DIY travel games: Fun road trip activities

Hannah's DIY travel games kit, tucked inside a clear plastic pouch.

You gotta love a good road trip: friends and family piled in the car, eating food that has no calories (because road snacks just don’t, right?), stopping at intriguing roadside attractions, and figuring out fun travel games to keep your brains busy for hours on end. 

Designer Hannah C. is happiest in the driver’s seat (“Because the driver gets to pick the music. Always.”), so it makes sense that she’d come up with these fun travel games.

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“I love road trips and driving,” Hannah said. “Our country is enormous and so much of it is driveable. And the car is this great space to get to know people. I want people to remember the moments they have with each other while they’re on the road.

“I’m the youngest child in my family by four years—a lot of my one-on-one time with Mom was in the car.

“Now I have two nieces and two nephews. They’re young enough that they don’t fly places. So in the car, they’re glued to a portable DVD player or digital games. I wanted to come up with something more interesting for them.”

The suggested content of Hannah's DIY Travel Games kit, including free printables, dot stickers, Washi tape, pencils, a small journal, a stuffed animal, a glue stick and an instant camera.

What you'll need to make Hannah's Travel Kit  

Landmark bingo cards with sheets of dot stickers and a pair of scissors lying nearby.

How to play Landmark Bingo  

“The license plate game—looking for and keeping track of all 50 states—was always one of my favorites…and the alphabet game, where you look for letters on license plates or billboards. It seems simple until you get to J and K, then it gets real dicey. This is another way.”

Print out the bingo cards and keep an eye out for each item; when you see one, add a sticker. The first player to mark off a column wins and shouts “BINGO!” Whoever’s riding shotgun can make the rules and call new patterns: diagonals, blocks, corners, etc. In case of a dispute, driver calls it—after all, they should be paying the closest attention to the road, right?

A DIY travel journal, opened to the first page and surrounded by golf pencils.

How to make a travel journal  

“I include a travel journal with prompts to take photos in the car or at landmarks,” Hannah said. “You can do it on a trip to Grandma’s—it doesn’t have to be this big epic thing.”

Just slap the label on the front of your notebook and start making memories.

“I created instant photo prompts because I wanted a keepsake, but I wanted to keep it simple: You can’t edit or overthink instant camera photos. They feel a little more real and in the moment.”

Cut them out, take pictures and use washi tape and glue sticks to put them on the pages.

Pro tip: Turn journals into travel games by treating the list of prompts like a scavenger hunt and seeing who captures the most.

A travel journal with instant photos taped inside, with a packet of other travel games nearby.

How to pick a photo buddy  

“I included little stuffed animal ‘avatars,'” Hannah said. “You pick your animal for the trip: That’s your mascot, and you take photos with your mascot. It’s kind of like ‘Flat Stanley.'”

There are so. Many. Options. To keep things portable, we like something small. Kiddos could take a favorite Hallmark itty bitty, stuffed animal, doll or action figure—or make their own travel companion.

Are you road-tripping anywhere this summer? We’d love to hear your favorite travel games. Share stuff with us on Instagram @HallmarkStores.