Road Trip Games: Treasure Hunt!

This road trip game is one of my favorites and it's an original, too.

Treasure Hunt is the perfect road trip game for a long road trip because it incorporates every stop along the way and really engages everyone. You’ll want at least three players to make it interesting. Only play this game if you’re stopping a lot along the way to check out sights. If you’re just doing a long haul down a highway, forget it. As the driver can’t truly play other than being the one hiding the treasure (without crashing!), make sure you’re switching off drivers so that they get a chance to play, too.

This game can get crazy, with people running around like spies when they’re the Treasure Hider while everyone else is on their trail trying to catch them and figure it out before the game starts!

Here we go…

Minimum number of players (passengers): 3

What you’ll need: Pair of dice and notepad to keep score

Rules of the Game:

Treasure Chest

Start this road trip game before you start your engines. Everyone, including the driver, rolls the dice. Whoever gets the highest roll gets to start the game by becoming the Treasure Hider (TH) and wins 20 points. This is the only "roll and win" part of the game. The TH also will be responsible for keeping score for that round on a notepad. If the TH is the driver, they can appoint a passenger to keep score.

The driver can only play rounds if they are the TH as they can answer questions about the object and still drive safely. Obviously, you don’t want your driver craning his/her head around looking in the back seat for the treasure!

At the first pit stop/sight, the TH has to select an item that is either in the car already (visible, though, not underneath a pile of things) or introduce something new from the pit stop/sight and place it in view of all passengers.

The TH should try to do this while the other passengers are doing something else so that they don’t see what the item is. If all the passengers are around, it’s best for the TH to simply select something already in view and already in the car. Of course, I’ve seen Treasure Hiders be very sneaky and casually get something at our pit-stop or sight that no one thinks is the treasure, like Kleenex that they use to blow their nose.

Once on the road, the road trip game begins. All players should look around first and then may ask the TH yes or no questions about the selected "treasure". The TH may only answer "yes" or "no". When a player thinks they’ve figured it out, they can ask directly if the suspected item is the treasure.

Beware! If you are wrong, you lose 10 points! You can have a negative score, so try to be sure you’re right. If you guess correctly, you win 20 points and become the TH/scorekeeper for the next round.

I encourage you to play this game the entire road trip. Overnight stays at your accommodations can be really fun as the TH has tons of opportunities to hide the treasure and everyone else is trying to catch the TH in the act! This is usually when the TH is the most creative, too.

A word of advice to the TH: don’t choose something edible. One TH thought he was being really smart and decided to make the half dozen doughnuts he picked up on the way out of the motel the "treasure" thinking there would be at least one donut left. When they were all eaten within the first five minutes of the drive, he had to admit defeat!

Want more games? Check out these fun road trip games.


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