Board games are more popular than ever before, with some experts predicting that the industry will be worth more than $9 billion by 2023. Travel games make a great companion on any holiday, day out or road trip for friends, couples and families alike.
Whether you're looking for something to pass the time on the plane or a fun kids activity while you're away from home, we've reviewed the ten best group and 2-player travel games available online at Amazon, eBay and Argos. These compact games take up little to no space in a bag and you won't have to worry about the batteries running out while you're in the middle of playing. Take a look and start planning that trip away!
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One of the most important things to consider is the number of players who can play at once. Most travel games are aimed at groups of between 2-4 players, with some working better for a couple's retreat by focusing on a two-player experience and others being better suited to larger groups.
Some games can only be played with a specific number of people or work better with certain numbers. A party game aimed at entertaining a higher number of players, for example, won't be as fun if it's just two people playing even if it's technically possible. We’ve noted the number of players the game works best with rather than the maximum it is able to accommodate.
Planning a group trip? Liven up your evenings with a party game.
If you're travelling with your family for a week or two away on holiday, you'll want to make sure that the games you take are suitable for everyone in terms of complexity and content. While games like Uno and Rummikub are great for all ages, something like Scrabble isn't going to hold younger children's interest due to its comparative difficulty.
Travelling with an adult group of friends doesn't mean that you need to fill your bags with games that are all 18+, like Cards Against Humanity, but taking simpler, child-friendly games may result in playing a couple of rounds before your group gets bored. Make sure you tailor the games you bring to the age and interests of the group you're travelling with.
Whether you're looking for something to play on the journey itself or once you arrive at your destination, it's worth knowing how long an average game takes to play. Most travel games differ from other board games in that the games, or rounds, only take around 20-30 minutes but are designed to be played multiple times.
You won't find any long-form, complicated rules-based or story-driven experiences, but rather games with simple rules and fast-paced turns. When most great travel games finish, everyone's immediate thought should be to play another match!
Why not pack a chess set if you've got more time to spare?
Nearly all travel games are designed to take up as little space as possible, both in terms of how they're packaged up and how much real estate it takes to play. If you're looking for something to keep the kids entertained on a long car journey or flight, you'll want something that doesn't take much space to play or can be held in a hand.
Card and tile-based games take up practically no space when travelling but require a larger surface like a table to play, making them perfect for an activity once you've arrived at your destination. Luckily, most travel games are easy to set up so you won't have to spend ages unpacking lots of little pieces!
Many parents also swear by a tablet when travelling with kids!
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A Two-Player Masterpiece That's Perfect for Couples
Great Fun for All Generations
A Classic Card Game That Everyone Loves
A Fast, Fun-Filled Educational Word Game
A True Classic That's Great Played Solo or With Up to 8 Friends
A Frantic and Uniquely Family-Friendly Party Game
Why Not Avo' Go at This Snap-Based Card Game?
Pocket-Sized Fun Makes This an Ideal Party or Travel Game
Guess Who? Grab and Go
A Children's Classic for Trips in the Car
Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity: UK Edition
Offensive Fun for Older Groups of Up to 20
Hive is simply the best two-player game on our list, making it a perfect choice for couples to play together on a long trip or simply to throw in a bag when heading out for an afternoon coffee. Easy to learn but difficult to master, it's fun at any skill level.
The pocket edition comes with a handy travel bag and the game can be played on any surface – and in practically any environment – thanks to the robust tiles and the fact that it doesn't require a board to play. This award-winning masterpiece is a must-play for any board game fan!
You don't often come across games that are recommended for groups of any age, but Rummikub stands out as a title that really is for everyone. A stripped-down mash-up of rummy and mahjong, the goal is to use all your tiles to make runs of numbers, either matching or sequential, or colours.
Rummikub is simple to understand, even for children as young as 7 years old, and makes a great evening activity on family trips away. It's also not often that a game evenly pits grandparents against grandchildren, but Rummikub manages it with aplomb.
It feels strange trying to describe UNO as it's basically a card-game institution, but the goal is to empty your hand by taking turns matching a card to the top of the pile, by either colour or number. Don't forget to shout UNO when you only have one card left!
This version of the game features a tin carry case which easily keeps all the cards safely protected together while travelling. UNO is a fun game for children and adults alike and should be a feature of any family's collection.
If you're not familiar with Bananagrams, it's similar to Scrabble but without the board and the goal is not to get the most points but to use up all of your tiles. Instead of taking it in turns, it's a race between the players to see who can finish the quickest.
Unlike similar games like Scrabble and Boggle, Bananagrams is child-friendly as it is about solving the puzzle of how to fit all your letters together rather than having a comprehensive, dictionary-like spelling ability.
Boggle has the reputation as something of a dry game which may not make it one of the best party games out there, but if you're travelling solo or with fans of the game, then it's one of the best around.
Its travel credentials are great as everything fits together into a neat little package, and although the rounds are short, it's quick and easy to shake the case, turn the timer and play again. You will need a pen and paper handy though.
Similar to UNO, this new entry into the world of quick-fire card games is great for families. You take turns picking up and playing cards in order to avoid drawing the exploding kitten. There's a lot of fun to be had in playing a card that skips your turn and forces the next person to pick up the titular card.
The theme really goes a long way in providing a fast and frantic atmosphere, and the artwork is something truly unique but not to everyone's tastes. Just make sure to pick up the family-friendly version if you're playing with kids!
If you're looking for a game to test your reactions and reflexes, then this delightfully packaged avocado-themed card game is a great choice for travelling as everything fits neatly into its surprisingly robust avocado shell.
The aim of the game is to empty your hand by smashing your hand down on the centre pile and shouting when matching cards appear. It's loud and a lot of fun, but it is purely a reflex game so it's not for those who enjoy a more strategic experience.
Dobble is an observation game where players have to be quick in matching symbols on circular cards, with each of the 55 cards being totally unique and matching with only one other in the deck. It may look childish, but it can be quite devilish when played.
The game fits neatly into a pocket-sized tin, making it perfect for any trip out of the house with the family. As it's a game based on reactions and perception, both children and adults are on an even playing field but there is little strategy to be found.
If you're looking for something to keep a couple of kids quiet on a long car journey, then you can't go wrong with Guess Who? This grab-and-go version of the classic game is the perfect size for travelling and easy to set up.
While great for younger children, this probably won't keep teenagers occupied for long. Most games with a 6+ or similar age recommendation are suitable for a wide audience but Guess Who? isn't that fun for adults.
Cards Against Humanity has been a huge success story and is one of the most popular games worldwide thanks to its unashamedly offensive statements. If you're looking for a party game for an adult weekend away, then this is a fantastic choice.
The goal is to use your cards to make a humorous statement that one of the other players judges to be the best. Those who are fans of systems, mechanics and rules will have no fun here but those just looking to laugh will have a grand time!
Written and researched by David Sexton
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