Road trip games for travels in Europe

Road trip games for travels in Europe

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Still hesitant about hopping on a plane for your summer vacay? Caution is never a bad thing. Also never a bad thing is a road trip to new horizons. But with the whole clan confined to the car for hours on end, nerves will often fray. Why not while away the kilometers with all the typical road games, but with a European twist? Here are just a few ideas for inspiration on your upcoming journey. How do you keep you and yours entertained as you make way from one adventure to the next?

Country license plates: Poland, France, Italy or Slovakia…how many countries can you count before you reach your destination? Within the European Union, an auto’s country of origin is made evident from the letter code on the bottom half of the blue square on the left-hand side of the plate, directly beneath the flag of Europe emblem. This wiki cheat sheet will help you with those you aren’t sure of.

What’s my attraction: Ever notice the European high-speed freeways are dotted with brown signs denoting a site of interest that can be reached by turning off at the next exit? Before setting off, each passenger chooses a number. Count the signs passed until you reach your magic number, and see what attraction you’ve “won:” Europark or the birthplace of some old poet you’ve never heard of?

Autobahn Bingo: Before setting off, make up cards with grids listing some of the things you’re likely to spot along the interstate: truck from Poland, Burger King, white Audi, “umleitung” sign… you can use mostly the same terms on each card, but vary the positions upon the grid.

What’s in that truck? The sheer volume of trucks on the road can be mind-boggling. What’s being brought to where? The photos on the trailers or tarp coverings will often reveal what’s inside. Make a list of all the goods being hauled from A to B, or stage a contest to see who can spot the most interesting cargo.

Spot the country decal: There was a time when cars being driven abroad would sport stickers made up of a white oval encircling one to three upper case capital letters: D for Germany, CH for Switzerland, I for Italy. Now that the country of origin is easy to decipher from the license plate, these oval stickers have become quite rare as they’re usually only seen on the older models. Keep eyes peeled, and the first one to spot an oval sticker wins the point.

Crash course foreign language: Before heading out, download an audio file of handy traveler phrases spoken in the language of your destination. Have an appointed “DJ” play the tracks while the others repeat the phrase and try to guess what it means. The bonus is an ability to greet and thank people once you get to where you’re going. Language learning resources abound. The British Broadcasting Corporation has done a good job in providing links to various free language learning sites.

Who’s going where? Who is that couple in the large mobile home, the tattooed truck driver, or that family with dogs and kids in the station wagon? Make up a whole story about their life history, where they’re going and what they’re doing.

Spot the T-Roc: Choose a make and model of any car to your liking and there’s one point at stake for every sighting. Germany’s best-selling auto in 2019 was the Volkswagen Golf, so that should be easy prey while blasting down the autobahn.

Borders: Try to name all the borders of the country you're driving through at the moment or the one to which you’re headed. If you’ve got whiz kids in the back seat, quiz them to see how well they do in naming all the borders of other countries of Europe. If they need a hint, reveal the number of countries they’ll need to tick off, i.e. Poland borders seven countries and one sea.

Destination quiz: Organize a quiz about the country to which you’re heading. What’s the name of the president? Capital city? How many inhabitants does the country have?

Eurovision song contest: Go onto YouTube and search “Top 40” plus your country of destination. As you play the country’s top hits, each passenger takes a turn singing along as best he or she can, never mind you don’t speak a word of that language. A prize goes to the best rendition. When you hear that song playing on the radio or at the beach once you get there, you’ll already have a memory made to fall back on.

I spy: Give all passengers a list of a dozen people, places or things they’re bound to spot along the highways and byways of the destination country. The first person to cross all items off his or her list is the winner. Heading to France? Search out a boulangerie, storks and a bicyclette. In Italy, look for an Autogrill, farmacia, or a blue sign indicating the entrance to the expressway.

License plate lunacy: Pretend the letters and numbers of a license plate are an acronym for a silly sentence. Find a license plate with the same letters as one of the passenger’s first names and get creative. KL PC 156 = Kaylee lathered 156 poodles clean.

Drinks? Check. Snacks? Check. Hit the road and bonnes vacances! Where are you heading this summer?

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