17 Boredom-Busting Games to Play on a Bus

Image of open road with a bus on the left driving down the road

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A long bus ride can be one of the most iconic ways to experience a road trip, or it can be a tedious gauntlet through long hours with nothing to do. You can make sure your next bus trip is a blast with these games to play on a bus! 

You’ll not want to miss the bus on these 18 exciting games. 

1. Play I Spy

Alright, we know, this is one of those classic games to play on a bus that everyone has heard of, but have you ever really dug into it? 

I Spy has a lot of versatility. It’s not just that one-dimensional game you remember from your childhood. This is a game that you can mix up and cut loose with. Try adding time limits, creating I Spy themes, or just killing some time with a class road game. 

You probably know the rules, but all you need to do to play this game is pick something you and your friends can see and have them guess until they get it right. You’ll say, “I spy something that…” and add a clever clue that gives a subtle hint about what you’re looking at. 

The key to playing this game as an adult is to focus on those clever hints. That’s where the fun is! 

Was I Spy a little too basic? Let’s mix things up with some other road games. 

2. Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse doesn’t have the most appealing name, but it is an excellent game for stretching your artistic muscles when you’re stuck on a long bus ride. 

You play traditional Exquisite Corpse by starting part of a drawing and having your travel partner draw the next section. The goal is to create something together without compromising on your style. 

You don’t have to draw to play Exquisite Corpse. You can play this game with music, poetry, writing short stories, or any creative output. 

If you and your travel partner are artsy, Exquisite Corpse is the game you’ve been missing. 

3. Grab a Deck of Cards

There’s something about playing cards that just reminds you of the open road. They’re sold at every gas station and truck stop across the country—and you used to even get them for free as promotional items from travel companies! 

Playing cards unlock countless games. You can try Solitaire when getting some solo time, War or Slaps for something a little silly, or even play some poker with a friendly wager or two. 

It never hurts to have a deck of cards on hand. If you’re the spontaneous social type, a deck of cards is a great way to bring new travel friends into your circle. 

Are playing cards not high-tech enough for you? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. 

4. Try Out Some Nintendo Switch Games! 

The best games to play on a bus take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to keep your eyes on the road when riding the bus! 

The Nintendo Switch offers plenty of variety, including two-player puzzle games, action, and RPGs with compelling stories. You can even download classic Super Nintendo video games and enjoy nostalgia while on the road. The Switch has games for kids as well as adults, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find the right game for you. 

5. 20 Questions 

 20 Questions is one of those games that just has plenty of versatility. Let’s look at a few ways to enjoy this game while riding the bus.

You play 20 Questions by assigning one person to be “it.” That person thinks of a person, place, or thing, and everyone else has 20 questions to narrow down their guess and get it right.

You can spice up 20 Questions by making it themed, personal, or romantic. It all depends on who you’re traveling with. 

Like many road games, this game is best played in short bursts. You want to mix up these classic road games so you don’t burn out on any one game. 

6. Would You Rather

Would you rather is another excellent game to play while riding on the bus with someone you know.

The goal of this game is to give someone a ridiculous and near impossible choice between two options. You can ask them to pick between their favorite hobbies, a million dollars or perfect health, or anything else you can think of!

This is also a great game for getting to know someone new. It’s the perfect icebreaker for couples and helps you explore topics that matter to the people you travel with. 

7. Mini Board Games 

Mini magnetic board games are fun games to play on a bus, but they are also adorable. They also make great keepsakes from your bus-based journey. 

This is another game that lets you take advantage of the fact that you’re not driving the bus. You and your travel companions can enjoy Scrabble, chess, checkers, or mini Monopoly.

There are travel-sized versions of just about every board game out there. Throw one of these in your bag, and you’ll hardly notice the extra space it takes up. Besides, it will generate way more fun than you might expect. 

8. Among Us

Some of the best travel games are ones that keep you connected to the people back home.

Among Us is an app-based game available for Android and iOS. While playing this game, you will need a steady data connection, but most buses now have Wi-Fi.

In Among Us, you take control of one of the residents of a space station. All of you have to complete your daily tasks, including keeping the space station repaired and operational. However, one of you is secretly a traitor looking to destroy the space station and everyone on it.

It’s a fun game of hijinks, tactics, and light-hearted fun. 

You can play with your friends if there’s just a handful of you together on the bus or if you are looking to stay connected with friends and family a world away. 

9. Travel Scavenger Hunt 

One of the most fun things you can do when heading out on your trip is to set up a scavenger hunt.

You need to do some planning ahead of time for this game. Think about some interesting or challenging items you and your travel companions can hunt down on the road together. 

These can be bus tickets, wrappers from regional snacks, or just about anything you might be able to scavenge up on a bus ride.

Here’s a tip for setting up a scavenger hunt. Come up with a low-stakes prize for the winner, which could be anything from a Starbucks gift card to a coupon for a free back massage. 

10. Trivia Apps! 

Playing trivia games on the road used to mean taking several decks of cards with questions and answers on them. However, now your phone is full of game apps to keep you entertained on your bus ride.

There are trivia apps like Popcorn Trivia, SongPop, and countless others. These let you play trivia games based on movies, music, and even history with your travel partner. 

Don’t get caught thinking these games are trivial; they are some of the fun games to play on a bus! 

Related Post: Best Road Trip Game Apps

11. Travel Bingo

Here’s another exciting game that takes a little preparation before you hit the road.

You can set up a travel bingo game for everyone you will be on the road with. This bingo game can be full of fun inside jokes, sites along the way, and all the ups and downs of traveling on a bus.

Travel bingo is a great way to add a little lightheartedness to some of the challenges of taking a bus ride. Why not lean into these awkward moments and add a square on your travel bingo card for awkward bus smells or sitting next to someone who snores?

The winner of travel bingo can get a little prize, but there’s no prize greater than the satisfaction of being the travel bingo champion. 

12. Escape Room in a Box 

Escape rooms are all the rage, but you don’t have to travel to a physical location to play one. You can enjoy an escape room while you’re actively traveling.

You’ve got plenty of options for picking up an escape room in a box. There are elaborate packaged escape rooms that cost hundreds of dollars and a travel-friendly escape room in box editions that can easily fit in your pocket.

Scale up your escape room in a box according to how many players you will have. Some smaller escape rooms in box games are an excellent choice for couples or people traveling with just a few adults. 

More Road Trip Entertainment Options:
Best Attention-Grabbing Audiobooks for a Road Trip
Best Podcasts to Help Time Fly on a Road Trip
Road Trip Questions for Couples

13. Bus Stop Gourmet 

There are plenty of travel games about embracing the unique and sometimes weird cuisine you can find while on the road.

The goal of this game is to make the most of the limited culinary options you have at your average bus stop. Players should be given a budget and are challenged to come up with the most exciting meal they can think of.

Imagine you’re on a Food Network competition show, but all you can do is create a fine dining experience using a bus stop convenience store and a few fast food diners.

This is a great game to help people think outside the box and not get stuck snacking on the same pre-packaged chips for the entire ride. 

14. Fictionary  

We’re picking our next game from a time before buses even existed. 

Fictionary started hundreds of years ago with the Victorians in England. 

This word game is all about obscure words and the definitions that they “should” have. Play works like this. 

One player picks an obscure word that few people know, like “mycorrhizal” or “sozzled.” Everyone else writes down their made-up definitions. Whoever gets the most laughs wins!

16. The Blind Date Game 

Here’s one of the games to play on a bus that’s great for couples.

To play the Blind Date Game, you and your partner need to write down ten activities you would love to do during your bus ride together. Try to get an even number from each person.

Then, roll the dice to pick an activity randomly. You’ll take turns rolling the dice and crossing off activities as they’re completed.

This is a great way to share each other’s interests and hobbies. The Blind Date Game also ensures that both of you are getting a turn deciding how you spend this quality time together. 

17. Workout with Fitness Dice

You can feel a little cramped after getting stuck on the bus for too long, but this is where fitness dice comes in.

All you need to do is roll the dice and do whatever easy workout pops up. These are simple workouts like squats, jumping jacks, or push-ups. 

This is great for getting the blood moving and having a little fun when you reach the next bus stop. 

What Should You Play Next? 

Which of our games to play on a bus will be the first you break out on your next trip?

Are you going with the classic I Spy, or are you planning to bring all your mini travel games? Whether you’re a die-hard digital gamer or just your average couple looking to have something more to do on the road, these 17 bus games will make sure you never run out of fun on your next trip. 

If you’re on board with our travel games, check out our other articles for the best travel tips and tricks! 

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