When it comes to staying entertained on road trips, in planes, and during downtime in hotel rooms, there are plenty of fun travel games for kids that parents will love just as much.
We own most of these best travel games but have played all of them. I’ve included travel board games, dice games, magnetic games, strategy games, and classic favorites in portable versions that are popular and favorably reviewed best-sellers. Whether your kids are toddlers or teens (or both), there’s something on this list that they’ll love to play with you.
All of the portable games recommended here are fairly cheap and easy to find so that you can stock up before your next family vacation and keep everyone unplugged from their devices.
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Car Travel Games
Minimize the, “Are we there yet?” questions on repeat with some fun travel games for long road trips. Truthfully, a lot of the games on this list can be played in the car but these have minimal pieces or road trip themes.
1. Rory’s Story Cubes
Rory’s Story Cubes are one of the hottest games out there at the moment and are, thankfully, very convenient to travel with and easy to learn. The cubes for this dice game fit neatly into a small pouch.
Players roll the dice and tell a story based on the pictures shown the dice that land facing upward. While it’s fun with multiple players, I’ve seen kids play on their own, too. Since storytelling is the main feature, it can be one of the perfect travel games for the car if you have a small tray to roll the dice on. We like it because there are no wrong answers, it gets the creative juices flowing, and different (usually funny) tales are told every time. Ages: 8+
2. Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win License Plate Game
Keep the Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win License Plate Game in the car for road trips (it’s made of wood so feels solid) so kids can log all of the different state license plates they see along the way. The board not only helps kids spy each state’s license plate design, but it also showcases state capitals across the United States as a form of edutainment. Ages: 8+
3. Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game
Scavenger Hunt is a perfect family road trip game for kids. They will love keeping an eye out for items on these cards ranging from stop signs to license plates with certain letters. The deck of cards also includes some fun “feel it” style cards designed for road bumps and unexpected things one might experience during car rides. You can play these card games with two or more players. Ages: 7+
4. Pass the Pigs
This travel game for kids crossed my radar recently. It’s wildly popular and happens to be very portable. Basically, you roll pigs in lieu of dice and score them by how the pigs land. It sounds crazy, but in this case, the stellar reviews also don’t lie. Also, beware that there are lots of pig puns ahead in Pass the Pigs. Kids can play together in the backseat as long as they have a surface, like a backseat divider, to roll the pigs on. Ages: 7+
5. Travel Spirograph
Yes! Spirograph is now in travel form! This little device comes with six wheels, pens and its own container for making cool geometric designs on the go. Love it. Ages: 5–12
6. Travel Blurt
If you like edutainment, this family travel card game is for you. It’s so fun that the kids will never know they’re learning. The cards have clues. After they’re read, other players literally blurt out the answer. The score is kept and the person the most points wins Travel Blurt. Ages: 10+
Magnetic Travel Games
The beauty of magnetic travel games is that the pieces stay in place better than their traditional counterparts do. You’ll still need to be careful not to lose the pieces. Many of these games do not come with extras so if one goes missing, there goes your game.
7. Take N Play Bingo (and Other Games)
This 2-player bingo magnetic travel game means that the pieces are tough to lose. The weight of the tin is just over six ounces and 7″ square in size. It stores the pieces, serves as the game board, and can slip into a handbag or travel gear easily. We have a ton of these Take N Play games ranging from dominos to checkers and consider them one of the best travel games for kids. Ages: 4–8
8. QuadPro Magnetic Chess
Take chess on the road with you with this QuadPro Magnetic Chess set. The travel chess set folds up and stores the pieces inside for easy portability. Its weight is less than 1 lb. and the magnetic pieces stick to the board to withstand car and plane movement. The board game folds out to 9.84 x 9.84 x 0.78 inches.
9. The Purple Cow Magnetic Travel Games
We own many magnetic travel games by The Purple Cow that include dominoes, checkers, sudoku shapes, puzzles, and more. These travel games for kids are very, very lightweight. Items are stored inside of the tin.
Travel Games for Toddlers
If you’re searching for fun options that entertain this age group and come with pieces big enough for them to manipulate, here are a few other ideas. (Also, The Purple Cow magnetic games mentioned above are very popular for traveling toddlers.)
10. Travel Tangram
A tangram is a puzzle with pieces in seven flat shapes that are called tans. The goal is to put the tans together, without overlapping, to form a specific shape. The book that comes in this set contains 360 different shape possibilities of varying difficulty so that adults are challenged just as much as toddlers.
These exercises are excellent STEM activities. A pocket inside of this Travel Tangrams book neatly stores the tans. The Purple Cow, mentioned above, offers a magnetic tangrams game.
11. Wikki Stix
If there’s a travel toy or game I could not have lived without, it’s Wikki Stix. I always kept a pack or two in my handbag. Kids can play with these bendable sticks anywhere — on airplane tray tables, in the car, at restaurants, and more.
The individual packs come with a puzzle or shape for the kids to make with the Wikki Stix but you can also buy kits, like Lil’ Traveler Playset with even more activities. Ages 3+ (My daughter started playing with them while supervised at age 2.)
Travel Board Games
You favorite classics come in smaller sizes easy packing.
12. Hasbro Family Travel Board Games Bundle
Clue, Monopoly, Connect 4, and Hungry Hungry Hippo Board Grab and Go Games come in all-in-one sets, that also store pieces, for you to play as a family when on the road. Buy this set of four and for a constant supply of games to play. Ages 8+
13. Travel Scrabble
Travel Scrabble is the must-have word game that earns its recommendations on best travel games lists like this one. Parents, grandparents, teens, tweens, and elementary school kids can earn points for creating creative words from whatever alphabet letters they pull randomly from a pouch. There are several portable versions to choose from, but this one comes in a handy zip-up case (ours is in a snap case and much less convenient — get the zippered one). Ages: 6+
Travel Games for Hotels and Airport Lounges — Best Played on Tables
Table games can be played anywhere you can secure a flat surface be it in an airport lounge, a hotel, a vacation rental, or a camping table.
Bananagrams is an awesome word game and comes in a small banana-shaped pouch for easy transport. It’s similar to Scrabble but played without a board. We play it as a family and even my 95-year-old grandma enjoys it. Gather 1–8 players around a table to make a word grid with the tiles that grows until someone runs out of tiles. I promise it’s awesome for family game night on the road and even teens enjoy it. Thousands of positive customer reviews don’t lie. Ages: 7+
15. Spot It!
Spot It! comes in various themes and its 55 cards store well in a small circular tin. This fast-paced travel card game is best for hotels and airplane lounges as the playing cards would be easy to lose in between airplane seats.
It’s a memory game with a race aspect to it that is a great motor skill builder. Between any two cards, there is always one and only one matching symbol. Spot it fast to win and play with 1–8 players. Ages: 7+
16. Rummikub On the Go
You’ll create sets and runs, rummy-meets-mahjong style, on the table with the goal to be the first person to use all of your tiles. The addition of jokers puts an extra spin on the fun.
Rummikub on the Go is great for 2-4 players and multiple generations of family members or friends who want to play together. You’ll definitely exercise STEM skills when it comes to recognizing patterns and strategies. This one of the best travel games for teens and older kids. Ages: 8+
17. Iota the Great Big Game in a Teeny Weeny Tin
Add cards to a grid, making sure that color, shape, and number are either all the same or all different across the line. It sounds easy but as the grid expands, so do the possibilities. The player who sees the opportunities will seize the win during a game of Iota. Ages: 8+
From 12 puzzle pieces come over 200 Kanoodle challenges of varying levels. You’ll choose a design from the included book and position the connecting beads to create 2D and 3D puzzles.
The pocket-sized carrying case makes it easy to slip into a handbag or backpack. The company is so convinced you’ll love its best-selling product that they offer a 365-day guarantee or your money back. Ages: 8+ (There is also a Kanoodle Junior for ages 4+)
The classic 1980s favorite comes in a card version that makes it one of the easy travel games to carry around. You’ll play Scattergories with two decks of cards: a category deck and a letter deck.
The first player to slap the “I Know” card and give an appropriate answer to the displayed category and letter gets the cards (like “dog” for the letter “d” and category “pets”). The player with the most cards wins. Ages: 8+
20. Travel Boggle
The classic game of Boggle comes in a compact size with a timer that snaps into the case, making it one of my favorite portable games. You can play solo or with others. All you need to do is grab a pen and paper (or LCD writing tablet like the Boogie Board Jot mentioned above), shake up the letters, let them fall into each slot, set the timer, and then find as many words as you can. Ages: 8+
Printable Travel Games
Etsy is a fantastic place to source professionally-designed printable travel games that you can purchase once for a small fee and use it again in future travels. The quality also feels more solid if you are able to print on cardstock paper.
21. Printable Travel Bingo Cards
I love the design of these printable travel bingo cards where passengers can look out for certain road signs, cows, motorcycles, and more until the winner gets five across for bingo. You’ll receive five different bingo cards to play on a long road trip.
22. Printable Scavenger Hunt
Here’s another inexpensive printable travel game with colorful illustrations that appeal to all ages. The first person to find all of the scavenger hunt items wins.
23. Printable Camping Scavenger Hunt
What is neat about this printable camping scavenger hunt is that some fonts, text, and colors can be customized. So, if you wanted to title it “The Jones Family Scavenger Hunt” or “Mike’s Birthday Scavenger Hunt” you can.
You’ll receive a printable scavenger hunt bag cover, clues sheet with directions, and a sheet where participants can mark off what they’ve found.
Travel Games for Airplanes
The one thing we try to avoid on airplanes is dropping things on the floor and in between the seats. No one, especially in today’s world, wants to dig into these crevices. And, we all know what happens when a child finds out that something is irretrievable. So, travel games for airplanes need most pieces attached, large pieces that are easy to find, or use of something replaceable, like a pen.
24. Mad Libs
So many Mad Libs, so little time! Make sure the ones you buy for younger kids are Mad Libs Junior because the stories are more relatable to littles. Regular Mad Libs (Dog Ate My Mad Libs, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Mad Libs, and more) are geared to the 8–12 years old range.
Just be mindful that there are adult Mad Libs versions that you will want to stay clear of for kids. Mad Libs for kids are a great way to kill time on the tarmac, while waiting for food in a restaurant, and in many more family vacation scenarios. Ages: 5+ (depending on the version)
25. Boogie Board
This isn’t really an organized game but I’m such a fan of the LCD writing tablets for travel games that I have to mention it. The newest version, Boogie Board Jot, comes with a stylus that you write on the LCD screen with and keep secured on the bottom of it. The entire screen clears with the touch of a button.
We play hangman, tic-tac-toe, and even use it as scratch paper for math homework. Just keep an eye on the stylus which can be easy to drop or pack extra styluses. Tuck it in a handbag or backpack for play anywhere. Ages: Basically if you can hold a pen, you’re good.
26. The Cube
Here’s a fun solo travel game to entertain while waiting for a plane to take off or to arrive at your road trip destination. If you’re thinking of that cube, this one is different because it’s FAST. And, there’s a Cube solver app for you to track and share your progress. The Cube wants you to win. Ages: 6+
27. IQ Fit
IQ Fit is a puzzle strategy game where players have to figure out how to fit the 3-D pieces flat on the game board and without holes exposed. Believe it or not, there are over 100 different challenges in this highly-rated game. Ages: 6+
28. Melissa and Doug Flip to Win Travel Hangman
It is a wooden travel game with a dry erase board and 37 flip letters. The pen self-stores in the wood board. The fact that it has no loose pieces makes Flip to Win Travel Hangman a great travel game for kids but the wood does make it a tad bit heavier than magnetic travel games. At least you don’t have to worry about the game pieces falling into cracks. Ages: 6–10
Free Travel Games
Fun on a family vacation doesn’t have to cost money, and this also goes for family travel games that are very easy to learn. Aside from being fun road trip games that don’t involve pieces to juggle in the car, you can play them at home or at your next party.
29. I Spy
I Spy can be played with two or more people anywhere. The premise of the game is that one person looks spies something that everyone can see and keeps it a secret for the other players to guess based on little revealed close or tips.
The player holding the secret gives clues by saying, “I spy with my little eye something that is [insert clue which could be color, shape, size, etc.].” The other players try to guess what the secret object is. The player holding the secret responds only with yes or no. He or she will give another hint starting with, “I spy with my little eye something that is [clue].” The cycle repeats until someone guesses correctly. That winner can then choose a secret object and the game starts again.
30. 20 Questions
ou can play 20 Questions with two or more players but it’s best in a small group. The person who is “It” thinks of a person, place, or thing that is familiar to all players.
The rest of the players ask the “It” person up to 20 yes or no questions in order to figure out what the secret object is. If someone guesses the secret object correctly prior to 20 questions being asked, that person is the next “It.” Then, the game repeats itself.
31. Would You Rather
Would You Rather can also be played with two or more people and is a fun way to get to know someone. One player thinks of a question that has two possible outcomes. It could be as simple as, “Would you rather eat ice cream or potato salad?” The person being asked the question provides the answer and in turn asks another player a similar question.
Finally, don’t forget to arm yourself with a huge arsenal of knock-knock jokes for kids and car games for kids that are also very handy for lightening the mood on the go. I also now have a list of road trip activities and gear for kids.
What are your favorite fun travel games?