Whenever we take a road trip with the kids, we bring a few travel games along. Having a handful of board games on hand is basically a requirement for us. No matter our destination, I know there will be downtime in the hotel room.
I like to pack a few board games to play with the kids as they wind down for the night, or if our vacation plans are disrupted by weather. My husband and I also enjoy playing card games after the kids go to sleep.
I could easily fill a carry-on with an assortment of tabletop games, but I usually pack three to five options. Of course, this varies depending on what we’re planning to do and the length of the trip.
How to Choose Which Games to Pack
There are a few things to consider when deciding the best games to take on the road. Some of my favorite games will never go on vacation with me because they just aren’t practical when traveling. These are the five things I think about when deciding which games come along and which ones stay at home.
- Size of the box: The smaller, the better.
- Weight of the box: Even if it fits into the luggage, it stays home if it’s too heavy.
- Table space: Does this game take a lot of room to play? Or can it be played on a small hotel table, on the bed, or on the floor?
- Noise level: Some games get my kids really excited, which means we may be too loud for a hotel room. Other games have noisier components than others.
- Game length: We tend to pack quick games that can be played in 30 minutes or less.
20 Games to Take on the Road
Whether you want to slip a couple of games into your bag or dedicate an entire suitcase, here are 20 games I recommend taking with you on a trip.
Banagrams and its family of games are perfect for traveling. It’s a fun way to to practice spelling while on vacation. Plus, it holds all its pieces in that adorable zippered pouch.
Carcassonne the Dice Game
This game is small and compact, allowing you to build castles quickly and on the go. It’s a very fast game, making it perfect for filling a little bit of time.
This board game is one of the larger games on this list, though the cards could be repacked into a smaller container for your trip, if needed. It’s a great option for playing casually in a hotel room. It’s also an excellent party game to introduce to your family and friends.
Dragonwood by Gamewright Games is a fun card-and-dice adventure game to play with the kids. It won’t take up a lot of room in your bag and doesn’t need a lot of table space to play.
This game is a Dungeons & Dragons card game. Its tiny box fits in my purse, and you can play the game in about 10 minutes.
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th, another card game, this one by Iello, is a quick-and-easy card game in which you try not to have bad luck by picking up too many cards or scoring too many points.
Perfect for couples, this one is a two-player-only card game. You only need a small area to play, and you don’t even have to talk to each other while playing. My husband and I enjoy playing this when the kids are asleep and we need something quiet to do in the hotel room.
Harvest Dice is a fun roll-and-write game in which you select dice to plant lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes in your garden. The box is small and contains everything you need to play — including pencils.
Another fun card game, Hero Realms is a fantasy deck-building card game for two to four players. My husband and I frequently take this game along on trips. It is one of our most-played games.
Inoka by XYZ Game Labs is a small, “rock-paper-scissors” style card game with beautiful artwork. It’s a fun, casual game.
Kingdomino by Blue Orange Games is one of our top favorite games. It’s one of the biggest boxes on this list, but it’s still compact enough to pack in a suitcase or backpack. It’s an incredibly fun tile placement game. You do need some space to build your kingdoms though.
Not Parent Approved
This one is a favorite of my daughter. It’s a card game in which you fill in the blanks to make hilarious sentences. Full of kid-friendly options that will make them laugh out loud, it’s a casual game that requires virtually no setup other than setting out the cards.
Qwirkle is a fun, abstract strategy game by MindWare in which you match up the color or shape on wooden blocks. You will need some space to lay out your blocks.
This is a fast roll-and-write dice game. It’s an engaging way to practice math with the kids while on vacation!
This is a simple yet cute card game where you draft cards to create a robot.
RobotLab: The Card Game
This card game by XYZ Game Labs is another game where you are building a robot. Be the first to collect all the parts you need, but watch out because your opponent can slow you down by adding the wrong parts.
Tea Dragon Society Card Game
An adorable card-drafting game, the Tea Dragon Society is based on a graphic novel. Even though you are trying to collect the most points, this game has an overall relaxing vibe.
Ticket to Ride New York
Ticket to Ride New York, from Days of Wonder, is a quick game for two to four players. It’s the smallest and fastest Ticket to Ride game we own! Complete routes with your taxi cabs all around New York City.
Yogi is a dexterity party game. The small tin easily fits in my bag and it doesn’t take long to start playing and feeling like a human pretzel!
This dice game is small and is easy to open up and start playing. You just need room to roll three dice at a time.
These games are ones we love playing and often stick into our luggage when we travel. We hope our list inspires you to take a few board games with you on your next trip!
What will you play next?