but a few people to play these travel games.

About The Author

Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled the U.S. and Mexico alone at 17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. For travel stories, tips and a free e-book, visit:


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