15 Travel Games Worth Packing
As a family who loves to travel, I have found it comes in handy to have a game or two stashed in a carryon. Be prepared so you can minimize the pain of unexpected travel delays, make the most of rainy days at the beach, or bring some fun to game night with pizza (and wine) for a relaxing evening in.
This list contains games that can be played solo, amongst kids, or even be entertaining for the entire family. Many of them are also great to send to sleep-away-camp.
Dobble/Spot It Depending on your country, this game is called either Dobble or Spot It. I only recently played it when a friend in the UK gifted it to our family for a long road trip. It packs easily and takes about 10-15 minutes to play any of the 5 game variations. Recommended for Ages 7+, though I think interested 5-6 year-olds could join in.
Uno Everyone knows Uno. Specialized sets are now available, including a waterproof set for the beach! Find a deck to match your childs’ interest: Uno Wilderness, Minecraft, Princess, Super Mario, Unicorns, Disney, Minions (and more!) exist. Recommended for Ages 7+.
Richard Scarry Cars and Trucks Card Game When my kids were little, this one was a hit (my children love all types of transportation and also all things Richard Scarry). Oversized cards are perfect for younger kids to hold. It is easy to learn and kids can play alone or with a grownup. Recommended for Ages 3+.
Iota This is the smallest and lightest game I have seen, and it is actually fun to play. This game of strategy does need space as the grid grows, so it is a wonderful option to play once your family is settled at your destination. Recommended for Ages 8+.
Backpacker: The Ultimate Travel Game In this card game, like real traveling, you will constantly be faced with choices, so you'll need to play the right card at the right time. Visit one or many continents, enjoy bonus events, get good and bad advice, avoid getting sick or missing your plane. Recommended for Ages 10+.
Deck of Cards A basic deck of cards allows for SO MANY games that can be played alone or with a group. You can find a deck at any gas station or rest stop, or order a custom design online. The book, Super Fun Family Card Games is filled with easy-to-read rules for over 75 card games. The kindle version is free (and weighs a lot less). Recommended for All Ages.
Mad Libs Also known as, “the world’s greatest word game,” Mad Libs are great for camp, car trips, relaxing poolside, or even rainy afternoons in a hotel. With hundreds of types of Mad Libs, search for one that will appeal to your child(ren). Recommended for Ages 7+ but younger children love to participate with a little help.
Bananagrams Easier to travel with than Scrabble, Bananagrams is a fun way to encourage children (and adults) to work on their vocabulary and strategy skills. Recommended for Ages 7+, though now they offer a younger version for Ages 4+, great for pre-readers and early learners.
Mexican Train Dominoes These are not exactly light, yet we bring them on almost every trip because everyone loves to play. Once you have mastery of the rules, this becomes a game of strategy. Take care to keep all the pieces together. The game can be played by 1-8 players, which makes it ideal for all types of getaways. Recommended for Ages 6+.
Catan Dice Game The Catan Dice Game is great for play on-the-go. Similar to other "Settlers of Catan" games, the goal is to build settlements, roads, cities and hire knights. Much quicker and easier to learn than the original, this version is a great way to introduce kids to the popular strategic game series. You can even play it as a single-player game. Recommended for Ages 7+.
Qwixx A portable Gamewright game, it is easy to play, and can get wildly competitive. The rules take a good read through, and sometimes a reminding peak, but once you have them down, the game moves fast. Great to promote math skills and strategic thinking about probabilities. Recommended for Ages 8+.
Travel Chess Once kids have a basic knowledge of Chess (mine learned the basics with No Stress Chess), they really love to practice various strategies in matches with one another. Travel sets can range greatly in price, but this one is affordable, light, has magnetic pieces, and keeps the pieces inside when not in use. Recommended for Ages 6+.
Rush Hour Rush Hour is a logic puzzle that encourages reasoning and planning skills as your child attempts to get the red car out of the traffic jam. Includes 40 different challenges ranging from Beginner to Expert. Rush Hour Jr. skews the difficulty for younger kids (Ages 5-8), with 40 progressive challenges. I recommend a case so you can keep the pieces while you are on-the-go. Recommended for Ages 8+.
Paint By Sticker Not so much a game, but definitely worth bringing on any trip to encourage quiet time. These books are available in a variety of themes and difficulty. Great for planes, car rides, or just some down time wherever you go. I brought one along for myself during our last trip and found it incredibly calming and oddly satisfying. Recommended for Ages 4+ (the kids books have fewer and larger stickers).
Yahtzee Handheld Digital Game Warning: This game is HIGHLY addictive. I have nothing against traditional Yahtzee, but sometimes it’s more fun to try to beat your own high score (or encourage kids to play quietly on their own). Recommended for Ages 8+ but if your kids know how to play Yahtzee, they can figure this out.