Although you’re surrounded by people, the act of traveling is often incredibly anti-social and, quite frankly, boring. And with your kids glued to the screens, it can often seem impossible to start a conversation. Thankfully, portable travel games now exist to divert your fellow traveler’s attentions away from their screens and into the real world.
Intrigued by the concept yet don’t know what game would suit your travel buddies? We’ve compiled together the top twenty travel games out there to see which one tickles your fancy. Let the games begin…
The Best Travel Games
This kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette isn’t for the faint hearted. Set the deck of cards face down and keep on drawing until someone draws the ‘Exploding Kitten’ card. This player will then EXPLODE (in a dramatic fashion, we hope!) and are then out of the game. Unless that player has a Defuse card – which will bring them back from the dead.
The various action cards – like ‘Thousand-year back hair’ and Portable Cheetah Butt’ to name a few – will keep players on their toes. But remember, the longer the game is in play, the greater the chance there is of drawing an exploding kitten. So, if you’ve got nerves of steel and would throw your family members into the path of an exploding kitten without even thinking, this one’s for you.
Plastic-coated cards withstand wear and tear over time
Family-friendly game for 2-5 players
Quirky illustrations to keep kids interested
Strategy-driven game trains kid’s problem-solving skills
- BrandExploding Kittens LLC
- Weight6.4 ounces
Although we can barely say ‘Bananagrams’ without becoming tongue-tied, this fast-paced game is bound to entertain your family through long train rides. Suitable for children aged seven and above, this anagram game is easy to pick up: all you have to do is race to build crossword grids. Whoever uses all their letter tiles first is the winner!
Yet watch out; whenever a player uses all their letters, they must shout ‘peel’ at the top of their voice, so every player takes a new tile. This game is even easily portable thanks to the adorable banana-shaped pouch that holds all the tiles. We guarantee that the whole family will go bananas for it.
Educational game challenges kids spelling skills in a fun way
1-8 player game ideal for family parties and small gatherings alike
Compact banana-shaped pouch is easily portable
Inspires creativity through word choices
- Weight4.8 ounces
Have you and your siblings always fought over who’s the most switched on? Well, Spot It! has granted the opportunity to find out once and for all. When turning two cards over at a time, players frantically search for the picture or symbol that the cards have in common – meaning that there’s never any-down time to this game as it’s always your turn!
This game is easily portable thanks to the hand sized metal tin it comes in, allowing Spot It! to bring families closer together at home and away. And if you’re worried the kids won’t be as fast, believe us when we say that younger eyes move quickly!
Can be played with 2-8 players by all ages
Challenges visual perception, speech-language skills and more
15 minutes of gameplay keeps players interested
Five different ways to play
- Weight5.6 ounces
Warning: if you’re a mollycoddling parent who doesn’t find humor in fart noises, this game is not for you. A clever word play on the infamous Cards Against Humanity, Kids Against Maturity is the PG version that will have your family in stitches.
With more than 500 question and answer cards to choose from, you’ll be in stitches for hours on end. And the bright-blue compact box enables it to be played when on the road. However, beware if you’re the unlucky driver, as your children’s hilarious responses may force you to pull over due to uncontrollable laughter!
500 entertaining question and answer cards
Suitable for kids at and above age eight
Travel sized box can be easily stored
No dice or extra gaming accessories required
- BrandAgainst Maturity
- Weight2.15 pounds
You’ll start off by bringing up a beautiful baby unicorn in your stable… but don’t become too attached! With over twenty magical unicorns to collect, one could be snatched from your protection at the hands of one of your so-called ‘friends’. That’s right, Unstable Unicorns will ruin relationships, marriages, and tear families apart (but we promise you’ll love it).
Plus, with the notorious Neigh Card floating around – congratulations on the brilliant pun TeeTurtle – your unicorn army’s protection through magic could be thwarted within seconds. Suitable for ruthless dictators and those aged fourteen and above, utilize these creative cards wisely in order to rule the world.
Suitable for aged 14 and above
2-8 player capacity can be played as a couple, at a party, or as a family
One of Kickstarter’s Top 50 Most Backed Projects ever
Beautifully illustrated cards inspire creativity
- Weight12.2 ounces
We’ve all been there: you’ve been playing Monopoly for four hours and badly want to finish, but your kid can’t get enough of it. Promising you’ll finish the game tomorrow, life gets in the way and the boardgame – property houses and all – sit out on your kitchen table until someone can be bothered to clean it up.
Monopoly’s Deal Card Game is here to solve all the traditional board games’ drawbacks. Suitable for ages eight and above, this game can be played anywhere with no dollar bills, hotels, and houses to consider. And you can trust the infamous Debt collector and Deal Breaker cards to keep it interesting. What’s not to love?
Portable card game allows user to play compact Monopoly on the go
Suitable for ages eight and above
Debt collector and Deal Breaker cards keep play interesting
No little pieces and money to organize
- Weight3.84 ounces
Moving up the medieval pecking order is the aim, and The Great Dalmuti is the name of the game! This ’empty-your-hand’ style of game, although fast-paced like UNO, focuses heavily on the sequence of turns and subsequent rounds of play to get to where you want to be – at the top of the food chain!
What we love the most about this fun-filled card game is the hierarchy theme that adds an extra dash of fun that doesn’t exist in other similar card games. And physically moving the players to resemble this order keeps the players on their toes. Bound to cause bucketloads of rowdy fun, play if you dare!
15-minute play allows game to be wrapped up quickly
Perfect for groups of 5-10 players
Active play encouraged by changing seat position to resemble hierarchy
80-card commercial deck inspires strategic and risky play
- BrandAvalon Hill
- Weight0.16 ounces
We want our children to grow up possessing the widest range of skills possible to help them succeed. Plus, we want them to have fun through learning! That’s why Hoyle has compiled together six stimulating games to develop your little rugrat’s color identification, counting, and pairing skills.
Enclosing classics such as Slap Jack and Old Maid, your kids will love the creative, colorful artwork that adorns all their cards (as will you)! Plus, each game can be played in 15 minutes or less to keep them interested. Purchase them today and be prepared to enjoy endless hours of play!
Can be played by children over two
Easy to learn and set up
6-in1 pack contains classic kid’s game such as Go Fish
Unique theme present in each game
- Weight8 ounces
Do you need a game to entertain both your young children and parents at family parties? Or a game to amuse yourself on rainy nights? Every one of Kanoodle’s two-hundred puzzles will keep you coming back for more.
With hundreds of possible combinations and the choice of both 2D and 3D puzzles to choose from, Kanoodle will develop confidence as well as being a fun-filled, rewarding game for one and all. And to top it all off, it’s very educational (but don’t tell the kids)!
2D and 3D puzzles suitable for kids to adults
Backed by 365-day risk-free guarantee
Includes over 200 logical thinking puzzles
Hundreds of possible combinations
- BrandEducational Insights
- Weight3.36 ounces
Have you ever really played cards if you haven’t played UNO? The classic is back and better than ever: now even containing customizable wild cards to crank the play up a notch. Now, travel days won’t be spend bored out of your brain but with the family trying to outsmart them.
On a more serious note, UNO is a fantastic way for young children to learn and feel successful. Plus, how to be a gracious loser is a skill we all need to hone (that’s right parents, you’re not off the hook!) Fun and easy to learn, there’s no need to listen to us banging on any longer: UNO sells itself.
19 cards of each color plus extras are built to last
Fun and easy for kids to learn and feel successful
Switch deck card makes game even more exciting
Customizable wild cards encourage players to make their own rules
- BrandMattel Games
- Weight1.6 ounces
Unenthused travelers listen up! Your luck has finally changed. Tile Lock Scrabble has finally been designed to now, you can play it on the go. Its success is down to both the ’tile-lock’ design that keeps your well-thought-of words in place and the soft pads on the bottom that allow its user to smoothly slide and rotate the board wherever they please.
With one-hundred plastic scrabble letter tiles, a handy drawstring tile bag, and a compact-board, this game is ideal for travelling. So, what are you waiting for – buy this game and both words and the world will be your oyster.
‘Tile-lock’ design keeps Scrabble words from sliding away
Contains 100 plastic Scrabble letter tiles
Suitable for children age eight and above
Soft pads on bottom that make rotation and moving board easier
- BrandWinning Moves Games
- Weight1.05 pounds
It’s just like Charades but with a timer! With three different levels of cards and a whopping 320 of them to choose from, this game is perfect for both wholesome family fun as well as boozy game nights with your mates.
The added timer certainly keeps things interesting: players have to physically rescue their card from the slot to avoid it being ‘munched’. And with four consecutive cards in play, you can’t let the pressure get to you…
Three categories of cards are different levels
Timer stops game from becoming dull
Interactive element encouraged by stopping cards from becoming ‘munched’ by timer
320 cards allow game to be reused many times
- BrandHasbro Gaming
- Weight7.4 ounces
Rumor has it that Mancala has been keeping people entertained for thousands of years, starting with the Egyptians. And although playing this game in the confines of a train carriage may not be as appealing as in front of the pyramids, the modern folding version of Mancala makes it a lot easier to cart the gemstones around.
Known as one of the world’s top two-player games, Mancala is simple enough to play with children aged six and above. Not only will your child have loads of fun, their STEM and STEAM skills will be reinforced through strategizing. It’s truly a *gem* of a game.
Builds STEM skills in children
Board is easy to set up
Intriguing two player game has been around for thousands of years
Detailed instructions make understanding rules easier
- Weight1 pounds
With your kids deep into their electronic devices on road trips, it can often be difficult to start a conversation that’s more interesting than their imaginary worlds. Yet with a little push from OUR MOMENTS, your bonding time will be taken to a whole new level.
These thought-provoking question cards won’t only encourage your children to share their hopes and fears, they’ll also strengthen your relationship with them as you leave all lectures and judgements behind. Build to instill confidence and self-esteem in your little one, OUR MOMENTS is a way to encourage your child that their thoughts are cherished.
Asking your children thought provoking questions strengthens bonds
100 question cards that come secure in custom tuck box maintain durability
Backed with a thirty-day warranty
Builds confidence and self-esteem in your child
- BrandOUR MOMENTS
- Weight6.4 ounces
Sometimes after a hard day’s work you just want to sit back, relax, and not have to think. That’s where Pass The Pigs comes in! The game is simple: roll the pigs like dice and whatever way they land determines the amount of points you get.
As well as being perfect for young families looking for a simple game to play together, it’s also ideal for playing on the go thanks to the compact carrying case and cup. Who knew that throwing pigs into their air could be so much fun?
Two to four player game perfect for families
Compact carrying case brightens up travel days
Simple logic is easy to understand
Cup is small and easy to carry on the go
- BrandWinning Moves Games
- ModelWM 1046B
- Weight0.32 ounces
If you’re searching for a rewarding and challenging family game to play on the go, then look no further. Catan Traveler has compactly designed a game that can be played on trains, planes and automobiles alike. And if you’re only traveling as a couple, unlike the original, Catan has included a two-player option!
With the pieces locking into place on the board and the individual trays that store cards, it’s hard not to love this ergonomically designed game. Plus, if you want to play Catan but don’t want to break the bank, this compact model is a viable alternative.
All accessories fit in the travel unit and diced can be rolled with shaker
Drawers under the game board compactly store cards
Two-person game option is perfect for couples
Compact version cheaper than original Catan game
- BrandCatan Studios
- Weight1.64 pounds
The classic Yahtzee game has revolutionized itself for a new generation of travel-hungry youth. The five casino-like dice can be stored compactly inside the sleek shaker – a design perk which is perfect for travelling. And it almost feels like you’re in a real casino with the one-hundred included score cards.
However, you may regret buying this timeless classic. Let’s just say that it brings out the competitive side in parents and children alike!
Sleek shaker compactly stores the five dice
One-hundred included score cards keep players in check
Casino dice are incredibly realistic
Available at a bargain
- BrandHasbro Gaming
- Weight13 ounces
If you’re often tight on time but miss partaking in game nights, Blink is the world’s fastest game when concerning set-up and play. You can mix it up between games by matching the color, shape, or the number of shapes on the card.
As well as noticing your reflexes improve, it’s a fun-filled way to travel; just shove these cards in your pocket and you’re all set. Just don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
Large symbols on colorful design cards make game all-inclusive
Improves quick reflexes over time
Minimal set-up required
Great for improving children’s counting skills
- BrandMattel Games
- Weight4 ounces
We all love a blast from the past, so we’re delighted to announce that Guess Who? is back and better than ever. For us oldies, it even contains all the original faces we knew and loved as children. Although this model cannot be played in a car, it’s ideal when sitting across from each other in a train.
Your children’s (and your own) communication skills will be honed by asking deduction questions about your competitor’s chosen face. Plus, just how well you know your opponent’s personality by guessing who they would choose will be put to the test!
Contains all the original faces you remember
Easy to place cards into the shots
Posing simple deduction questions develops children’s communication skills
Incudes 48 small face cards and 24 mystery cards
- BrandWinning Moves Games
- Weight1.3 pounds
Bingo and road tripping are two delightful activities that almost never mix. But thanks to Regal Games’ portable creation, you can now enjoy double the entertainment. Available in several different colors and themes, this family-friendly bingo centers around what you can see on the outside of the car.
As well as encouraging children to carefully analyze the world around them, they’ll be easily entertained by the fingertip slider windows. Plus, rumor has it that this game will encourage even teenagers to stay away from their devices for long periods of time – which is an achievement in itself!
Looking for items allows player to discover the landscape around them
Fingertip slider windows can easily mark
Available in a variety of colors and themes
Things to spot are in different orders on every card
- BrandRegal Games
- Weight3.84 ounces
Best Travel Game Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Travel Game
- How many accessories does this game contain?
Small pieces will easily get lost when flung about in baggage claim. Opt for a game that allows its pieces to lock on to the board.
- How many people can play this game?
Depending on what kind of adventure you're going on, you may meet others who may be up for a game or two. In this instance, we recommend bringing games that are fun to play in a group.
Our Top Pick
So, out of all the immersive travel games recommended to you today, which one would we take on our own road trips? It would just have to be Exploding Kittens. All fifty-six artistic cards have all been specially selected to keep players on their feet. And the adorable drawings and names distract from the fact you're watching your own family turn into merciless sociopaths in front of your eyes! Play and be careful...
- 5 Tried and True Family Travel Games - HowStuffWorks