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10 Fun & Free Travel Games

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10 Fun & Free Travel Games

Let's be real, long journeys can get a bit dull, like five hours in on your cross country road trip. Instead of scrolling our phones for the millionth time, let's make fun new memories together with some good ol' games! Here's a few we like to play on our trips!

10 Fun & Free Travel Game Ideas for Your Next Trip!

1. Hot Seat

10 Fun & Free Travel Games for a Road Trip

This is my all time favorite game- well, right after 501 Questions: A Travel Game!

Hot Seat is asking one person in a group, rapid-fire questions for a specific duration of time. So, to play, choose one person to be in the hot seat. Then, choose how much time someone's in the hot seat.  It can be one, two, or three minutes. Then, set a timer for that amount of time. Once the timer starts, everyone asks the person in the hot seat questions until the timer buzzes. You can ask any question that comes to mind. Once the first person’s turn is over, then you pick the next person to be in the hot seat, set the timer, and everyone asks the next person questions until the timer buzzes. You repeat this until everyone in your group has had their turn in the hot seat. Then, you can start the next round by upping the time that each person is in the hot seat to five, ten, or even fifteen minutes. Longer times are fun for storytelling!

In college, a group of friends and I played this for hours on a road trip to Florida til we were at 20 minutes per person! This game tightened our friendships immensely!

 

2. Two Truths and a Lie

Ooo! I love this game, too! So, to play Two Truths and a Lie, one person shares three things about themselves; two things being true and one being a lie. Everyone has to guess which statement is the lie. If you guess the lie right, you get a point. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. I love this game, because you learn surprising new things about everyone!

For example: Mine could be 1. I've scuba dived. 2. I've been to New Zealand. 3. I've eaten a cockroach. Which one's my lie?

 

3. 20 Questions 

20 Questions is tons of fun! So, one player picks a person, place, or thing and keeps it a secret. Then, everyone takes turns asking yes or no questions to try to guess what they're thinking of. The goal is to figure out what it is in 20 questions. 

 

4. Group Storytelling

This is a fun one and you never know which way the story will turn! The way it starts is one person in the group starts out with the first line of the story. Then, each person takes turns sharing the next sentence of the story. If you want to make it more interesting, you can create a rule that each sentence has to rhyme with the one said before it. Bring on the drama and mystery!

 

5. The Grocery Store Game or National Park Game

This one’s tradition!  My parents and I played this on our long trips for the holidays. The game is a memory game working with the alphabet. So, someone starts out, "I went to the grocery story and bought Apples. Then the next person repeats, “I went to the grocery store and bought Apples,” then adds, “and Bananas.” Then the next person repeats, “I went to the grocery story and bought Apples, Bananas…” then adds, “and Celery.” Each person keeps adding an item at the grocery store that starts with the next letter of the alphabet til you end at Z. It’s fun when everyone gets creative with the items and it’s hard to remember!

You can also do other fun concepts, “I went to the National Park and saw a …” or “I went on a picnic and brought a…”

 

6. The License Plate Competition

This is a fun game for some good competition in the car. See who can find license plates from the most states from cars driving by. Each state is one point. If you see plates from other countries, they count for two points! The person who gets the most points wins and gets to pick the dinner spot or pays for ice cream or any other creative ideas you have.

 

7. Rapid Fire Word Association

This one is easy to keep progressing, is hilarious, and can get competitive! So, someone says a word, and then the next person says a word associated to it, and so on until someone is stumped or takes too long to think of a word. The person who ended the round is out, and everyone competes until there's a winner. I just played this on a girl's road trip and this game had us rolling! It's fun to see where everyone's minds go associating words! For example: National Park, Arches, Desert, Cactus, Green, Grass, Spring, Easter Bunny, Marshmallows, Chubby Bunny

 

 8. Rumor Has It

This one can get funny! Everyone in your car chooses another car. Then everyone in your car looks at everyone in the other car closely. Now, don't get too creepy! Then, your car all comes up with a background story of the people, their lives, and relationships. Bring on the drama!

 

9. License Plate Funny Phrases

This one stretches your mind and takes some creativity! Someone picks out a license plate they see and creates a funny phrase with the letters in the order they see them. For example, if you see AJK 295, you could say Apple Jack’s King!

 

10. Fortunately/Unfortunately

This game goes back and forth between people sharing a “fortunate” statement, then an “unfortunate” statement. And, it can get pretty funny! For example:

  • “Fortunately, we’re going to get to our hotel early!”

  • “Unfortunately, our room isn’t clean.”

  • “Fortunately, then we can go to the beach right away.”

  • “Unfortunately, we don’t have a room to change into our bathing suits.”

  • “Fortunately, we don’t need bathing suits for the beach!”:)


BONUS: 3 MORE FUN GAMES!

Here’s three of our favorite travel games (that aren’t free), but are a blast and fun to play on the road!

11. 501 Questions: A Travel Game

If you haven’t gotten it yet, this is our absolute favorite game to play on our travels (and we created it)! We created it to stop scrolling, and connect with each other. It's loaded with 501 awesome conversation starters for ages 4-104!

Ask questions like:

  • Would You Rather: Find yourself standing in a flock of butterflies or swimming in a bioluminescent bay?

  • If You Could: Take a round-the-world trip, what would be the first country you'd visit on each continent?

  • Tell Me About: One thing you're itching to do, you haven't done yet?

  • Travel Trivia: What country is The Land of Smiles?

When conversation dwindles and you have the urge to pick up your phone, grab this book instead. Turn the dull moments of your travels into fun new memories! 


12. Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers

If you love puns, this is your game! You pick two cards from the deck that have different statements and you have to make a pun merging the two ideas.

For example, one time we pulled the cards “Seeing Your Ex” and “Wild Animals.” Adam’s brother is brilliant at puns and said, “She’s always been straight lion.” He’s so good!

 


13. Convers_(ate)

If you love intentional conversations Convers_(ate) is your game! Our friends Mollie and Taylor created this game to take a group through an intentional conversation with open ended questions. The topics are awesome like Community, Wealth, Food, Holidays, Generosity, etc.

Each topic card has an ice breaker question so on some trips, my family’s just played with the ice breaker questions. You go deep and learn a lot about family and friends with these!


MAKE REMEMBERING THESE GAMES EASIER!

10 Fun & Free Travel Games for Road Trips

1. Pin this for later here.

2. And, download this game list to pull up on your trip.


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The Most Essential Packing Items On Our Lists

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The Most Essential Packing Items On Our Lists

"If you could name the most important piece of gear you pack, what would it be?"

A friend asked us this the day we flew back from Finland after 4 months of traveling Europe.

We scanned our memories and packing lists. At that time, we'd been traveling for over three years living out of small backpacks and luggage. We'd traveled the US living out of a tent and our car, then campervanning New Zealand, to backpacking South East Asia, to then RVing the US, and just recently campervanning Europe.

We both had our answers pretty quickly and our friend was shocked they weren't electronics.

We call these items our MVP's of Gear.

 

The one thing we always pack with us and why:

Lindsey's Most Valuable Piece of Gear:

 Perfect as a headband, ear warmer, and a neck guard on the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand.

Perfect as a headband, ear warmer, and a neck guard on the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand.

A BUFF

What is a buff?

A Buff's a continuous loop of fabric you can use for anything!

Here's why it's my #1 packing item: 

I can use it in so many ways in both hot and cold weather! This is important, because when Adam and I set out on a trip, we have a general idea of where we're going but no set plans and no itinerary. We figure it out as we go. This means when I'm packing for months worth of travel, I have no idea what weather I'm getting myself into. So, when I'm packing I cover myself with clothes for both hot and cold weather.  

I love my Buff! It covers me for everything and is so tiny to pack. In hot weather I use it as a hair tie, a head band, and as a rag. And for cold weather I use it as a hat, an ear muff, and to cover my neck. This simple piece of fabric is essential for me!

 

Adam's Most Valuable Piece of Gear:

 Epic wipes were needed after cruising muddy trails in West Virginia with no water hookups for showers in the camper!

Epic wipes were needed after cruising muddy trails in West Virginia with no water hookups for showers in the camper!

BABY WIPES

Why is it Adam's #1 packing item? 

They're a showerless way to clean every nook and cranny on your body-- I mean every nook and cranny;) 

After experiencing South East Asia's toilet hygiene habits for six months, Adam was converted. And it makes total sense--- we heard this from our friend Daranee who's a doctor in Thailand. She put it this way (I'm paraphrasing here): "When you go out to work in the dirt in the garden, you don't come inside and wipe your hands with dry paper towels to clean off-- ew! You wash your hands to clean yourself. Same goes for doing your duty. Why use just dry toilet paper to clean?" Interesting point. Very interesting point. We know:)

 

Be Prepared!

You can snag both of these on Amazon so you're ready to pack them away on your next trip.

 

You'll Also Like:

 

Lindsey's Packing List

Adam's Packing List

 

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Buying a Campervan in New Zealand: Should Your Campervan be Self-Contained or Non Self-Contained? or Certified Self-Contained

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Buying a Campervan in New Zealand: Should Your Campervan be Self-Contained or Non Self-Contained? or Certified Self-Contained

 Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Buying a Campervan in New Zealand:

Should Your Camper be Self-Contained, Certified Self-Contained, or Non Self-Contained?

 

This is a really important question to ask yourself when you're thinking about buying a campervan in New Zealand

Your campervan’s status of being self-contained or non self- contained determines how easy it’ll be for you to find designated campsites each night.

 

What's the Difference?

The difference between self-contained and non self-contained is about your waste situation.

Self-contained vehicles have their own toilet and tanks to hold the waste inside (everything's self-contained). With this kind of camper, it's easy to park up and camp for the night. 

Non self-contained means your vehicle is not self-sustainable and does not have a toilet or holding tank inside. This means you have to have a public toilet available at your designated campsite each night. 

This was us. We bought a non self-contained minivan that was converted to a camper. We always had to find a designated campsite for non self contained vehicles each night. 

Our biggest help with this: the app CamperMate! The app shows you campsites near you and categorizes them as self-contained or non self-contained campsites. It'll also show you dump sites for self-contained campers. Whatever campervan you get, download the app! It'll be your best bud in NZ!

 

OUR EXPERIENCE BEING NON SELF-CONTAINED

 Klondyke Corner Campsite in Arthurs Pass

Klondyke Corner Campsite in Arthurs Pass

We campervanned NZ for five months in our non self-contained camper, Bernie. He was a minivan with a bed in the back:)

We always found a campsite, but for non self-contained campers, it's difficult to find designated campsites in the popular areas like the Coromandel Peninsula, Queenstown, Auckland, and the Franz Joseph Glacier.

In those areas, we found ourselves spending more time and gas money driving further out to campsite locations and passing many self-contained sites on the way. We had our moments of jealousy and wanting our own loo!

Other friends have campervanned NZ after us, and we always suggest to them to buy a self contained camper. 

 

THE SELF-CONTAINED SITUATION

Why is this a big deal? New Zealand has a ton of tourists coming in and they're on a mission to protect their landscapes from tourists dropping their pants relieving themselves everywhere. Totally understandable.

So, many communities prefer tourists in self-contained campers than tourists in non self-contained ones. I totally get it.

So how do you become self-contained?

Officially, self-contained means your van is in accordance with specific standards to protect the environment and public health from bad waste disposal. Essentially, this means a self-contained campervan has a toilet, holding tank, and fresh water for doing your duty.

 Self Contained Photo from Backpacker Guide

Self Contained Photo from Backpacker Guide

Self-contained vehicles show proof of being self-contained with this blue and white sticker on the back of the campervan.  

However, folks were finding these stickers and illegally slapping them on their non self-contained vehicles to have more camping options.

To combat this, district councils have designed a new level of proof of certification where self-contained vehicles need to be inspected, approved, and show certification on the windscreen with a green label like the one shown in this picture.  These vehicles are Certified Self-Contained.

 Certified Self Contained Photo by CamperMate

Certified Self Contained Photo by CamperMate

If you're leaning toward a self-contained vehicle, make sure the vehicle is Certified Self-Contained. This way, you’ll be able to camp at any campsite in NZ. Campers with self-contained vehicles without certification need to pay close attention to signage at campsites to make sure they’re in a designated area for their vehicle. Some campsites only allow certified self-contained vehicles to camp.

 

Requirements to Be Certified Self-Contained

As of October 13, 2015, New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc. stated on its website the specific requirements a vehicle has to have to be certified self-contained.

The vehicle must have “sanitary and safe installation of the following:

  • Fresh water supply: 4L per person per day (i.e. minimum 12L per person)

  • A sink

  • Toilet: 1L per person per day (i.e. minimum 3L net holding tank capacity per person)

  • Holding tank: 4L per person per day (i.e. minimum 12L per person) and monitored if capacity is less than the fresh water tank

  • An evacuation hose

  • A sealable refuse container (with lid)."

 

Types of Self-Contained Vehicles

We saw all types of self-contained vehicles. There are large caravans specifically designed to be self-contained and there are minivans out there modified to be self-contained.

For normal backpacker campers, you have a higher chance of finding a utility van or pop-top that’s self-contained, than a sedan, hatchback, or minivan, simply due to the design and available interior space in the campervan.

 

SHOULD YOUR CAMPER BE SELF CONTAINED OR NON SELF CONTAINED?

Like we shared, when friends ask us what they should buy, we give them our guide book and always tell them to find a self-contained camper. These are more expensive, though, so it's your decision. 

If you're still not sure, here's some benefits and limitations to both choices we found in our five months campervanning NZ. 

 

SELF CONTAINED pROS & CONS

 

BENEFITS OF BEING SELF-CONTAINED

  1. You’ll have more camping options, especially in popular areas of the country.

  2. You won’t have to drive as far to find a campsite each night.

  3. You’ll save money on petrol, since you don’t have to drive as far to find campsites.

  4. You’ll have fewer late night arguments with your travel partner when you’re both tired and desperate to get settled at a campsite.

 

LIMITATIONS OF BEING SELF-CONTAINED

  1. Self-contained vehicles are normally more expensive than non self-contained vehicles.

  2. Most of these vehicles are big and bulky. Some campsites may be difficult to get into and navigate through.

 

NON SELF-CONTAINED PROS & CONS

 

BENEFITS OF BEING NON SELF-CONTAINED

  1. Vehicles are normally less expensive than self-contained vehicles.

  2. These vehicles are smaller, allowing you access down less traveled roads.

  3. These types of vehicles allow you to blend in more like a local instead of standing out as a tourist. Non self-contained vehicles are vehicles local families and local businesses would drive; sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and utility vans.

  4. There’s less maintenance to worry about. With self-contained vehicles you have to worry about fixing the plumbing if anything should go wrong.

  5. You don’t have the added worry of dumping and cleaning the holding tanks on your holiday.

 

LIMITATIONS OF BEING NON SELF-CONTAINED

  1. You have less camping options than self-contained vehicles, especially in popular areas like Queenstown, Auckland, Franz Joseph Glacier, and the Coromandel.

  2. You may find yourself spending more time and money on petrol getting to a designated non self-contained campsite each night.


Ready to Campervan New Zealand, but Not Sure How?

We've got you covered!

Get our step-by-step guide to save you money, time and stress figuring it out yourself. Let's get you on the road exploring right away. 

We guide on where to buy, how to get one on a budget, what to look for when test driving, tips to negotiate the price down, what government forms to complete, how to find free and cheap campsites, and heaps more. 

Your book was soooo stinkin helpful!
— Brooke M.

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Campervanning New Zealand: Should You Get a Petrol or Diesel Campervan?

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Campervanning New Zealand: Should You Get a Petrol or Diesel Campervan?

 Photo by Jake Melara

Photo by Jake Melara

 

Campervanning New Zealand:

Should You Get a

Petrol (Gas) or Diesel Campervan?

 

When we arrived in New Zealand and were on the hunt to buy our campervan, we noticed diesel prices were a lot less than petrol (gas) prices at the pump. Seeing this, we started specifically looking at diesel campers to buy to save money on gas.

After doing some research, we realized we were being mislead by the prices shown at the petrol stations.

 

PRICE DIFFERENCE = ROAD USER CHARGE (RUC)

The difference in the prices at the pump is due to when New Zealand has petrol and diesel drivers pay their Road User Charges (RUCs). 

 

WHAT'S A RUC?

A Road User Charge (RUC) is a tax to drive on New Zealand's roads. 

 

WHEN DO YOU PAY YOUR RUC?

New Zealand has petrol drivers pay their RUCs differently than diesel drivers. 

 

PETROL

Petrol drivers pay their RUC taxes when they're paying at the pump for their petrol. The tax is included in the price of the petrol. So, you pump your petrol, pay, and you're on your way.

 

DIESEL

Diesel RUCs aren't as simple because they're not included in the price of diesel. That's why diesel prices are lower on the signs than petrol prices. As a diesel driver, you have to take an extra step and purchase a RUC distance license separately.

 

HOW TO GET A RUC AS A DIESEL DRIVER?

For diesel vehicles, for every 1,000 km you drive, you must pay for a RUC distance license prior to driving the new distance. So, driving a diesel camper requires more work to stay on top of your RUC licenses.

 

WHERE TO GET A RUC? 

Here are some places you can pop in and buy a RUC distance license: 

  • www.nzta.govt.nz/online

  • Automobile Association (AA)

  • BP truck stops, and some BP service stations

  • Post shops

  • Vehicle Inspection New Zealand

  • Vehicle Testing New Zealand

 

PRICE OF A RUC?

Effective on July 1, 2015, NZTA stated that a vehicle less than 3.5 tonnes owes NZ$62 for each 1,000 km license

Depending on where you purchase the RUC license, there may be transaction fees added to the cost of the license, ranging from NZ$4.80 to NZ$7.80 per license.

 

Which is Cheaper: Petrol or Diesel?

Okay, so you pay more for petrol at the pump. But, diesel has all these license fees and seems like more of a hassle. 

Which one saves you money in the long run?

We learned from our research, there’s been a long-standing argument by local Kiwis of which one is cheaper in the long run: petrol or diesel? Many people say the long-term cost is the same.

 

MAINTENANCE COSTS

We also heard a diesel engine is more complicated and expensive to get repaired than a petrol engine. 

 

OUR EXPERIENCE

What did we do? With all this informaiton, we went with petrol. All of our research said the long-term cost was the same, so neither would save us money.

And, diesel seemed like more of a hassle to track of your kilometres and staying current with your RUC distance licenses. It was one more thing to have to think about on our road trip. And, we heard a diesel engine is more expensive to fix if something went wrong.

So, we decided to buy a petrol campervan. You can see more of our experience buying here


Ready to Buy a Campervan, But Not Sure How?

We've got you covered!

Get our step-by-step guide to save you money, time, and stress figuring it out yourself. Let's get you on the road right away in your own camper. 

We guide you on the whole process from where to buy, how to get one on a budget, what to look for when test driving, tips to negotiate the price down, what government forms to complete, how to find free and cheap campsites, and heaps more. 

Your book was soooo stinkin helpful!
— Brooke M.

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