One of the most important things to know about me is that I come from a family of travelers. My mom grew up traveling around the country and the world with her parents, so when I came along, it was only natural to bundle me into the car or onto the plane as well. While I have been to Aruba, Australia, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and most of the countries in Western Europe, I don’t discriminate – I love jumping into a car and going on a good road trip right here in the United States. 

Though I do often fall asleep in the car, much to the Mysterious Mr. C’s chagrin, I do enjoy my fair share of road trip games as well. To help pass the time, our family has completed Mad Libs, played Brain Quest trivia, and a game that I’m not entirely sure has a title, but I’ll call “Geography.” When playing Geography, you take turns listing places on a map, using the last letter of the word the person going before you used. For example, if you said Bermuda, I’d say Antigua, you’d say Arkansas, I’d say Sweden, etc., and you basically play until you run out of options, or hit a rest stop. But our classic perennial road trip game is affectionately known as the License Plate Game.

The License Plate Game is essentially that, jotting down all of the state license plates you see on the road during the course of your trip. While there aren’t really any rules, one I instituted a number of years ago is that you can’t use the license plate of the state you’re in… it just seems like cheating to me. For instance, you can’t count Virginia if you are in Virginia, but as soon as you cross a border, it’s fair game!

It may seem like a simple game, and it is, but it is quite fun too. You start to see which states travel well (Ohioans and Marylanders always seem to be on the roads), which states have an abundance of plate design options (Maryland has at least four), and it’s always exciting when you get Alaska and/or Hawaii – the coveted white whales.

This time around, C and I decided to see how many plates we could get between our trips to Delaware for Thanksgiving and Pittsburgh for Christmas. I readily admit that this was a little rigged since technically they were two trips, but we wanted to see how many we could get during the holiday season. The answer (*drum roll please*): 47 of 50 states! While we didn’t get Alaska, Idaho, or Montana, we did get Hawaii and South Dakota (rarities on the East Coast), and Wyoming (a first!); we also got Wisconsin and Mississippi, though we forgot to add them to the sheet (I swear!!). We even got a few bonus plates: Ontario, Quebec, Washington, D.C. and those district classics – Diplomat and U.S. Government.

I thought we would get a lot, but I was not expecting to get that many! In fact, it was the most I’ve ever collected during one game, and I think it might be the second-highest total in family history (only once did my parents get all 50). Playing definitely helped us pass the time in the car, and I can’t wait to see what we get next year!

Tell me, what are your favorite games to play/things to do while on a road trip?

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