Travelling can involve a lot of sitting around waiting for your next flight or train or bus and it can get really boring. Now there is nothing wrong with boredom, I’ve written all about the benefits of boredom, but sometimes it is great to have a game on hand for something to do. There are so many great travel games but not all games are made equal so from my own experience I’ve compiled a list of the best games for traveling.
There are several criteria that I’ve considered in choosing the best for traveling and those criteria include general game play, whether the travel game is re-playable, how many people can play the game and how portable the game is for traveling.
These are travel games you can play sitting on the floor of an airport, between your coffee cups while you’re waiting at a coffee shop, a travel game you can set out on your hostel bed, or anywhere else that you can find. Games that you can just slip into your hand luggage and not even notice they’re there until you need some entertainment. And travel games that can bring hours of travel fun without having to worry if you’ll have enough battery to last the trip or when you’ll find the next charging port.
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6 Best card games for traveling for 2 or more players
This is my all-time favorite game to play while traveling. Monique and I were introduced to this game a few years ago and we immediately set out to own a deck. Based on the Monopoly board game, Monopoly Deal is a huge improvement on the original and every game you play will be different.
The objective is simple, be the first person to own 3 sets of properties. You have a variety of action cards to disrupt your opponents plans and having sufficient cash still plays a large part in the game. A game won’t last longer than 15 minutes. You will need space to place cards but any coffee table or piece of floor will be sufficient!
We no longer travel without our Monopoly Deal Deck. It is suitable for 2 players with the ideal number being 4. Up to 6 players can take part but then the cards start getting stretched a little thin. The weight of carrying the cards is negligible and you won’t even notice the space the box takes up in your backpack, an ideal game for travel.
Clue Suspect Card Game
We discovered this little gem while waiting for burgers in a restaurant in Daegu, South Korea. If you enjoy the game Clue (or Cluedo) then you will love this version that is a great game to play while traveling.
The objective is exactly the same as in the board game, discover who is the murderer, with what weapon and in what room. The hassle of moving around the board has been removed and you need to solve the mystery working solely with the clue cards. A round can last about 30 minutes, depending on how quick you are at mystery solving. Each game will be different but it does lack the variety of Monopoly Deal.
Unfortunately this game works best with 3 or more players. No playing space is required, you hang on to all your cards and any spare can be put back in the box out of the way. The cards are easy to travel with, light and compact, making it one of the best games for traveling.
UNO is one of those games that you can find anywhere. I have found it in hostels, restaurants, cafes and most schools. That’s because it is a great travel game and the reason it has made it onto this list of the best games for traveling.
If you don’t know the objective of UNO then you have missed some amazing fights as a child, but basically, you need to get rid of all your cards first. Players can use action cards to help mix up the game and lose friends. This game can provide hours of fun and anything can happen in a game, exactly the kind of game you want to play while traveling.
UNO can be played with 2 to 10 players and it only requires the space to have a draw pile and a discard pile. It is difficult to put a standard time limit on a game of UNO, I’ve played rounds that lasted mere minutes and other rounds that were nearly an hour. Like the other card games, UNO is exceptionally easy to carry while you travel, just slip it in your bag and you’re ready to go!
Just by reading the name you know that this is going to be a crazy game. It originally started as a kickstarter project and quickly became the most funded kickstarter project ever. The artwork is nothing short of awesome and the game play is well thought out to keep the game fun time and time again.
The objective of the game is to not be blown up by a kitten (yes, you read that correctly), and the last player standing is the winner. You use defuse cards to save yourself and action cards to screw over your opponent. Exploding Kittens comes with either safe for work or NSFW artwork which is almost as entertaining as the game itself. If you like cats then you have to get this game, to play at home or to play while you’re traveling!
Exploding kittens is for 2 to 5 players and you’ll find that most games continue until the last card in the deck. It can take around 15 – 20 minutes per game. This is a fantastic game to play while traveling but you may want to buy the travel case or use a different card box, as the original box the game comes in is a little bulky. The humor in Exploding Kittens is a winner and why it has a spot on the best games for traveling.
This game about badly behaved dogs is hot off kickstarter but it will eventually be available on Amazon. You can get more details about the game and how to order it from the Dodgy Dogs website. The artwork is adorable and a lot of thought has gone into this game. It is super easy to play and suitable for all ages.
The objective of this game is to get rid of all your Dodgy Dogs as quickly as possible, because who wants a handful of Dodgy Dogs? There are also special cards to spice up the game. This game is for all the dog lovers out there who may recognize some of their own mischief makers!
Dodgy Dogs can be played by 2 to 5 players and is perfect for when you have little to no space for games. The game is a standard sized deck of cards so you won’t notice it in your hand luggage. For a delightful game that will give you hours of fun, get yourself this travel game to play while you’re traveling or even just having a relaxed evening at home with your friends.
For a change of pace, Cat Rescue is a cooperative game, great if you don’t want to destroy relationships and ruin friendships while traveling! This game of saving cats has the cutest designs and any cat obsessed person will fall in love with the artwork. This is also a kickstarter project that will soon become available elsewhere. and you can find more about the game and ordering it from the cat rescue kickstarter page.
The objective of the game is to rescue as many cats as you can which will help you gain points. You are working as a team to rescue cats and get them adopted from the cat shelter. The game play is simple yet fun and is based an creating cat sets.
Interestingly this game is suitable for 1 to 4 players, so if you’re a solo traveler then this game is for you too! The game lasts until the deck is depleted or when a rescue home has 3 cats. The box that the game comes in is bulky and a nuisance to travel with but it comes with a felt bag to safely store your cards and for traveling. It is well deserving of its place on the best games for traveling!
Best non-card games for traveling
Bananagrams is scrabble without the annoying board and having your great words ruthlessly messed up by fellow players. All your letters zip up conveniently in a little banana shaped bag and it is so light it hardly adds anything to your luggage. Bananagrams is suitable for 2-8 players.
This game can get a little noisy if you’re in a small space because you’re rolling 5 dice. The objective of Yahtzee is to achieve different dice combinations in 3 throws. You will need a score sheet and 5 dice. This game is exceptionally compact and as long as you have a space to roll dice, you can play it almost anywhere. I often play this game solo but you can have any number of players as well making it one of the best games for traveling.
Pass the Pigs
Pass the Pigs is a delightfully ridiculous game that requires you to roll 2 little pigs and your score is based on how they land. A set comes travel ready in a small case that holds the pigs and score sheets. Like Yahtzee you can play this game by yourself for the solo travelers but the more the merrier! You will need space to roll the pigs but even the smallest coffee table or airplane food tray will be big enough.
Although Yunnori is technically a traditional Korean board game, the board can be printed on a piece of paper and folded up for easy travel, the moving pieces can be coins and the actual Yunnori sticks are very compact and easy to carry. The Yunnori sticks are thrown to move your piece around the board in a game that is similar to Ludo. It can be played with teams and any number of players, making it one of the best games for traveling.
A normal deck of cards – The Best Games for Traveling
A deck of cards should be every traveler’s best friend. They’re cheap, you can find them almost anywhere around the world and there are so many great games you can play if you know the rules. Cards are also easy to travel with making classic cards games some of the best games for traveling.
Egyptian Rat Screw
Objective: acquire all the cards in the game.
How to play:
- Deal out the entire deck to all the players. Players mustn’t look at their cards.
- Going around the circle players play the top card of their hand on to the pile.
- If a player plays a face card or an Ace, the next player must play a set number of cards on to the pile (See below). If they do not play another face card or Ace, the previous player gets the pile. If they do have a face card or Ace, the next player in direction of play must reveal cards until they have a face card or Ace and so on until no face card or Ace is played.
- Jack – next player plays 1 card
- Queen – next player plays 2 cards
- King – next player plays 3 cards
- Ace – next player plays 4 cards
- If a double is played, the first person to get their hand on the pile takes all the cards.
- A person is out if they run out of cards but they can try to steal the pile when a double is played.
- The winner is the last player with all the cards
Bullshit / Cheat / Liar / Bluff / etc
Objective: Get rid of all your cards.
How to play:
- Deal out all the cards.
- The first player plays a card face down and announces the rank (eg. 5)
- The next player must play a card, face down, that is either 1 above, 1 below or the same and announce what they have played.
- This continues until someone calls bullshit. At any point that you think someone is lying about what card they played you can call bullshit, unless the next player has put down their card. If the player was lying then they must pick up the entire pile. If they were not lying then the person calling bullshit must take the entire pile.
- The first player to successfully get rid of all their cards is the winner.
- There are numerous variations on this game so generally go with the rules of the person who owns the deck!
Objective: Get all the cards.
How to play:
- Deal out all the cards. You mustn’t look at your cards.
- Go around the circle and deal cards off the bottom of your deck onto a pile in the center.
- If there is a match, the first player to get their hand on top of the cards takes them all.
- The first player to get all the cards, wins.
Objective: Get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible.
How to play:
- Deal 20 cards to each player, place 2 cards face down, next to each other in the center and then deal the last 10 cards into 2 piles of 5, face down, on either side of the 2 single cards.
- Each player draws 5 cards from their pile of 20 into their starting hands.
- When both players are ready, start by turning over the 2 center cards.
- Each player must get rid of their cards by placing them on the 2 piles in the center. You can only place a card above or below the value of the cards in the center. King cycles to Ace and you can play a King back on an Ace.
- As you take cards out of your hand of 5, you can keep drawing from your original pile of twenty.
- If neither player can make a move with the cards in the center, you can deal 2 new cards from the stacks of 5 cards next to the center cards.
- The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner.
Objective: Collect the most sets of cards.
How to play:
- Each player is dealt 5 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in the center.
- Each player has a turn to ask another player for a certain card, eg “give me all your 9s”. If the player has any 9s they must give all of them to the asking player. The asking player can then ask a different player for cards. If they do not have any 9s then they will tell the asking player to ‘Go Fish’.
- If a player manages to get a whole set of 4 cards (four 9s) then they must reveal the cards and place them face up in front of themselves.
- If a player is told to ‘Go Fish’, they must draw a card from the pile in the center and it is then next player’s turn.
- The game finishes when all the sets have been made
Best games for traveling that need no props
One player chooses an object in the area you are playing and gives the other players only the first letter. For example if I’m looking at a coffee cup, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘C'”. The other players must guess until the correctly guess the object.
You may laugh off this as a child’s game but when you’re bored I spy can keep you entertained for hours!
Starting with the letter ‘A’, players must try and find written words in places like signs with each letter of the alphabet in the correct order. For example, ‘restAurant’ then ‘Baggage claim’ then ‘hot Chocolate’. You cannot use the same word twice and you must go in alphabetical order.
It seems like a simple game but you will find certain letters really give you a tough time!
This is great, classic game. A player thinks of something, a famous person, a place, an animal, anything. The other players have 20 questions to try and figure out what the first player is thinking. The questions can only be yes or no questions and they must be answered truthfully.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Before you shake your head in disbelief that this game made it onto the list of best games for traveling, try it and see how easily you get drawn into the simplicity of the the game. You can also play this with multiple people. It is hugely popular here in Korea which made me realize the entertainment potential of rock, paper, scissors.
Tennis, Elbow, Knee
The first player begins by saying any word, for example, ‘Tennis”. The next player must say a word that relates in some way to the first, for example, “Elbow”. Words cannot be repeated. This game continues until you run out of relating words or you get bored of it!
Best games for traveling – final words
With devices like cell phones and tablets and with airports getting much better at creating charging stations you will rarely be in need of a game while you’re traveling. But games are a great way to interact with your traveling companions and even make new friends. If you don’t think you are a game type of person then I challenge you to just try one of these games. You may find that you can get some real enjoyment out of it.
If you have any games that you feel should be part of the best games for traveling, feel free to drop us an email or leave a comment, I love to discover new games!
Happy travels and blue skies!
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