Whether you take short road trips, long journeys, or just host dinner parties, there’s nothing like a classic game to bring people together. Instead of parking it in front of a movie, get the party chatting and laughing with a great, classic board game. Even a portable version of your favorite game can be fun at home. Travel board games for adults are often just as fun for the entire family too. And, family game night is yet another great tool in your cord cutter toolbox.
The best travel games for adults won’t take up too much space in your luggage or your brain. The perfect travel game will be compact and easy to understand so it can be played as soon as the dinner dishes are cleared. Minimal small pieces, set-up, and instructions are a must for a great travel game.
Portable board games are some of the best games to play when you’re on the go with family or friends. But, not all board games travel well. All those little pieces and parts can get lost in a car seat just as easily as they can in your couch cushions. And, there’s nothing worse than getting home from a trip and realizing that you left pieces behind.
So, we’ve decided to include card games and a couple of app suggestions as well.
Now, we’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with relaxing and watching a great family movie when you’re traveling. In fact, we wrote a whole article about the best streaming services to travel with. We’re just saying that some balance is always a good thing. And, sitting with your friends and family and playing a game is a fantastic alternative when you don’t want to watch a show or movie.
So, let’s dig into what makes a perfect travel game and then list some of the best travel board games out there so you can be prepared next time you get in the car.
Best travel games for adults
Whether you’re going to some major cities or even visiting all the countries of the world, a great travel game is essential for downtime. What makes an excellent game for travel? The answer will depend a little bit on your personality of course as well as the group you’re with. However, for us, a fun travel game needs to be portable.
No one wants to devote a lot of mental energy to a challenging set of rules at the end of a long day of traveling. That’s why most of us reach for the TV remote instead. Who here has groaned – mentally or out loud – when a friend brings out a brand new, endlessly complex board game when all you want to do is relax?
Also, a travel size game isn’t a winner just because it’s a small version of a “regular” game. The best thing about a great travel game is that it holds everyone’s attention and brings them all together through fun. Whether it’s a great travel card game or a portable version of one of the many popular board games available, there’s something for every family.
There are even games about travel! Some of the best travel-themed board games can be very meta if you’re on a trip, and who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their lives?
We’ve got a great list of fun, easy travel board games coming up, but if road trips are made of the journey, not the destination, why not spend a little time talking about travel games for the car?
Best travel games for the car
What makes a great game when you’re actively on the go? Travel games are a great way to pass the time in the car if you’re tired of streaming or playing video games. Get your eyes off the screen and engage with a fun game for a bit.
The best travel games to play in the car don’t have a lot of pieces or need lots of setup. They can be played by small or larger groups, and ideally, they won’t distract the driver. Word games and trivia games are great for traveling in the car. Simple games work best in the car as well. Many popular games also have a travel version.
Simple card games and word games are great for the car. Setting up a Monopoly board on the console would be pretty impractical. Stick to the following simple card games for an awesome game session with family or friends on your next long journey.
Best travel card games for adults
- Exploding Kittens
- Go Fish
- Sushi Go!
- Cards Against Humanity
- Apples to Apples
Note: If you have younger kids in the car, Cards Against Humanity won’t be the best choice for them. Apples to Apples is a great, kid-friendly alternative. It’s actually really fun, and there’s a family version if you need that option too.
We really love playing trivia games while we’re driving on a road trip. Those require no setup at all, have no pieces to lose, and are one of the few games that a driver can actually participate in. Still, be extremely careful while driving, and never drive distracted. Usually, we’re playing trivia games that are available on a mobile phone.
Give Jeopardy! or Popcorn Trivia a try, or find one of your own favorites and let us know in the comments!
Best board games for travel
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s time to relax and unwind after a long day of traveling. Don’t reach for your laptop to watch TV or a movie when you could be playing some of these awesome board games instead.
Settling into a game of classic Monopoly could take your entire trip, so pack Monopoly Deal instead. It’s a strategy card game based on the original version, but it retains all of the dynamics while introducing quick, exciting gameplay. Unlike Monopoly, this travel edition doesn’t take much time to get interesting.
The objective of the game is to complete your property set, and rounds can be completed super quickly! It’s perfect for a fun few rounds after dinner or before you set off to sightsee. With simple rules and only a single deck of cards, Monopoly Deal can easily make its way into your backpack.
Why we love Monopoly Deal:
- Compact size
- Great party game
- Features both luck and strategy
A celebration of the US National Parks, PARKS is an awesome portable board game to play while on a trip, especially if your destination is one of the fifty-nine national parks included in the game. A celebration of iconic landmarks and collaborative gameplay means your group will never run out of fun.
Collect resources to visit different national parks while on the trail and share gear with fellow hikers. Players score points by visiting many national parks. PARKS can be played with up to five people, and you can complete the game in less than an hour.
Why we love PARKS:
- Travel-themed board game
- Collaborative gameplay
- Perfect game for camping trips
One of the ultimate travel-size games is Love Letter. This is an original game where you and up to three other players compete to deliver your love letter to the princess. There are only sixteen game cards, so rounds are quick, and you don’t need much space. But, it’s a fun way to spend some quality time with fellow travelers.
Why we love Love Letter:
- Fast gameplay
- Small box – great themed packaging
- Highly competitive
- Lighthearted and funny
CATAN Dice Game
If you love settlers of CATAN, pack their dice game on your next trip. CATAN is one of the best board games out there right now. But, there’s no question that it’s too long and complicated for travel. The dice game is a spin on the popular board game. The entire game can be completed in under an hour, and it fits right into your travel bag.
Like CATAN, players are in charge of different countries, or “islands”, and the goal is the same. The important thing to know is CATAN Dice Game is much simpler to learn and quicker to play than the full game. But, strategy is still important in all the different ways you can win.
Why we love CATAN Dice Game:
- Highly strategic
- Slower gameplay
- Challenging game
Trivia Crack the Board Game
Who doesn’t love having the correct answers in a trivia round? Adults will remember the heydey of the popular trivia app Trivia Crack, and the board game version will be a hit on your next trip. Be the first player to reach the finish space by correctly answering enough questions, and you win!
Why we love Trivia Crack the Board Game
- Competitive game
- Great for families
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
If you haven’t played Werewolf before, you need to run out and buy it right now. There are a few different versions of this game, but One Night Ultimate Werewolf is the one we’ve had the most fun playing. It’s an awesome game for traveling because there is minimal setup and maximum hilarity.
The aim of the game is to find the werewolf. It sounds simple, but it’s anything but! Scheme against your friends and work together to keep the villagers from getting eaten at the end of the game. A round of Werewolf is pretty short, so you’ll get a turn to play each of the different roles. The goal of the game changes based on which card you draw.
Why we love One Night Ultimate Werewolf:
- Highly social
- Logic puzzle and strategy
- Good choice for friends
Best road trip games for families
Sometimes it’s really difficult to find a good board game that’s fun for younger players but doesn’t bore parents to tears. Trust us, we’ve been there. But, there are some great options.
So, take family board game nights on the road when you travel and have some fun together. Parking them in front of the iPad might be the easiest option, but you’ll have so much fun playing a game together the next time you travel with your family.
Remember, it’s all about balance. Enjoy movie night on the road too. But, the more you engage with your traveling companions, the more the trip will mean in the end.
The best road trip games for families will be engaging for adults and kids alike. Pick a game like Sushi Go! that’s simple and funny or Apples to Apples. Kids of all skill levels will have fun, and parents won’t get bored. Like a great cartoon, a great road trip game has something for everyone.
Some of our favorite games appeal to kids. Everyone likes a fun, colorful card game, and the best part is you’ll be spending time together. It’s a better way to get kids talking and having fun on the road than just sticking a TV show in their faces.
If you have much younger children, you’ll need a very simple game so everyone can have a lot of fun. Still, we know entertaining kids can be a roll of the dice. When all else fails, a word game will never let you down. Count out-of-state license plates or assign points to different colored cars and see who can win!
Travel board games for adults – final thoughts
A perfect game for travel is a fun, portable game that doesn’t require a lot to set up or learn, and it should be a game that your group has a lot of fun playing. One of the best ways to enjoy your trip is to ensure that you’re spending your downtime playing a great game together.
If you travel with the same group every year, like your family or some great friends, it can be fun to find a game with lots of expansion packs so you can keep things fresh while maintaining a tradition with your fellow players.
What are your favorite games for travel? Bonus points if you tell us where you traveled with it.