Say goodbye to Zoom birthday parties! Here’s how to plan a road rally instead

Solve clues. Race to unique locations. Take silly photos. This party will be a hit, no matter the crowd.

Looks like they're having fun! (Kampus Production/Pexels stock image)

If you’re dreading logging onto your next virtual birthday party, turn off your camera and begin planning an unforgettable road rally event.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What even is a road rally?”

Think of it as a group-style scavenger hunt. During a road rally, teams battle head-to-head to decipher clues leading them through a predetermined course racing against the clock, all while earning extra points by completing challenges and taking photos along the way.

While it does take a bit of pre-planning on the creator’s part, a road rally is a great way to keep everyone safe and outside, and it will certainly create many memories and laughs by the end of the day.

Here are five steps to create your very own road rally:

1. Choose your locations.

Your locations are the foundation of your rally as this is the route your teams will follow throughout the course of the day. Come up with a list of about 10 locations in your town -- this will take about two hours to complete. Make sure to choose spots that are native to the area or have unique names as this will reduce confusion and help teams head to the right place. You’ll also need to come up with road “bounds” so that your teams will know what area to stay in. Having teams start and end in the same location also will help keep your road rally running smoothly.

Once you figure out your stops, create a route!

Sites like MapQuest have great tools that will help you optimize your route, save time and put your locations in an easy-to-follow order.

2. Create your clues.

It wouldn’t be a road rally without the clues!

In order to get your teams to the locations you just chose, make them solve clues to figure out where to go. Crossword puzzles, geographic coordinates, word searches, and story problems are always crowd-pleasers. Just don’t make the clues too tough to figure out or have the outcome be more than one possibility. Discovery Education has a plethora of resources for creating your own puzzles, or you could create one on your own.

For example, have your teams fill-in the blanks of missing words from famous movie quotes. In each of the blanks, have certain letters circled. These circled letters can then spell out a location.

3. Invent your challenges.

The key to an epic road rally is the fun and unique challenges. At each location, come up with a silly task for teams to complete and capture with a video on their phone.

Whether it be a dance-off in the parking lot or buying the weirdest flavor of candy they can find at a candy shop, this will for sure be the highlight of the day. Make sure to give each challenge a certain point value. In addition to having challenges at each location, you can also give your teams a list of items to be on the lookout for during their drive to take photos of to earn them extra points.

The best part is after the rally is over, and you can all watch everyone’s photos and videos together.

4. Figure out your extras.

Do you want your teams to race against the clock? Will there be point penalties for asking for help? How will everything be scored? Who will be the judge at the end? Is there a time limit of when everyone should return back?

All these questions should be answered before you send everyone off on the rally. Think outside the box with different rules and tasks to make your rally unique.

5. Gather your resources.

Once all your pre-planning is done with your locations and their respective clues, print them off and organize them so that teams will be able to take them with them as they drive throughout the rally and follow them in a logical order. Putting each clue and location challenge in separate envelopes and labeling them (Clue No. 1, Clue No. 2, etc.) is a great way to make sure teams stay on task.

And you’re ready to go! Split your party up into teams, and send them off on the adventure of the year.

Oh, and don’t forget the cake when it’s over!