Make planes, trains, and automobile travel less tiresome with 4 smart ways to keep the whole family entertained.

By Sarah Engler
Updated April 25, 2013
James Baigrie

Trivia Free-for-All

Elizabeth Foy Larsen, a mom of three and a coauthor of Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun ($15,, packs a box of Trivial Pursuit cards: Each passenger takes turns reading questions, and anyone can shout out an answer. “A lot of those questions are much too hard for me, even,” she says. “But part of the fun is wildly guessing the answers. And this always winds up spurring larger discussions.”

The Mundane Game

Larsen’s family often challenges one another to see who can recall the most details about something they did during the day. “For instance, after lunch we’ll ask if anyone remembers the name of our waitress or the special of the day,” she says. “It prompts kids to have their antennas more finely tuned during these new experiences.”

Counting Cars

An oldie but goody. Have kids find license plates from as many states as possible. Print out a U.S. map so they can cross off states and see how far the cars have come. (Find a nice big one at “One time my children got so into this game that they wanted to stop at every huge parking lot we passed to get more plates,” says Larsen.

Duty Roster

Sick of hearing “Are we there yet?” Give everyone a job: Let an older kid be the navigator, manning the GPS or the atlas. Kelleher often gives one of her kids the title of “banker” and lets him decide where the family can eat or the souvenirs to consider based on the day’s budget.

Young Pioneers

For a checklist of kids' roadtrip essentials, go to then see our favorite road trip ideas.