[Disclaimer: These games have all been researched and are all totally awesome. That being said, play these at your own risk in a responsible manner. If you're driving a vehicle, please make sure you are doing so with the safety of everyone in your car, and everyone in all the other cars around you, as a top priority.]
There's one universal thing holidays and the summer bring for everyone. Travel. If you're going on vacation or you're going to visit family, you're going to be traveling. Sometimes your trip is five minutes, but sometimes it can be five hours, so Patch just wants to help you prepare.
You should keep this list of games in the back of your head especially—especially—if you're traveling with children. The games themselves are pretty fun and, more importantly, they keep everyone preoccupied. Little Suzy will forget all about the fact that Johnny keeps putting his finger on her side of the car once you get wrapped up in one of these gems.
20 Questions: A classic game for traveling, it requires minimal eye movement and, instead, takes place mostly in your brain. One player thinks up a person place or thing, and the others have 20 chances to ask "Yes" or "No" questions about whatever it might be in the hopes of slimming down the pool of candidates to one thing, which everyone then guesses.
Botticelli is a game similar to 20 questions, but slightly more complex and involved as the person who comes up with the famous person attempts to embody their choice and can give hints that are confusing or play on words.
Alphabet Game: A personal favorite, the Alphabet Game is something you can play even by yourself as a distraction from the monotonous stretches. All you have to do is take a look around the road and, starting with "A" and working your way to "Z," find something written starting with each letter of the alphabet in sequential order (If you see a zebra, regardless of how cool that would be to see in the wild in North America, you could not use it for Z. Has to be written on something.) License plates must start with the letter—Cxr-Mu4 would count as a "C" word—but any old word on the side of a truck or billboard can be used as long as the word starts with the letter that player is currently on.
For multiple players, the same object can not be used twice by the same player for multiple letters or by any other player at all. "One word per item, one time use only," as it were. K, Q and the back end of the alphabet can be great equalizers, so for those who fall behind, don't give up.
Alphabet Trip: Building off the alphabet theme, this game is another favorite. Starting with the letter "A," everyone takes a turn adding something to the list of what they'll be taking on a trip. The next player adds something that begins with the next sequential letter of the alphabet, but must also repeat all the previous items from the list.
So a turn would sound something like, "I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing Eskimo shoes, a Duck, a Canteen, a Battery and an Apple." If the player fails to remember the entire list or adds an item to the list on their turn that is our of order, they are out, and the game continues until there is one player left. Should more than one player make it to "Z," players should continue to add things to the same list, looping back to "A" again.
Double Feature: In this game, one player is giving everyone a mash-up of two different movie synopses. The movie titles will play off the last word of one and the first word of the other (similar to Wheel of Fortune's Before & After). The players must then all guess what the movie could be.
An example is: "I was a billionaire scientist who gets kidnapped by terrorists but escapes using an armored suit I built myself, before moving to South America to work in the private sector, where I was put in charge of the safety of a little girl who also gets kidnapped by terrorists."
Here We Have...: In this game, one player is a tour guide, giving an outrageous account of the history of everything they are driving past. They have to be as insane but straight-faced as possible. The first person to laugh loses and has to take over as tour guide.
I Spy With My Little Eye: You aren't a true American if you've never played this game, but the quick rundown is everyone in the car takes turns saying "I spy with my little eye something that is [blue.]" and all the others would take turns guessing all the blue things they could see until someone guesses what you were looking at [which was not the sky, as I'm sure all the amateurs guessed, but that little dongle hanging from that girl's rear-view mirror two cars over.]
Questions Only: This is a fun game that was popularized by the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway in which two players attempt to communicate back and forth in a somewhat normal manner while only speaking in questions.
"What's going on, man?"
"Why do you care?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Where are we going again?"
The first who can't think of a response in question form loses.
The Quiet Game: This is a great game until the kids get old enough to figure out what's going on. Just see who can stay quietest for the longest.
What Word is This?: This is a neat game in which the driver chooses a license plate at random and says (just the) letters out loud. Everyone in the car must then try to think of a word that uses those letters in that exact order. the winner is the party who manages to do so first. For passengers, a pad and pen can be useful, but purists will laugh at you for it and, in some circles, you will be disowned.
Who Can Hold Their Breath [Through This Red Light]/[Until The Other Side of The Tunnel]/[Until We See a Blue Car]?: Just hold your breath until you achieve certain arbitrary milestones. (Remember, if you're going to cheat, you can't just puff your cheeks and breathe through your nose. You've got to act like it's getting really tough or everyone will catch on.) It's a nice trick for a few moments of silence from those in the car if they're too old for The Quiet Game.
Double Feature Answer: [Iron (Man] on Fire).
Editor's note: This article originally was posted at 5:45 a.m. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.