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How to Have an Old School Road Trip

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I love hearing the stories of how our founder Susan Merrill would make her kids’ family road trips so much fun. It was the time before screens in the car, earbuds attached to heads, and phones in hands and Susan still managed to keep things entertaining with awesome road trip games.

You can have an old school road trip this summer. Start small with an hour or two in the car. Let your kids know that you have something different for them to try and that it’s only for 60 minutes. Then, use these road trip ideas when you hit the highway.

Play Classic Road Trip Gamesroad trip bingo printable

We’ve got you covered! Here are printables for the license plate game, road trip bingo, and road trip iSpy. If you forget your printables, try the alphabet game. Starting with A, find a billboard or roadway sign that starts with A. Say it out loud and then move through the alphabet. Each word can only be used for one letter by one person. Words on cars or trucks don’t count. Good luck when you get to X and Z. You’ll crave just one pizza restaurant sign to put you over for the win.

And try Susan’s road trip fun bags. She would fill a prize bag with dollar store goodies and let the kids choose a reward for things like bathroom breaks that went smoothly and quickly (we all know the feeling of adding 20 minutes to a drive because of rest stop inefficiency!), being kind to a sibling, and going an hour without asking how much longer until we get there! She also draped a long piece of felt or a ribbon on the back of the front seats for each child. Then, when they played car games, the winner would get to choose a sticker or pin for their ribbon, which made it even more exciting. Everything was designed to eat up time on the road trip. Oh, stickers or pins could be taken away too and were also given every 15 minutes when the kids behaved.

Map Your Progress

Buy or print a map and let your kids mark out the route for your trip. You can also get TripTiks from AAA. Go to a AAA office and a trip planner will give you a book of your journey mapped out that your kids can flip through as you cover the miles. To make things even more interesting, leave the main highways once in a while. It’s fun to see the real towns off the beaten path. Do your homework ahead of time to see which detours are worth it.

Or print one of our Kid-Approved City Travel Guides for Nashville, NYC, and Philly and map your way as you explore one of our favorite cities. In each guide, you will find our staff picks for fun family-friendly things to do.

Camp Along the Way

To make your road trip more exciting camp out! Our friends at All Pro Dad have five great reasons to take your family camping, And here are a few activities to make your camping adventure the best ever.

What city would you visit on a family road trip?


If you could take any five people on vacation with you, who would you choose?

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