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No matter where you’re going on a road trip, travel games can be a great way to pass long hours in the car and create lasting memories.

The best travel games should be small and light enough to pack with you. They should appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. And of course, they should provide hours of entertainment.

With that in mind, the classic card game Uno is our top choice for best overall travel game. It’s compact, fun for everyone, and easy to pack and pull out when the mood strikes. 

But it’s not the only one. We considered portable games in several categories too. From classic board games to Ping Pong-inspired matches, here are the best travel games to take on your next road trip.

The best travel games by category

We break down the best travel games based on different categories like board games, card games, and more.  

The best travel board games

One of the best travel board games is backgammon, considered the national game in many countries across the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This portable version of the classic board game is magnetized so the pieces don’t slide around. Simply open the case, roll the dice, and play. The board may be smaller, but the strategy remains the same. 

Keep in mind: The magnets on the pieces aren’t the strongest but do a good enough job of staying mostly in place. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 | Ages: 5 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: 6 x 3 inches 

Sturdy wooden pucks and a Baltic birch wood case make this portable hockey board game ideal for car trips, camping, or spending a cozy evening in a cabin. You don’t have to be a hockey lover to enjoy this fast-paced game either. It involves a simple sling that fires wooden pucks across the board at your opponent’s goal. 

Keep in mind: The Portable Puck Shot game is a bit large and heavy, making it more suitable for a road trip than for carrying onto a plane. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 | Ages: 6 and up | Minutes to play a round: 5 | Size: 17 x 10.25 inches 


Buy it now on Amazon

It’s not hard to see why Scrabble is one of the most popular board games around. It appeals to players across generations, stimulates the brain, and can spark fun debates. This miniature version comes with snap-in tiles that make it easy to play on bumpy car rides or pick up later, after a break. 

Keep in mind: The tiles on this mini version are small, which may take some getting used to for some players.

Product details: Number of players: 2 to 4 | Ages: 8 and up | Minutes to play a round: 25 | Size: 10.63 x 2.50 x 10.63 inches

Best travel card games 


Buy it now on Amazon

This travel card game is a great way to kick off singalongs in the car or hotels after a long day of travel. Developed by Black-owned small business Doin’ The Most, the game involves drawing cards with one word, prompting each player to sing a song containing that word. If a player messes up the lyrics or can’t think of a song in time, they’re out. This card game is designed for players (and crooners) 13 and up, with easy and hard modes to help make the game as challenging as you want. 

Keep in mind: Not everyone is into singing outside of the shower, so consider your audience of fellow players before bringing this one along. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 and up | Ages: 16 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: travel size 


Buy it now on Amazon

The premise behind this intriguing travel card game springs from the idea that the art of engaging conversation never goes out of style. It’s a “social-emotional” learning game designed to get players thinking and talking about topics that can help people—including kids—open up, improve social skills, and spark creativity. The cards come in a small tin box, making them easy to keep organized and bring anywhere. 

Keep in mind: Although this travel card game is designed for players 5 and up, some questions lean more adult. If you’re playing with a multigenerational group, you can skip the questions better suited to adults or take them out of the deck before you play. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 and up | Ages: 5 and up | Minutes to play a round: NA | Size: 3 x 2 x 1 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

This popular family card game is equally fun to play while traveling. You can go head to head with just one other person or as many as 10. The objective is to be the first person to get rid of all your cards. But achieving that goal depends on the luck of the draw. Just don’t forget to shout “Uno!” when you’re down to your last card. We love that this version comes in a sturdy tin for safekeeping.

Keep in mind: This version of Uno incorporates graphic symbols on the cards so players with colorblindness can play too. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 to 10 | Ages: 7 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: 3 x 2 x 5 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

Easy to learn and loads of fun, Exploding Kittens is a cheeky card game loosely based on Russian roulette. Players draw cards, but use strategy (plus special “immunity” cards) to avoid drawing an “exploding kitten” card. With its compact size and lack of any additional game pieces, this card game is a hilarious way to pass the time while traveling.

Keep in mind: This card game is available in English, but other languages (German, Spanish, Italian, and French) are in the works. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 to 10 | Ages: 7 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: ‎4.41 x 6.38 x 1.5 inches 

Best travel games for adults


This portable spin on ping pong and pickleball is one of the best travel games for adults. About the size of a shoebox, the game sets up virtually anywhere in a matter of seconds. Place the foldable net (called a Fence) on a picnic table at the park or any other relatively flat surface, and you’re good to go. The game’s three ball sizes (called Peppers) give you options for how aggressively you want to play. You can also feel good about purchasing this portable travel game—the makers say they donate a set to a recovery center or addiction-focused homeless center with each set they sell. 

Keep in mind: There’s no official age minimum for this game. If you can swing the racket you can play. You’ll need a flat surface to set up.

Product details: Number of players: 2 to 4 | Ages: 3 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: 12 x 7 x 4 inches


Buy it now at Uncommon Goods

Hygge is the Danish word for coziness and the basis for this 300-question portable travel game. The questions are designed to foster meaningful conversations among friends and family members. Play it during long car rides, in a candlelit, hygge-inspired restaurant, or anyplace where you want to spark fun and thoughtful connections.  

Keep in mind: Some of the questions go pretty deep and might surprise people who prefer more superficial lines of interrogation. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 and up | Ages: 14 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: 5.70 x 5.70 x 1.80 inches

Like the Hygge Game, Parents Are Human is a card game that fosters understanding and connections. This specific deck (others are designed for friends, romantic partners, and siblings) focuses on immigrant families, making it a great game for family road trips. Each set includes 50 question cards and 20 action cards in English on one side and another language on the other ( Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, and Thai).

Keep in mind: Some reviewers say you can’t play this card game many times with the same people. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 and up | Ages: 13 and up | Minutes to play a round: NA | Size: ‎3.81 x 2.81 x 1.44 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

This traveling card game stems from relationship therapist and author Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin podcast and is ideally suited for adults. Cards with topics like “A dream I’ve never shared” and “One of the things that is keeping me up at night” help travel companions learn more about each other in an approachable way.

Keep in mind: Many reviewers prefer not to use the dice and pull randomly from the deck of cards instead. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 to 6 players | Ages: 18 and up | Minutes to play a round: NA | Size: 9.4 x 4.9 x 2.6 inches 

Best travel games for kids

This compact game console works as a portable travel game that the whole family can play while on the road. The colorful cube uses motion sensors (with controllers or wearable gear) for family-friendly competition. Just plug Nex Playground into a TV and tap the library of more than 20 games and experiences ranging from dance-offs to sports competitions and activities like jumping in puddles with favorite cartoon characters. 

Keep in mind: You’ll need floor space of about 8 feet by 8 feet to play, since the game requires moving around. If you’re in a small hotel room or other tight space, that can be challenging. 

Product details: Number of players: Up to 4 | Ages: 5 and up | Minutes to play a round: 5 | Size: 2.83 x 2.83 x 2.83 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

Popular on TikTok, this puzzle game can easily pack up and go with you on your next road trip. It comes with over 500 puzzles and a timer, challenging family members to use problem solving and spatial reasoning skills to beat the clock in time. 

Keep in mind: This game requires two AAA batteries to operate. 

Product details: Number of players: 1 | Ages: 7 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 to 30 | Size: ‎5.75 x 2 inches 


Buy it now on Amazon

Kids can spend hours playing this traveling bingo game. The animal-based bingo cards are built into a metal case that closes for easy storage and transport. Two players take turns spinning the spinner and placing magnetic markers on the matching animals.

Keep in mind: The magnet is built into one side of the marker pieces, so they’re not the strongest at staying put on the board. However, this game is hard to beat for an affordable and fun option.

Product details: Number of players: 2 | Ages: 4 and up | Minutes to play a round: 5 | Size: 1 x 6.50 x 6.50 inches


Buy it now on Amazon

Families will get a kick out of this adorable dice game that involves rolling a pair of pig-shaped pieces to score points. The first player to score 100 points wins. It’s also a great game to play anywhere while traveling, since it only requires a flat surface to play, plus the pigs, scoring pads, and pencils fit in a small plastic storage case that easily tucks into a backpack. 

Keep in mind: Small parts could pose a choking hazard for younger kids. 

Product details: Number of players: 2 | Ages: 7 and up | Minutes to play a round: 15 | Size: 1.63 x 4.25 x 9.25 inches

Our review process 

The best portable travel games are compact and light enough to take on a road trip or flight, can be contained in a case, and are still fun after multiple rounds of play.

  • Size: Travel games shouldn’t be large and heavy. They should be small and light enough to fit easily into suitcases and carry-ons.

  • Multiplayer: Games for two or more players are best, since the whole point of travel games is to keep everyone entertained. 

  • Fun-factor: Travel games can help stave off boredom between activities, while you’re in transit, or during travel delays. So make sure you choose games that appeal across ages, interests, and have enough variety for the long haul. 

Tips for buying travel games

Size of the game

When it comes to the best travel games, size matters, whether you travel with just a carry-on suitcase or don’t want to bulk out your checked baggage. Look for games that are contained in a case small enough to fit into a backpack. On road trips, you can get away with larger games, especially if you’re driving your own vehicle. 

Game ratings and popularity

A game’s ratings and popularity can give you a good idea for whether or not it will work for your needs. A sure-fire tip is to look for reviews by customers with similar travel styles and companions as your own. 

Players’ ages

It goes without saying, but you’ll maximize fun by packing travel games that are appropriate for everyone in your group. Consider bringing a couple of games–one for spending time with the kids and another for adults. 

Time it takes to play a round

When shopping for the best travel games, keep in mind that some people can take longer to finish a game than others. Consider your travel companions’ attention spans and choose accordingly. 

Frequently asked questions

Are there travel-sized board games?

Yes, many classic and unique board games come in travel sizes. Some even have travel-friendly modifications, such as magnets to prevent pieces from sliding off the board and carrying cases that keep everything contained. 

How do you know if a game is good for traveling?

Some games are better suited to travel than others. Card games with a carrying case and board games that don’t have too many loose parts (or are magnetized) tend to be good options for the road. Consider the size and weight of the travel game’s carrying case too. Make sure there’s enough room among everything else you’re packing for your trip. 

What are the best travel games for an airplane?

Since space is limited on an airplane, look for games that don’t take up more room than a typical airplane tray table. You’ll also want travel games that can handle turbulence and that you can quickly and easily pick up, in case you need to get out of your seat for a neighbor. 

Terry Ward is a freelance travel writer based in Tampa, Florida. She has written for many publications, including National Geographic, CNN, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Travel+Leisure, and Scuba Diving magazine, where she writes a monthly column.

*Although we are sharing our personal opinions of these experiences or products with you, National Geographic is not endorsing these experiences or products on behalf of anyone. It has not performed product safety testing on any of these products, did not manufacture them, and is not selling, or distributing them and is not making any representations about the safety or caliber of these products or experiences for individual consumers. Prices and availability are subject to change from the date of publication.

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