15 best travel games for families

by Jan

Planning a journey?  Well don’t forget to pack some fun travel games.  Whether you are on a road trip or travelling by train or plane, travel games are always useful to help while away the hours.  Plus, they make a well-earned rest from technology.  Our guide will give you the best travel games for all the family.

The ideal travel game is small, compact and light.  You need something that won’t occupy much space and won’t get damaged en-route.  Ideally, a game that is quick to play and easy to learn, so you can play with all the family or fellow travellers.  If it comes in a tin, that’s even better!

Parents travelling with children may be looking for some pocket-sized entertainment for the airport lounge, a restaurant or hotel room.  Or, maybe you need something for a rainy day at the campsite or self-catering cottage.  No mater what type of holiday you are on, family travel games make a great break from technology and provide ideal down time entertainment.

Here we share 15 best travel games, that both kids and adults will enjoy. And they are all family games that can be played at home too.

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Travel games for pre-schoolers

Travel games are a lovely way for pre-schoolers to learn some basic skills and have fun at the same time.  Look for games that have simple rules and are easy to learn.  Ideally, they should be bright and appealing.

Old Maid

Travel Games - Old Maid

In Old Maid, players take turns of blindly choosing a card from their neighbour’s pack.  The aim is to avoid being left with the Old Maid card at the end.  When you get a matching pair, you can discard those cards from your hand.

Old Maid is a perfect first travel game for toddlers, as there are not any rules.  We play with a brightly coloured set of animal cards, which are very appealing to younger kids.  However, older children could play Old Maid with a regular set of playing cards, by removing 3 of the Queens.

  • Age:  3+
  • Players:  2-6
  • Buy Here: Old Maid

Happy Families

Happy Families is a simple card game, which can be enjoyed by all the family.  The aim of game is to collect as many sets of families as possible.  Players take turns to ask their opponents for one card, from a family set they already have.  The only skill in Happy Families is remembering which cards have been requested by who and what has already exchanged hands.

Happy Families is a perfect card game for travel, as it is so small and easy to learn.

Travel Games - Happy Families

Jungle snap

Travel Games - Jungle Snap

Snap is probably the first card game that every child learns.  You take in turns of laying your card, until two matching cards are laid.  At this point, you shout snap!  It is such a simple game, but requires quick reactions and good observation skills.

Jungle Snap only varies from the traditional version in that the cards have pictures of animals, which make it more appealing for younger players.  Other variations include Farm Snap, Animal Snap and Disney Snap.

Travel games for children over 5

Once children reach school age, they will have a better concept of taking turns and  following basic instructions.  It is also a good time to start introducing some educational games, that practise spellings or numbers.

Most importantly, family travel games provide perfect entertainment for kids on the move and are a great way to spend family time together.

Are we there yet?

Are We There Yet? is the aptly-named travel game for long car journeys and road trips.  One person has a set of cards with items to spot out of the window.  The first to spot the item wins the points.

Are We There Yet? is the ultimate road trip game.  It is fantastic observational game, which helps children take notice of the scenery outside of the window.   This simple travel game is great for distracting children and relieving the monotony of long journeys.

Furthermore, the cards come in a neat suitcase-styled tin, so is easy to store in the glove compartment of your car.

  • Age:  6+ (though I am sure younger children could join in)
  • Players:  As many as you can fit in your car!
  • Buy Here: Are We There Yet
Travel Games - Are we there yet

Shut the box

Shut the Box is a simple, maths game, which just requires 2 dice and the box. Players have to roll the dice and make number combinations to choose which tiles to flip down.  The aim is to flip down all the numbers from 1-9.

Originally, I bought Shut the Box for the kids to practise their addition, as it requires basic numeracy skills.  However, it is a quick, fun game anyway.  It comes in a small box and is quick to play, so is an ideal travel game.

  • Age:  5+
  • Players:  1+ (you just take in turns)
  • Buy Here: Shut the Box

Dobble

Travel Games - Dobble

Dobble is a very easy game to learn, as there is only one objective, to beat your opponents in spotting the one matching symbol between two cards.

Dobble is definitely one of the best travel games for kids, as it is quick to learn and play.  It can also be played by all ages, though there is actually an even easier version for pre-schoolers.  The Dobble cards come in a small, circular tin, which can fit into any handbag or kid’s rucksack.

  • Age:  6+
  • Players: 2-8
  • Buy Here: Dobble

Too Many Monkeys

In the game of Too Many Monkeys, players flip and swap cards to help Primo the chimp, return to bed.  It is played in rounds and takes about 20 minutes.

It has an element of strategy, but also lots of fun, so is a really good travel game for kids. Too Many Monkeys is another fantastic game from the Gamewright Games selection.

Bananagrams

Bananagrams is similar to scrabble, but without the board.  Players have to use all their letter tiles to build a word grid.  It is a fairly simple game, but is fast and frantic, as players race to finish.

With its unique, yellow, banana-shaped pouch for storage, Bananagrams is a perfect game for travel  Furthremore, it is also an excellent word game for practising spelling, whilst you are travelling.

Uno

Now, I really couldn’t write about best travel games, without mentioning the classic card game,  Uno.  The objective of Uno is to get rid of all the cards in your hand.  However, you must remember to shout Uno when you only have 1 left.

Uno is a perfect travel game, as it is easy to learn and fun for all ages.  It is universally known, so can be played wherever you are travelling to.  Another advantage is that you can play with lots of people, so is an ideal travel game for groups.  Of course,  Uno is not just for families – it’s a perfect card game for backpackers to add to their packing list!

  • Age: 7+
  • Players: 2-10
  • Buy Here: Uno
picture of card game Uno

Travel games for children over 8 and adults

These family travel games all involve a bit more strategy and are fun for kids and adults alike.

Skyjo

Travel Games - skyjo

I recently discovered Skyjo after a mini-break with friends and loved it so much I bought it for our family.  Skyjo is a strategic card game, whose aim is to get the least points in each round.

Although it does involve some strategy, there is some luck on the deal of the Skyjo cards.  It’s easy to learn and is good for all abilities.  Be warned, Skyjo is highly addictive!

  • Age:  8+
  • Players:  2-8
  • Buy here:  Skyjo

Monopoly Deal

Monopoly Deal is a card version of the traditional game of Monopoly, but without the board.  The aim is to collect any 3 sets of properties.  However, you need to watch out for sly deals and stealing from your opponents.  Honestly, I absolutely love this version and think it rates as my favourite of all these travel games.

Monopoly Deal has all the fun of the classic game, but in only 20 minutes.  Furthermore, it comes in a compact, plastic box, so is a perfect for fun on the move.  What could be better?

Travel Games - Monopoly Deal

Pass the Pigs

Travel Games - Pass the pigs

Have you got what it takes to throw a “leaning jowler’ or “Makin’ bacon”‘?  Yes, this is what you need to win at a game of Pass The Pigs.

In this classic game, 2 pigs are used as dice.  Players take turns to throw the pigs, and points are awarded for the landing position of the pigs.  Quite honestly, Pass The Pigs is a very silly game, which makes it so much fun.

Pass The Pigs comes in a light, silver travel case, which contains the pigs, scoreboard, and 2 pencils.  This makes it an ideal travel game.

  • Age:  8+ (though younger children could easily play, if they had help with the scoring)
  • Players:  2-4
  • Buy here: Pass The Pigs

Hexagano Continuo

As the name suggests, the game of Hexagano is played with small hexagonal cards.  The aim of the game is to outscore your opponents, by matching colours or numbers (or both) on as many sides of your hexagon as you can.

Hexagano is a good, travel game for adults or older children, as there is an element of skill and strategy in planning how to gain the optimum score.  Moreover, this would make it an ideal game for children who need to improve their numeracy skills.

  • Age:  8+
  • Players:  1-4
Travel Games - Hexago Continuo

Yahtzee!

Travel Games - Yahtzee

Yahtzee! is a classic dice game from Hasbro, in which you take turns to roll 5 dice.  The object of the game is to get the highest score by rolling different dice combinations.  Now, the strategy comes in how you apply your dice scores, though like most games, there is an element of luck too.

The travel version of Yahtzee! comes in a neat, red box, with the dice and the score pads.  However, I guess if you were really pushed for space, you could take it without the box.  As you can play on your own, it would be a good game for solo travellers or couples on holiday.

  • Age: 8+
  • Players: 1+
  • Buy here: Yahtzee!

Gubs

Gubs is a fantasy card game, made by the award-winning Gamewright Games.  The aim is to be the player with the most free and/or protected Gubs in play with the final letter of the word G-U-B is drawn.  There’s a number of wild cards and tools that players can use to achieve this.

In truth, Gubs is my least favourite of all the travel games, but the kids love it!  The  cards are beautifully illustrated and it comes in a tin, so is an easy game to pack.

  • Age: 10+
  • Players:  2-6
  • Buy here: Gubs
Travel Games - Gubs

Thank you for reading our guide to the best travel games.  Have you got any great games of your own?  Please comment below.

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