Lonely Planet Writer

Driving games: road trip heaven or hell?

The concept of a road trip seems so wildly romantic. In your imagination you're not some schlub let loose from their office job. All of a sudden you're The Wild One; you're Kerouac; you're a go-anywhere, do-anything kinda person and there ain't nothing that can hold you back.

driving_gamesBut that's in your imagination. In reality you're squeezed into a rented Volkswagen Rabbit with your friends and the conversation has dried up about 45 minutes into an 11-hour journey. You're too old to sing 'The Wheels on the Bus' and you're too easily irritated to play 'Eye Spy'. When the scenery is about as captivating as sorting rice, how do you pass the time without wanting to commando roll out the car and into a ditch?

Lonely Planet staffer Louise Clarke recently road-tripped through the epic landscape of Western Australia with some friends. She said: 'Unfortunately we weren't very good or creative with the time-killing. Mostly we got on each other's nerves by disagreeing about whose turn it was to drive/choose music/find accommodation. That can take up a lot of time. '

We think she's being a bit modest though, as they did come up with some killer time-killers: mix-and-match celebrities to create the perfect date (take Sean Connery's accent...) or the most trash-tastic celeb (take Lindsay Lohan's nose, add Paris Hilton's hemline…).

Then there are the fantasy wealth games: build five different kinds of houses (beach house, apartment, farmhouse etc) in five different countries, or work out how you'd spend a million dollars in 24 hours without acquiring any new possessions. Then there's the sensible option of simply downloading some interesting podcasts to listen to. (Louise suggests 'stuff you should know' podcasts from How Stuff Works.)

The best driving game I ever heard of was from the cracker-dry wit of English writer Alan Bennett. When he and his friend would motor down the English freeways they would debate whose underwear they would least like to wear on their heads.

So, road-trippers – how do you pass the time?