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Rent a Car or Ride a Train?

train

To rent a car or ride a train? This can be a debate of anyone planning a trip, especially if you are planning on traveling to Europe. Many people think trains are the easier and quicker option, but this is not always the case. On the other hand, renting a car can seem like a waste of money if you don’t plan on leaving the city you are staying in. To decide what is best for you, consider the following factors:

  • How many people are you traveling with?
  • How far do you want to travel?
  • Where do you leave your belongings?
  • Which method is quicker?
  • What kind of schedule do you want?

How Many People Are You Traveling With?

This can be a huge factor in deciding if you want to travel by train or car because of the cost. Trains can be an affordable option for individuals or small groups of people, but the more train tickets you have to buy means the more expensive a train ride will cost. On the other hand, renting a car may be cheaper for large groups as there is one, flat cost. Compare costs and see what works best for you and your group.

top view of zigzag country road
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How Far Do You Want To Travel?

Are you planning on going to one or two main cities, or traveling around a bit more? This may play a part in your cost. One train ticket may be cheaper than renting a car for your whole trip. However, if you are going to several cities, one rental car may be a more affordable choice.

several bags on trolley near train in station
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Where Do You Leave Your Belongings?

Would you rather sleep in a hotel, or on the road? Falling asleep on a train and waking up in a completely new place sounds magical. You get your rest and you can spend a full day in your new destination! One thing you may want to consider about riding trains, especially overnight, is where you will leave your belongings. Showing up in a new town early in the morning is great, except you have to carry around your luggage until your hotel’s check-in time. The nice thing about a rental car is that you can leave your bags in it and know they are safe, even if you can’t check into your hotel yet.

Which Method Is Quicker?

Trains don’t have traffic like cars do, so a ride with no stops may be a quick, easy ride! However, they can also have several stops and you may have to switch trains over the course of your trip. These stops can add up quickly and make your trip a lot longer than it would have been if you chose to drive. Check out driving time and compare them to train times. It may be worth it to take a longer train ride if you can rest and get some sleep instead of staying up the whole drive – especially if you are driving late at night. 

What Kind of Schedule Do You Want?

Train times are set for you, but with a car you can completely go at your own pace and leave whenever you want. This may or many not matter to you, and that is something only you can decide. If you are only going to travel between two cities, then rolling with train times is reasonable. However, if you are traveling a lot and your plans don’t work with the train times you can find, then renting a car may be better for you. 

Do you prefer traveling by car or by train? What other factors do you consider when making this decision? Let me know in the comments!

Keep Track of Your Research

There is a lot to consider when deciding to rent a car or ride a train. To help you keep track of your research, download my Transportation Guide! It will help you stay organized and gather all the information you need to make your decision. You can use this guide again and again on all of your adventures!

Anna’s Pick of the Week

Should you choose to rent a car, start your search on Hotwire.com to easily compare all of your rental car options! I use Hotwire to start my search because it’s quicker than searching on each individual rental car website.

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Tips for Driving on the Other Side of the Road

Getting a rental car is easy enough, and it makes getting around simple. That is, if the place you’re visiting drives on the same side of the road you are used to. I experienced this myself when my family went to Australia – the first day was filled with close calls and nervous laughter! I want you to feel confident (or at least comfortable) driving on the other side of the road, so I compiled tips we used – and should have used – on our trip. 

  • Turn signal placement. 
  • Staying in the middle of the road
  • Can you turn on a red light? 
  • Which is the “fast lane”?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Turn Signal Placement

Turn signals, blinkers, indicators – whatever word you use for these, you know they’re important. They can be especially important if you are driving on the other side of the road as it lets others know to watch out for you! In the US (where I live), blinkers are on the left side of the steering wheel. This seems to be common in most cars that have the driver on the left side of the road, but be sure to double-check before you start driving. 

In cars where the driver is on the right side of the car, the blinker is typically on the right side as well. This is not always the case, so double check your car. We were not expecting this difference when we got our rental car in Australia and didn’t think to look. When it came time to turn, we repeatedly turned on our windshield wipers instead of our blinkers! It took a little time to get used to. One thing you won’t have to worry about is pedal placement. Every car I have ever been in has the clutch (if applicable) on the left, then the brake, and the gas on the right. 

car riding on highway through autumn forest
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Staying in the Middle of the Road

This may seem simple, but it’s actually kind of difficult when you are used to seeing the road differently. In my case, I kept wanting to get myself on the left side of the lane, which put my passenger in the next lane over! I had to think back to driver’s ed to come up with this helpful tip to keep myself in one lane. When writing these descriptions, I am referring to the lines of the lane you are trying to stay in. 

If your diver is on the left side of the car: 

Keep the left line in the bottom left corner of your windshield. 

If your driver is on the right side of the car:

Keep the right line in the bottom right corner of your windshield. 

That’s it! This one trick made a HUGE difference in my driving, and in my comfort level on the road. If you want to test it out, pay attention to the corner of your windshield while you drive around. You will probably find the line of your lane hits that corner!

light city road traffic
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Can You Turn on a Red Light?

Here in the USA, many states allow you to turn right on a red light as long as there is nobody coming. This is a very convenient law in my opinion, but it is not common. Canada and the USA are two of the only countries in the world that allow you to turn on a red light, and even these countries have some exceptions. There are certain areas where this is not allowed, notably New York and Montréal. If you are used to turning on red, pay attention and try to remember to stop. If you are visiting the USA or Canada are not used to turning on red, be prepared to get honked at!

Which Lane is the “Fast Lane”?

In the USA, most traffic is supposed to stay on the right side of the road and the left side is the passing land (also referred to as the fast lane). As you might expect, countries who drive on the other side of the road have this same rule – but reversed. Most traffic should stay on the left side of the read and the right side is the passing lane. This is a pretty simple change when you think about it, but when you are driving habits tend to take over and you might get confused. When in doubt, stay away from oncoming traffic. This will keep you in the “slow lane”. 

I hope you learned something from this post and feel more confident about driving on the other side of the road! Now that you have the tips, you need to car! Check out my transportation guide to get you started!

Anna’s Pick of the Week

When going to a new place, I almost always get lost! Using the GPS on my phone is the easiest way to get back on the right track. I take this phone holder on my travels so I can see my directions while keeping my hands on the wheel. It’s so small, why wouldn’t I throw it in my bag?

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Christmas Gifts on Every Traveler’s List!

As a world traveler myself, I know a thing or two about what travelers REALLY want. Some of these Christmas gifts are so handy that I never go on vacation without them! Whether you are shopping for an adventurer, beach bum, or park hopper, you will find the perfect gift here!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Wallet/Phone Holder/Passport Holder

What are three things you need when you travel? Phone, wallet, and passport (if you’re looking to travel abroad). When you’re going through the airport, you need these things hand at ALL TIMES. Why not have one place for all of them? This compact wristlet is perfect! It’s unisex design make it great for everyone, but as a family travel enthusiast it has a special feature I REALLY love. There are 4 passport pouches on the inside, and room for more on the outside! Keeping track of passports can be stressful, especially if you are traveling with kids. Gain some peace of mind by knowing EXACTLY where they are at all times!

2. Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Sleeping on planes, trains, and automobiles can be tricky, but if you’re traveling far it is necessary. Most neck pillows don’t provide me with enough support and I end up with a sore neck. This neck pillow, however, is a game changer! The extra support at the top of the pillow means you don’t have to kink your neck into a funny shape to find a comfortable position. I have also struggled with neck pillows adjusting and wrapping all the way around my neck by the time I wake up. The clasp on the front of this pillow not only makes it easier to pack around, but it secures the pillow so you can sleep comfortably and with little movement. Now that I have one, I won’t step on a plane without it!

3. Herschel Backpack

If you haven’t hear do Herschel before, they are known for making durable, comfortable backpacks. This one is no exception. Specifically designed for travel, this backpack is the perfect Christmas gift for any traveler! The luggage sleeve on the back makes it easy to slide onto your suitcase without worrying about it falling off. It’s also compact enough to fit under any airline seat yet has enough storage for all your on-flight entertainment. At your destination, this backpack is a great size to carry around on your adventures!

4. Luggage Strap

When you’re running through the airport, carrying all of your luggage without it falling everywhere can be challenging. If you don’t have a bag with a luggage sleeve, this bungee cord is a great alternative! Small and easy to pack, this luggage bungee is perfect for any bag! I can’t even tell you how many times I have tried hanging bags on the bar of my luggage and they flop around everywhere. This bungee was a game changer for me, and I’m sure it will be for anyone on your shopping list!

5. Packing Cubes

I have written about packing cubes previously, but I love them so much I had to add them to this list as well! I use these packing cubes every time I travel, and I really can’t imagine packing without them ever again! You can use them to organize clothes by category: shirts, pants, dresses, pajamas, swimsuits, etc. It makes staying organized SO much easier, especially if you change hotels during your trip.

6. Travel Journal

Travel journals are great for documenting details of a trip you really don’t want to forget. Even after an amazing day, I find myself stuck and unsure of what to write when I go to journal. Not only is this journal travel-sized and great quality, but it also provides prompts so you know exactly what to write about every day!

7. Hanging Toiletry Bag

Another great item everyone needs is a hanging toiletry bag. Most people have a bag for toiletries which works fine, but unpacking and packing the bag and creates a mess all over the counter and can get annoying. The hanging toiletry bag lets you keep the counter clean while allowing you to easily see all of your items. This is another gift I can never go without!

8. Portable Luggage Scale

You get to the airport and get ready to check your bags. The fist one goes on the scale and it happens. It’s over the weight limit. Every traveler has been here. Opening up suitcases, switching clothes, holding up the line. It’s embarrassing and SUPER annoying! I always try to weigh my bag ahead of time to avoid this situation, but many hotels don’t have scales. This portable luggage scale is the BEST solution to this common problem! It’s small and easy to pack, which makes it great for anyone planning to check bags. I can’t explain how many times this has saved me from check-in chaos!

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Why Families Need to Travel Together

This topic is what Vacation Smarter is built upon. I focus on affordable vacations because I know money is the reason many families don’t travel. I want to help people see that traveling really CAN be affordable! Why am I so passionate about families traveling? As a teacher, I know travel is beneficial for the education of kids. In this post, I am going to dive into the specific reasons why families need to travel together.

Educational Impact – Gaining Experiences

When you go to look something up online, how do you choose what to search for? Maybe you are looking up a recipe to cook, a product you want to buy, or you could be looking up information to prove someone else wrong. Regardless of what you are searching for, you are interested in it because you have a personal connection to the topic. This idea of building personal connections is the reason why I believe kids need to travel. As they gain more experiences and explore new places, new interests may be sparked within them. This can help students in and out of school.

In school, students who have personal connections to topics are more engaged in learning. As an example, a word problem in a math class I teach focused on people riding air trams. I could tell which students had ridden a tram and which ones had not because those with this personal connection were explaining to classmates what they were and ended up being more engaged in the math problem. The more experiences a student has, the more opportunities they have to build personal connections to content. In math we try to focus word problems on things most students are familiar with, but in history or language arts classes there are some topics that most students don’t have personal connections with. Especially with history, exploring the world will help students become more engaged in class.

Not only do travel experiences help students in the classroom, they also help with social life. As kids gain experiences, they gain talking points. They also have more opportunities to find common experiences with others. We tend to gain friendships with those we have something in common with. The more experiences, the more people kids can build connections with.

Experience Other Cultures

Often times we get so stuck in our own little worlds and we assume everyone has similar experiences. The amazing thing about traveling is the opportunity for eye-opening experiences that challenge the way you view the world. Getting to step into the life of someone else, even for a little while, can build more empathy and understanding in people.

Strengthen Family

Families need to travel for several reasons, but this could be the most important. One of the main things teachers try to do at the beginning of the school year is create a shared experience because it is proven that shared experiences bring people together. Traveling allows families to create many shared experiences which brings everyone closer. I know this is true because I grew up traveling and as a result I have one of the closest families I know of! Siblings are known for fighting, but my sister and I rarely battle. Although traveling is not a magic trick to bringing together broken families, it can create a bond between people like nothing else can.

How to Start Traveling

When people think of travel, they think of going to different countries across the world. While this is what some people do, it is expensive and going that far from home can be scary. Start by visiting places close to home. Explore the outdoors, explore a museum, or just drive for a while and see where you end up. The best part about traveling is making memories, which is something you can do anywhere! Go for a weekend road trip, and build up to somewhere farther away.

What are you waiting for? Get started!

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10 Things to Keep You Organized on Vacation

I have been on vacations where I jump from one hotel to the next, constantly packing and unpacking. Things get lost in the shuffle, or I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for because my bags are a mess. This can be stressful and may even be the reason some choose not to travel. Fear not! I have a list of 10 things I personally use to keep myself organized on vacation, and I’m sure they can help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Packing Cubes

I have used these packing cubes for about three trips now and I don’t know how I ever traveled without them! These cubes make it easy to pack before vacation and stay organized during! I typically use one for pants, one for shirts, one for pajamas and swimwear, and one for everything else. I only allow myself to pack as much as I can fit in the cubes, and nothing more. It has been a great way to limit myself and stop myself from over packing. During vacation, I just open up the cube I want, take my item out, zip it back up, and I’m done! No need to completely unpack, and therefore no need to re-pack!

2. Compact Laundry Bag

This laundry bag folds up into a built-in compartment half the size of your average cell phone. It’s easy to throw in your suitcase and provides an organized way to store your dirty clothes. If you plan on doing laundry during your trip, this is much easier to bring to the laundromat than a suitcase. Even when I don’t plan on doing laundry, this bag keeps me organized on vacation by keeping my clean and dirty clothes separate. Every traveler needs one of these.

3. Hanging Toiletries Bag

This bag is really a time saver. I organize the sections in a way that makes sense to me, then fold it up and throw it in my suitcase. When I get to my destination, I simply unfold it and hang it on a towel rack! Just like the packing cubes, I never really need to unpack with this toiletry bag. I use what I need, and put it back in the pocket I got it from. It really comes in handy when you are staying at a hotel with little or no counter space in the bathroom.

4. Jewelry Organizer

Ok, so this is not actually a jewelry organizer, but it gets the job done! This pill organizer is small and helps me keep my necklaces separate so they don’t get tangled. I also use it for small earnings. I put this and my larger jewelry into a compartment of the hanging toiletry bag so it’s all together.

5. Silicone Toiletry Jars

I use face wash and moisturizer that is too thick to be squeezed out of a normal travel-sized tube. These small jars are a much better alternative fore me. Although I still use typical travel tubes as well, these have made taking and using thicker products easier. Being made of silicone makes them easy to clean and I never worry about them breaking or spilling.

6. Backpack for Plane and Adventures

This backpack is comfy and not too big. This is the perfect size for an airplane carry-on and it has a built-in dry pack for adventures at your destination! The padding along the back makes it easy to wear all day if you need to. I use this bag regularly now, not just on travels. Any time I go hiking or kayaking I make sure to bring this backpack because it is sturdy and I know the dry bag works really well.

7. Small Travel Bag

Wherever you go, you need some sort of bag to carry necessities. Pickpockets can be a concern in many places, so I recommend wearing a cross-body bag as it is more difficult to take off. I have also worn these bags under my clothes so someone could not cut off the strap and take it. I used this kind of bag in both India and France, and it was perfect! The larger bag (though still small) can fit everything you need for a typical day. The main pocket also folds over and has a zipper on the end for added security. The smaller bag is really just a wallet when you open it. It has pockets for a phone, passport, cards, and money which is perfect if you ant to stay organized on vacation. If that is all you need, this bag is for you!

8. Thin Wallet

With a small purse comes a small wallet. I only bring the essentials: ID, debit card, a credit card, cash (both my currency and the currency of my destination), and a passport (if needed). I keep this wallet in a secure part of the travel purse, preferably in a pocket deeper in the purse or in a zipper pocket. Keeping everything together in this wallet helps me stay organized and sure that I have not lost anything important. At the airport I keep this in hand as it also spots for a phone and boarding tickets.

9. Backpack Organizer

During my last flight I was frustrated with how difficult it was to find anything in my backpack! I just found this backpack organizer which I got to help solve this problem the next time I travel. While I have not used it yet, I have high hopes! It also flattens and expands which makes it easy to store. Honestly, I am really excited about the water bottle holder on the inside. Maybe it’s just me being clumsy, but when I use the outside bottle holders on backpacks they always seem to tip over and fall out. I’m excited that this holder will keep bottles upright so I can put them in my backpack without worrying about spilling.

10. Hanging Clothes Organizer

This clothing organizer is great for a shorter trip or business trip. This clothes organizer fits perfectly into a carry-on suitcase and hangs in any closet. The downside of this organizer is the space it takes up. I personally couldn’t fit enough for more than a long weekend.

Anna’s Pick of the Week:

This may not help keep you organized on vacation and it looks goofy, but hear me out! Last year I went to Australia and it took over 24 hours to get there. My mom had bought this for me and I thought I would never use it but threw it in my carry on anyway because it’s small. This was honestly the BEST thing to help me sleep on the airplane! I put the tray table down, blew this up, and I was out! It’s shockingly comfortable and allowed me to rest my head without worrying I would end up on a stranger’s shoulder.

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How to Plan a Trip Anywhere

Beginning the process of planning a trip can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time. As an experienced traveler, I have come up with a trip-planning routine that has worked for every destination I have been to. Here is the outline to plan a trip anywhere:

  1. Pick a location.
  2. Determine the length of your stay.
  3. Find out what you want to do there.
  4. Plan a route.
  5. Decide method of transportation.
  6. Plan hotels.
  7. Book any experiences you can ahead of time.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

1 – Pick a Location

This may seem so obvious that I should not have included this step on the guide at all but determining EXACTLY where you want to go is key to trip planning. You want to go to France? Great! But where in France? What town or city do you want to visit? Do you want to visit more than one town? Are you going to spend a say or two in a neighboring country? Write down every country, state, town, or city you want to visit. When I say pick A location, I really mean pick ALL the locations you want to go to.

2 – Determine the Length of Your Stay

When you are thinking about the length of your stay, you often think about how many days you want to be in the location. You should also consider the travel time going to and from your destination, especially if anyone you are traveling with has a limited number of vacation days available. At this point in the planning process, begin looking at flights. Sometimes flights may determine which days you can arrive or leave as there may not be ones on the exact day you are hoping for. Remember there is likely going to be a time change, so keep that in mind when looking at departure and arrival times. This difference may also alter the dates you had in mind. I would not recommend booking flights yet, but keep looking at them as times and dates change regularly.

3 – Find Out What You Want to do There

My family always says we “travel in a pack” because there are at least six of us traveling together. With that many people, it can be difficult to plan a trip and make sure everyone is doing what they want on vacation. With this big of a group, we have everyone pick the top one or two things they really want to do while we are gone. If you have a smaller group or are traveling alone, you can obviously pick more things to do. This part of planning takes some research. Go pick up a book on the destination, watch videos, and read blog posts to learn about all the things you can do there. Once you have an idea of what everyone wants to do, mark some “must do” items that you can’t miss while you are gone!

4 – Plan a Route

Now you have a list of what you want to do and where you want to go. I recommend organizing the things you want to do by location (country, city, etc.). What things are near each other that you could do in one day? Once you have the activities grouped by location, plan a route. Which city are you staying in first? Second? Third? How many nights are you going to stay in each city? The more activities you want to do in a location, the longer you want to stay there.

Also consider activities you want to do that are only open or available on certain days. Want to go on a snorkeling tour, but the tours are only on the weekends? Make sure you are at that location on the weekend. I even go as far as to plan which “big activities” I want to do each day. If you are doing something such as a snorkeling tour that can change plans due to weather, you may want to plan for an extra day there. This exact scenario happened to me on my most recent vacation. Our snorkeling tour was postponed a day due to bad weather, and we were so thankful we thought to book an extra day.

5 – Plan a Method of Transportation

If you are staying in one place your entire trip, I recommend thinking about how you will get to and from the airport. I would also consider how far away from your hotel you plan on going to determine if renting a car is necessary or if you can get by with public transportation. If you are staying in multiple cities, think about how you are getting to each place. Car? Train? Plane? Bus? Look up the prices and times for each of these options. Some options may be quicker than others, but likely more expensive as well. In some places (countries that drive on the opposite side of the road or places know for crazy traffic) you may want to consider hiring a driver. Your method of transportation may alter your planned route, so go back and make necessary adjustments.

6 – Plan Hotels

When considering where to stay, you have a lot of different options. Commonly people stay in hotels, but Air BNB and other rentals have become increasingly popular. These rentals are especially nice for larger parties and people who want a more authentic cultural experience. Want a unique place to stay? Check out my other post: Places to Stay on Vacation Besides a Hotel. You have so many options, so do your research! I always check online reviews – good and bad – before booking anything.

7 – Book Any Experiences You Can Ahead of Time

Now that you have your plan nailed down, you can start booking those “big activities” you don’t want to miss! Some tours and attractions sell out months in advance, so pay attention to availability and make sure you get a spot. Keeping a 3-ring folder with fasteners for the vacation is a must. I print out my airline tickets, hotel confirmations, car rental confirmations, train tickets, and tickets for any activity I book in advance and hole-punch them and put them in this folder. To be even more organized, put things in the order you will need them. This folder keeps everything I need in one place and makes me confident I won’t lose any important documents.

I hope this guide helps you plan your next vacation! Keep in mind this guide is not linear. This is the order I being planning things but I always have to go back and make adjustments as I find out flight schedules, tour times, etc. What would you add to this guide? Let me know in the comments!

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Places to Stay on Vacation Besides a Hotel

Yes, hotels are everywhere and super easy to book. However, they are also the same just about everywhere. You can stay at a hotel chain anywhere in the world and the rooms and experiences would be just about the same. I would rather stay somewhere that felt unique and represented the culture. Every location is different, but I have a few suggestions on places to stay besides a typical hotel room.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Boat

Have you ever thought about renting a night on a boat? Neither had I until I stayed on a boat in Sydney Harbor! This is possibly one of the most unique places to stay while taveling. We did not have keys to drive the boat (which was fine with us as we never intended on driving it). We simply rented it out just like any other hotel room or Air BNB and it acted as our room for two nights. I get very seasick so I was a bit worried about getting sick while on the boat, but that was not a problem at all. Being on a dock where boats have to travel slow kept the waves to a minimum.

Camping

If you really want to dive into the natural beauty of the landscape you’re visiting, there is no better way than to camp. Whether you are tent camping or renting a camper, you are sure to experience what makes your destination unique.

Haridwar, India

Cabin

If you want the outdoor feel without the commitment of packing around camping gear, renting a cabin is a great option. I have rented a cabin in the jungle of India and in the Australian outback, both of which gave me a new perspective on the destination. The sturdiness of a cabin can also make some feel safer if you are staying in an area with a lot of wild animals.

Other location-specific options

Depending on where you go, boat houses, tree houses, igloos, or even underwater hotels are amazing places to stay for an experience you will never forget! Get creative, and do some research about the different options available to you. If you are so lucky to have friends around the world, staying with then can give you a true cultural experience. I previously stayed with a friend in Chile, and it is an experience I will never forget.

Which of these options would you like to try out? Let me know in the comments!

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The Best Road Trip Games

With everything going on in the world right now, traveling to far-off destinations is not as feasible as it typically is. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably itching to go somewhere. What option do you have? Go on a road trip! I have collected some of the best road trip games you can play with a group of people. They are split into three categories (by “equipment”, I mean a phone or paper and pencil):

Games without equipment

Games with equipment

On-going games

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Games Without Equipment

Alphabet Sign Game

I play this game every time I go on a road trip, and it can get pretty competitive! Everyone starts at the beginning of the alphabet at the letter A, and has to search outside of the car for a word that starts with the letter A. We also allow people to use letters on license plates, even if it’s not the first letter on the plate (you can choose to not allow license plates if you want). When someone sees a word, they shout it out and nobody else can use that same word for their letter. When you successfully call out a word, you move on to the next letter of the alphabet. The first person to go all the way through and find a word that starts with Z wins! This can be challenging with less common letters which is what makes to game so competitive. The last time I played the two of us were both stuck on the letter X. I called out a sign that said “Xing Road” before the other player, which led to my victory!

One Word Story

This game is great for people who enjoy being creative! The game goes around in a circle, so determine which order people will play. The first person says one word, then the next person says a word, and so on. The goal is to create a story by having everyone say one word at a time. The stories often go in an unexpected direction which requires everyone to think on their feet! This game can go as long as you’d like it to.

Alphabet Categories

This alphabet games combines aspects of the previous two games. Just like in “One Word Story”, the game is played by going around in a circle. Someone comes up with a category sign as “fruit”, “cities”, or “animals”. The first person has letter A, so they need to come up with something in the given category that starts with the letter A. The next person has letter B, the following person has letter C, and so on. If someone gets stuck, everyone in the car can brainstorm to come up with an answer. The more specific the category, the harder the game! This game doesn’t have a specific winner, it’s just for fun!

Would You Rather

This is a classic game people often use to get to know each other better. Someone comes up with a question that starts with “would you rather…” and gives two options. For example: “would you rather go skydiving or bungee jumping?”. Everyone in the car gives an answer, including the person who asked the question. Everyone takes turns asking questions. This is another game without a winner, and it can be as long or as short as you would like.

Games With Equipment

Guess the Song/Artist

This game requires a phone, or something to play music on. The assigned DJ does not play the game and serves as a judge for the rest of the group. The DJ plays a song and the rest of the players race to give the song’s title or artist the fastest. It should be predetermined whether the game focuses on song title or artist. The DJ determines who got the correct answer first, then changes the song and repeats the process. For every answer someone gets correct, they get a point. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins! This game can be played as long as you would like. I recommend setting a number of songs for each round and swapping DJs so everyone gets a chance to play.

Road Trip Bingo

My family got competitive with this game when I was young. Instead of having numbers on the cards, road trip bingo cards have animals, cars, road signs, and anything else you might see on your ride. Just like BINGO, you mark off the item as you see it. You can buy reusable cardboard cards with built-in markers, print out cards, or download the road trip bingo app. You could even make your own cards!

On-Going Games

License Plate Game

This one isn’t so much a “game”, but something fun to pass the time. The goal of this activity is to watch license plates as they go by and keep track of what state the plate is from. On either a piece of paper or your phone, keep track of the states you have seen. We play this to and from our destination and see how many of the 50 states we see on our trip. This is something you can do while other games are going on.

Train

This is a pretty simple game I used to play to and from volleyball tournaments with my teammates. If someone sees a train, they gently punch the ceiling of the car and shout “train”! Everyone else in the car does the same, and the last person to shout “train” has to say “choo-choo” while pulling their arm down as if they are pulling the lever on a trail whistle. You get a point every time you have to say “choo-choo” and the person with the least amount of points wins. This is another game that can be played over the course of the drive while other games are going on.

Slug Bug

This one is a classic, and if you haven’t played it I’m sure you know someone who has. Basically, if you see a Volkswagen bug you are supposed to gently punch the person next to you and shout “slug bug” before the other person does it. The person who gets the most “slug bugs” over the course of the drive wins! It’s a pretty simple game and can be played over the course of the entire trip, even while other games are going on. Other variations include shouting the color of the bug or “banana car” which replaces Volkswagen bugs with yellow cars but has the same idea.

I hope you are able to take a road trip soon and try out some of these games! On road trips, it really is more about the journey than the destination. Living in the USA, I love road tripping through Oregon, Washington, and California. Do you have a favorite road trip game? Let me know what it is in the comments!

Anna’s Pick of the Week

Car BINGO is easier with these BINGO boards. I used these on road trips when I was a kid and I had a lot of fun with them! Keep them in the car and use them over and over again!

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