Four Great Travel Games – Fun for All Ages!


Carry-on games

We’ve talked before about how getting away from the “busy-ness” of home is one of the great advantages of travel. The pull to keep tackling the to-do list can be strong, and it’s often difficult to feel like you can just put it aside. But hopefully most of us leave the to-do list at home when we head out for vacation, leaving more time to relax. One way we like to add to that relaxation while we’re on vacation is to play games. Travel games can also fill downtime in airports or bus & train stations while traveling, and can be a great way to keep the kids happy on long travel days! Here are four of our favorites.

One of our favorite and no-fail vacation games is the license plate game. Apparently it’s pretty popular with other folks, too, because our review of five license plate game apps is the number one hit on Google when searching for “license plate game app”! If you’re looking for a good app for the license plate game, check out our post. However, it can easily be played with paper and pencil, or with a map and some highlighters (a great way to learn geography!). We’ve only gotten all fifty states once, but we have fun playing every time!

Cinnamon Bay, St. John, USVI

Our picnic table was good for meals & cards!

A simple deck of cards can provide hours of entertainment, and takes up virtually no room in your luggage (pack light!). Play an old favorite or learn a new game. Have a trip-long tournament, tracking who wins the most games. A deck of cards is also a good way to make new friends at a hostel, campground, or B&B!

Like to play cribbage? Pick up a mini travel cribbage board, or just tally the points instead of packing a cribbage board. Another option: use the free Cribbage Pegboard app for iPhone or for Android. Neither are quite as fun as chasing those pegs around the board, but they work well and you’ll have one less thing to pack!

Like a deck of cards, a handful of dice take up virtually no room and can provide hours of entertainment. With six dice, you can play these three easy games (and more!):

  • Yahtzee uses five dice and is fun for all ages and group sizes. Bring along a few scoresheets, use the free Yahtzee scorecard for iPad, or look for a scoresheet app for your smartphone.
  • 10,000 (aka Farkle) – fun game for all ages, with some strategy involved and with lots of variations of the rules.
  • Cinqo – when playing this game, it helps to have one die that’s a different color to use as the hi/lo die, but it isn’t necessary. Check out the rules.
  • Tenzi – if you’re not pressed for space, you can pack more dice to play Tenzi in all its many versions. Tenzi requires 10 dice per person. We had a great Tenzi tourney at the beach recently, and it’s great for all ages!

Spaceteam screen shot

Really looking to pack light? Here are some of our favorite iPhone games, which are real space savers!

  • Heads Up – we found out about this fun one watching another couple play it on an airplane.  We had to know what they were doing! 99¢. Android version, too.
  • Spaceteam – this one gets loud and crazy – not good for places where others can be disturbed! Check out this review. Free. Android version, too.
  • Qwirkle – we love this one, but it only seems to work for two players via pass and play. $2.99.

We absolutely love the free Scorekeeper XL app for iPhone. It’s a great way to keep score for any game, and it’s easy to use!

What games do you like to play on vacation?  Leave us a note in the comments, and enjoy playing some games on your next travel adventure, whether it’s for a week or a weekend.


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