Long road trips, whether they're with family, friends, or in a carpool of strangers, can become tedious, especially if the group of people in the car is fairly diverse. More often than not, you and your traveling companions will have different tastes in music, different opinions about radio usage and volume, and different conversation interests. Other problems can add to these. For example, the others may feel talkative at times when you would rather watch the scenery, and vice versa. After only a few hours on the road, these scenarios can become irritating for even the most calm and level-headed travelers.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
In order to make road trips more painless for all involved, it's a good idea for car travelers to remain sympathetic to one another. Remember that the other people in the car, whether they're siblings, parents, or friends, are probably just as irritated by the situation as you are, and unless everyone makes a concerted effort to maintain a positive attitude, the atmosphere in the car could deteriorate rapidly, making the problem worse. One great way to keep everyone on the same page and in a decent mood is to play games in the car. Road trip games are one of the hallmarks of long driving tours, but in the age of portable technology many people may be unaware of some of the classics.
Benefits of Road Trip Games
Next time you're on a road trip, try putting away the smart phone for a few minutes and engaging in some friendly competition with your partners in travel. Not only does this make the timepass more quickly, it's polite to the driver, who can't (or, at least, shouldn't) send text messages or surf the internet while behind the wheel. Even if you're content to play video games for hours on end in the passenger seat, remember how important it is to keep the driver happy! A frustrated driver may become an aggressive or distracted driver, and suddenly the safety of everyone in the car is at stake.
The Celebrity Game
When choosing a game to play in the car, pick something that everyone can participate in. Trivia games or "Twenty Questions" style games may be fun for certain people, but could exclude kids and others who have difficulty with that style of thinking. One game that the whole family can enjoy is called The Celebrity Game. The rules of the game are as follows: someone starts by thinking of the name of a celebrity. The celebrity can be fictional or real, living or dead. As an example, the first person might say, "George Washington." Moving counterclockwise, the next person must now name a celebrity whose first name begins with W, the previous celebrity's last initial. So, the person could say, "Willy Wonka." The game proceeds in that manner, each person thinking of someone whose first name starts with the first letter of the previous celebrity's last name. The beauty of this game is that there are no winners or losers. Everyone can participate, and it can go on for as long as the players can stand it.
The Alphabet Game
The Alphabet Game is another road trip favorite that does have an end and, usually, a clear winner. Each person in the car has to look at signs outside the car for letters of the alphabet, from A to Z. Any sign is valid, including license plates, as long as it's not inside the players' car. Once a player has claimed a sign, no other player can use a letter from the same sign. For example, if Traveler A sees a sign that says "Gas," she could claim the A from the sign by saying it aloud. No other player could use the letters from that sign. The first player to reach Z by pointing out letters on signs is the winner. This game is most fun on long, empty stretches of highway, where signs are few and far between, but it can be more energetic and chaotic if played in towns and cities.