What are Some Great Pencil and Paper Games to Play on a Road Trip?


Avoid hearing “Are we there yet?” on your next long road trip. Even grownups get tired and bored on a lengthy road drive or when stuck in long traffic. Make the trip and the anticipation of arriving at your chosen destination a memorable experience by keeping everyone entertained along the road with lots of jokes and thoughtful discussion to keep you all awake and interested. Pencil and paper games can be a great option when finding ways to pass the time on a road trip. Not only do they keep you entertained, but they also don’t require any complicated materials, just a simple paper, and pencil. Enjoy these enjoyable road trip games to entertain the whole family on your next family vacation.

1. Connect the Dots


Connect the Dot or Dot to Dot is a typical puzzle game for young children. The game’s main objective is to connect a series of numbered dots or points on a sheet of paper. You can give the children a few minutes on a road trip to draw a page of dot squares as a huge box. This will provide players access to two or more grids. Alternatively, you can print out free printable connect-the-dots game sheets before your trip. Each player draws a line, horizontally or vertically, between two dots during their turn. The objective is to fill in as many boxes as you can. Players write their initials inside each square they fill in. The player with the most initialed squares wins when no more boxes are on the board. For younger children, the game can be an enjoyable and instructive approach to advance their visual perception, focus, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor abilities. 

2. Hangman

Hangman board

Hangman is an excellent paper and pencil game to pass the time on long drives or in any other situation is the hangman. The game is designed to be played with two players or more and is simple to learn. Each player must come up with a word. They doodle a series of blank spaces, one for each letter of the word, along the bottom of a piece of paper. The letter accurately predicted by the opposing player is written on the appropriate blank. If the guess is incorrect, they start filling in the hangman in the following order: head, neck, body, two arms, and two legs. Before the body is finished, the guesser wins if they correctly predict the term.

3. Tic-Tac-Toe

Tictac Toe

The time-honored and entertaining tic-tac-toe game can keep you occupied on a long road journey. It’s an excellent choice for entertainment while beating boredom on the road because it’s simple to learn. It doesn’t call for any special equipment. To begin playing tic tac toe, draw two horizontal lines crossed by two vertical lines equally spaced apart. The X or O must be positioned in an area that is either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Each player tries to finish a row in turn. The game is won by the first person to do so. Younger children will enjoy this. With a little practice, you can create strategies to improve your chances of winning at tic tac toe, a strategy game. It’s an excellent way to pass the time on a road trip and get your fellow travelers into some friendly competition.

4. Dots and Boxes


A road trip is a perfect time to play the timeless paper and pencil game Dots and Boxes. It’s an easy-to-learn but sophisticated game that anyone can play. This game, sometimes known as “Squares,” entails creating a grid of dots and switching off between joining two with a line. After completing a box, you get to put your initial in the box and move on. At the end of the game, the player with the most boxes wins. Dots and Boxes can be played using a variety of tactics, such as attempting to finish boxes for additional turns, obstructing perspective moves from your adversary, and providing possibilities for larger box formations. While traveling, it can be fun to play this game.

5. Battleship


Battleship is a timeless game played with paper and pencil that is great for road trips or any other time you want to play something quick and entertaining. Each player in this two-person game must determine where their opponent’s fleet of ships is positioned on a grid to try and sink it. Each participant in this game must design a grid of squares and covertly place ships of varying lengths on their grid. The next step is for players to take turns speculating where their opponent’s ships are positioned, marking their predictions on their opponent’s grid. The winner is the first person to sink every ship their rival owns.

6. Word Ladder


The word game Lewis Carroll created is called “word ladder.” It is also called word links, laddergrams, paragrams, word golf, and change-the-word puzzles. The game’s objective is to find a string of words related to the first two words set at the start of the game. The order of the words should be correct English words that only differ by one letter. For example, using “road” as the initial word and “trip” as the goal word, the players take turns in changing one letter at a time; the goal is to change the beginning word into the target word.

The tricky part is figuring out how to get from the start to the target words using the shortest ladder possible. You can add a time limit to the game’s rules to add challenge and excitement to the game. A player forfeits their turn if they cannot think of a suitable word within the allotted time. You can make the game more difficult for adult players by adding themes or categories. You may, for instance, limit the words you can use to those that fit into specific categories, like zoo animals, places, or foods. Word ladders can be a terrific way to practice your vocabulary, creativity, and critical thinking while having fun on a road trip.

7. Mafia


A mafia game or werewolf is a well-liked party or large group road trip game that includes social interaction, deception, and deduction. Depending on the venues, including road trips, it may be customized and is often played with many players. Dmitry Davidoff, a psychology student who sought to build a game that emulated a societal conflict between the Mafia and the Innocents, invented the Mafia game in the late 1980s. Different places have adopted the game and modified some of its rules. 

  Players pick up pieces of paper with various roles printed on them from a hat as part of the game’s concept. At least two of the participants will be Mafia. In contrast, the other participants will either be town residents or innocents. The mafia “murders” one of the innocents during “night,” and the innocents search for the “murderer” during “day,” which alternates between the two stages of the game. The Mafiosi are eliminated one by one or until there are more of them than there are remaining town residents, whichever comes first. Mafia members, innocents, and a moderator who oversees the game are the three most frequent roles. During the road journey, don’t forget to modify the game’s roles and rules to fit the players’ comfort levels and the time available. Additionally, it’s critical to stress that the game is intended only for pleasure while upholding a respectful and welcoming environment.

8. Exquisite Corpse


Exquisite Corpse is a game that started in the 1920s and was popularized by the Surrealists. For this game a minimum of three players is required, with various enjoyable versions. No special materials are needed to be able to play this game; all you need is a pen and a piece of paper for each player. Each participant folds their paper into three equal pieces, with the short sides at the top and bottom. Each participant begins by drawing the ‘head’ of their exquisite Corpse in the top third without revealing it to the others and, when finished, folds the top third over so the other players won’t see it. 

The paper is passed to the nex player, where the second player draws the “body” of the exquisite Corpse after all players have sketched the “head.” This practice continues until the exquisite Corpse is finished, and the fourth or original drawer reveals the horrible beauty of the body. Create names and even makeup stories for your corpses to give your newfound artistry a healthy dose of imagination. If the others don’t understand what you were trying to draw, you might need to clarify your intentions. To stop some players from taking an a long time, the game can be played with a time limit on sketching and no erasers.

9. Paper Telephones


Paper Telephones have been converted into a board games, like other great paper and pen games, but they can still be played with only some paper and a pen. Each participant writes a statement at the top of their page and then passes the paper to their left to begin the game of Paper Telephones. Before folding the top portion of the paper to conceal the first sentence from other players, the second player should draw an illustration for the first sentence. The third player is then given a piece of paper with the second player’s drawing, and they are instructed to create a statement describing the picture. The sentences and illustrations are revealed at the end of the game, showing how crazy and creepy your driving companions are, which would usually result in laughter from the group.

10. Contour Drawing


Contour Drawing

Contour Drawing, a quick and entertaining game best played with a partner, will have you repeatedly attempting to draw your partner’s face while producing some of the most bizarre faces you have seen since Picasso. To play, turn to face your partner and draw their face on the page without looking down or taking your hand off the pencil or pen. It’s that easy. Draw simultaneously, then compare your creations for some shared laughter. Contour sketching has been a foundational exercise in art school for many years. It aids in improving an artist’s powers of observation, hand-eye coordination, and subject-matter evocation. 

Take turns being the subject or the artist to make contour drawing during long drives more enjoyable; this way, everyone could watch and sketch. To keep the game rolling, add a time limit to the difficulty level and promote quick observation and drawing. Consider adding a competitive element by giving points for precise contour sketching. You can ask someone from the group to be the judge or ask everyone to vote for their favorite drawing for each round. Use contour drawing as a road trip game to pass the time while having fun and engaging in a friendly activity. 

11. Consequences

  Time to start writing a collaborative and fun narrative, so the wilder your imagination, the crazier the story will be. This game is like Paper Telephones. Each player will need a sheet of paper to start, which they will write on before folding to hide that portion of the story and passing it to the person to their left. To make Consequences even more enjoyable on a road trip, you can add variations to the game, such as a time limit and a specific theme for the story, such as animals, superheroes, or well-known landmarks. This gives the game an added dimension of imagination and fun. Have everyone contribute to each part at once rather than folding the paper and passing it to the next player. As a result, the game is transformed into a group drawing activity where participants build on one another’s ideas. Remember that the main objective of playing Consequences is to have fun and exercise your creativity while beating boredom during a long road trip. 


A pen-and-paper game is a great way to break up a tech-heavy and boring road trip and provide a few laughs during those tediously long drives. You need not worry about preparing any equipment to play these games, all you need to prepare is a bag of goofy, and crazy ideas. Pen and paper games make excellent traveling companions because they provide hours of enjoyment, encourage teamwork, and provides an avenue for a healthy communication. The options for amusement and fun are endless, whether you play traditional games like Tic-Tac-Toe or Dots and Boxes or explore the narrative world with games like Consequences.

Pen and paper games provide a pleasant diversion from electronics and displays, encouraging interaction with the environment and other travelers. They provide priceless experiences that will be enjoyed long after the trip ends by fostering ingenuity, problem-solving, and friendly competitiveness. So, remember to bring some paper and writing pens on your next road trip. Start the games, and watch the miles fly by as you laugh, be creative, and enjoy the delight of experiencing things with others.