We’ve all been there. Traveling with family or camping with our friends, we’re having a great time, and then… that dreaded lull. Is it possible to run out of things to talk about? Busting out a game will help shift the mood and create a little competitive fun for your group. I should have included one of these on my list of camping gear because I never go on a trip without throwing a small one in my backpack. Tabletop games like D&D have been experiencing a resurgence in popularity, but they can be big and bulky. I have rounded up 10 great games for traveling that will fit in any backpack or carry-on bag.
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Games for Two
Deck of cards – Personally, I hate card games like Poker. I’m not sure what it is, but unless it’s Solitaire or Go Fish, I must admit I’m lost. However, any person who hikes or camps regularly will tell you that a deck of cards is an essential for passing long hours after the sun goes down.
Guilloutine – Now here’s something more my style… beheading nobles. This game is fast to learn and can be played by 2 to about 5 players. The artwork is funny and interesting. Not sure why this game isn’t more popular; but that means you can impress your friends by being the one who discovered it. This is one of my favorite games for traveling because it’s super easy to pack: the box is only about 5 x 7 inches.
Games for Four
Guilloutine (above) is great for four players, and here’s another one you may not have herd of: Man Bites Dog. In this game, players come up with unexpected headlines. The more sensational words used, the higher the score. This box is smaller than a bag of coffee so, also a good size to toss in your suitcase. Great for all ages.
Games for Many
Following in the footsteps of the classic, Apples to Apples, many other games with the same basic premise have become popular in recent years. Apples to Apples is the most family friendly option but the box is a little large to pack sometimes. If you’re car camping or going on a road trip it would be a good choice.
Red Flags – A hilarious game where your friends create an imaginary person to date with two good qualities and one red flag. You have to choose the least awful option to date!
What do you Meme – A recent personal favorite, because I am obsessed with memes. Structured like Apples to Apples, one player shows a photo as a prompt, and the rest of the players assign a phrase to it. The person who puts in the funniest or most apropos caption gets the point.
Cards Against Humanity – I would say this is the most popular party game for people in their 20s-30s. Personally it’s not my cup of tea since the goal is really to dial up the shock factor. Really know your group before pulling this one out or else get ready for some awkward political incorrectness, to put it mildly. NOT for kids.
Games for Kids
Bananagrams – A speed-based crossword game that is good for all ages (that is, not for kids who put things in their mouths) and travels really well.
If the card game section of Target is to be believed, the Pokemon card game is still going strong. This kind of dueling game is a great alternative to screen time and builds critical thinking skills. Decks are curated to a certain size which can then be easily tossed in a backpack.
Then again, there are always classic, easy-to-learn games like Go Fish and Memory for the little ones. Playing games as a family on vacation from an early age can spark a tradition that lasts for a lifetime.
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Can you recommend any games for traveling that I haven’t listed?