games without reading
January 13, 2013 9:28 AM   Subscribe

We're taking a 5 hour bus trip to and from NYC this weekend. My partner gets car sick from reading; what are some games or activities we can do on the bus that won't make him car sick?

We're going to NYC! My partner and I are taking a 5 hour Chinatown bus to and from NYC, and I'm looking for ideas to occupy our bus travel. We aren't bringing any electronics except our mobiles due to security reasons. While I know a lot of games, most of them are written or card games. Partner will already be on Dramamine for the bus rides, so that should help.
Hive mind, please share any ideas for fun activities, games, etc. to make the trip there and back more enjoyable? We will probably spend a great deal of the time talking and sleeping on the bus, but I'd like the travel to and from NYC to be a good memory as part of our fun NYC weekend.
posted by horizonseeker to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Jotto, ghost, or other word games.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:33 AM on January 13, 2013

My friends played something they called "song cues". They just had regular conversations, but whenever one of them said a phrase that reminded them of a song, they burst into music and sang it loud and proud. Example: Did you bring any candy to eat? Eh, just a little bit...LITTLE BIT?... [song from My Fair Lady:] Just a little bit of luck, just a little bit of luck, just a little bit of bloomin' luck.

You have to decide how annoying you are willing to be to the other passengers. As the hours go by, the annoyance goes up.
posted by CathyG at 9:44 AM on January 13, 2013

Another music one, take turns humming/guessing the theme song to different tv shows. No singing/lyrics allowed, humming only.
posted by headnsouth at 9:59 AM on January 13, 2013

The thing that causes motion sickness is not looking at the outside world when travelling in a moving vehicle. So you need to play games that allow your partner to continue looking out of the window (or keep their eyes closed). Botticelli is a personal favourite. It's like a more interesting version of twenty questions.

Or you could just, you know, enjoy the scenery, doze, contemplate the meaning of the universe... :-)
posted by Decani at 10:06 AM on January 13, 2013

When I was a little child, we played the License Plate Game. Basically, you try to spot a license plate from each state plus any foreign plates. Requires a window seat.

Another game was to run through the alphabet finding stuff visible through the window..."B" for barn, "C" for cow, etc. Race each other head to head (no repeats) or work together alternating letters.

Now I listen to audiobooks...which is admittedly not much of a game.
posted by 99percentfake at 10:06 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I do audiobooks. Audible has a good iPhone app and there are some funny books out there. You could share headphones or get a splitter. Sometimes reading/listening in public makes things funnier to me because I feel like I have to keep the laughter in. Which doesn't work. Also, iTunes has a comedy/standup comedy section. It's under Music, then Comedy (this was not immediately obvious to me).
posted by loulou718 at 10:10 AM on January 13, 2013

A few more word games:
-dumb crambo
-word chain (or something like scatergories - pick a category, alternate who has to think of an item in that category, maybe while working your way through the alphabet)
-fortunately, unfortunately

plus a few previous questions: conversation games, road trip games, good car games, games to play with just your mind.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2013

The same thing happens to me sometimes. If he's not attached to the scenery, he could use the trip to get a pretty sizeable nap in.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2013

Keep in mind that many of the bus trips I've taken were quiet. So your games may be heard by everyone on the bus.
posted by KogeLiz at 10:38 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's this game I learned about on MeFi, and I don't remember if it has a name, but it doesn't require any reading or writing or props, just two people who can talk. You each think of a random word, and together count "One, Two, Three" and then say your words aloud at the same time. Then you take a moment to each think of a word describing something that relates to both of the two original words. Imagine you said "food," and he said "cow." Maybe your next word would be "hamburger" or "beef," or maybe "grass" or "cud"? Once you've both thought of a new word, you count to three again and blurt out the new words at the same time. This continues until you both say the same word. At first it's delightful just finding out that this even works, and then later it gets to be a cooperative game trying to beat your previous record.

My husband and I also play license-plate related games. Come up with a word that uses all the letters in the license plate, in the same order (but not necessarily sequentially) -- AIY could be "cavity" or "hairy," for instance. Keep coming up with new words for the plate until a new one comes into view. Or think of a silly or believable phrase that would use the acronym on the license plate -- Allied Indian Youth, Always Impressive Yaks, Atheists Inspired by Yarn, etc.

A headphone splitter and some podcasts or a short audiobook are fantastic for bus trips, too. We have found that it helps to have either the same model of headphones, or else at least one pair with a volume control on the headphone cord. Otherwise one person might have a hard time hearing while the other person is flinching from the volume.
posted by vytae at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

audio podcasts or audio books ( gives 2 free away for their trial)

wikipedia w/ your phone's gps and talk about the history of the place the buses is going though.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:09 AM on January 13, 2013

Seconding Botticelli, though it tends to be more fun with more than two players (because other players' guesses start to jog your own thoughts). But if you are both trivia-minded and know a decent amount of celebs/actors/athletes/historical figures, then it can be good just one-on-one.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2013

My partner and I sometimes play this game when we are trying to occupy ourselves but don't want to think too hard.

First, choose your overarching theme: titles of movies, books, or songs; [last] names of authors, actors, musicians. You get the idea.

Then the two of you take turns going through the alphabet and try to come up with a name or title for every letter. You alternate letters until you reach the end of the alphabet, then switch so that the person who started with "A" last time starts with "B" this time. When it becomes too difficult to come up with an "X" title/name, you can just drop that letter, which means you'll automatically alternate who starts with "A".


Me: Annie Hall.
Him: Bladerunner.
Me: Chinatown.
Him: Down and Out in Beverley Hills.
Me: Evil Dead.


Him: Bea Arthur.
Me: Humphrey Bogart.
Him: Billy Crystal.
Me: Ruby Dee.
Him: Clint Eastwood.

It's very simple but surprisingly absorbing and makes the time pass quickly. We aren't very competitive about it, but if you wanted, you could get a point every time the other person can't think of an example, and keep score that way.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:18 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend and I have a few games like this:

M.O.V.I.E.: One person says a movie, the other says an actor in that movie. The first person must then come up with a movie in which the named actor appears, and so on. If you're stumped, you get M, then O, then V, etc. Whoever is stumped five times first loses.

Actor game: Each think of an actor. On a count of three, say both actor names at once. Now connect them to each other, six degrees of Kevin Bacon style.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:00 PM on January 13, 2013

Audiobooks, podcasts and daydreams :)
posted by dinosaurprincess at 1:51 AM on January 14, 2013

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