24 of our favorite travel games for kids and adults | CNN Underscored (2024)

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Travel / Travel Gear

By Holly Johnson, CNN Underscored

Updated 3:57 PM EDT, Thu July 27, 2023

24 of our favorite travel games for kids and adults | CNN Underscored (1)

The best travel games can be entertaining at any point of your vacation, whether you need to pass time during a road trip or you’re stuck in your hotel room while it rains. That said, travel games come in many different forms, with some better suited for larger groups and others aimed to entertain one person at a time.

Whether you or your kids are prone to boredom or you’re on the lookout for the best travel gifts, the travel games that made our list could easily fit the bill. Before you pack up your suitcase, car or head to the airport for your next getaway, consider adding one of our favorite travel games to your travel arsenal.

Car travel games

Music lovers who are on the hunt for road trip essentials should absolutely consider this carpool karaoke mic for their next trip. This microphone instantly connects to your car using Bluetooth or an aux cord, and it comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to six hours. Your family can sing along to your favorite songs, plus six voice-changing effects and three sound effects to make it more fun. Fun lighting effects also sync with your music to make the experience even more unique. This is sure to make any long car journey more exciting.

Rubberneckers is one of the most dynamic road trip travel games available today, and it's the perfect travel gift for families that are always on the road. This set includes a combination of games and activities that are popular for road trips, including "I Spy"-type activities that keep kids — and adults — engaged for hours at a time. This game is also entirely technology-free, so it's perfect for parents that are trying to limit phone time.

Brought to you by the creators of What Do You Meme?, "Shotgun!" is perfect for players aged 12 and older who need something fun to do during a road trip. While one player typically reads the cards (as the name suggests, that's usually the person sitting shotgun), everyone else is tasked with playing based on the prompt. The game itself is made up of 200 cards and includes a drawstring pouch that makes it ideal for travel.

This road trip trivia game includes 100 cards and comes in a cool metal case perfect for road-trip travel. Trivia questions run the gamut from the nation's most famous sites to popular roadside attractions. Players will also learn a ton of new — and potentially useless — facts, such as which state is home to the world's largest ball of twine. Road Trip Trivia is perfect for adults and kids, but it's an especially good fit for the self-described know-it-alls in your crew.

Geared toward adults and children aged 6 and older, Sorry! Road Trip Series offers a twist on the classic Sorry! game. It comes in a sleek and portable case that lets you pause the game with the option to pick back up exactly where you left off— similar to what you can expect with magnetic games. Like with the traditional Sorry! game, the first player to get all four of their pawns from the start position to home wins.

Travel games for kids

Little Passports is a STEM- and geography-driven subscription kit geared toward children aged 3 to 10. These kits are perfect for parents seeking activities and experiences that don't require a mobile device or Wi-Fi, and they can be customized to suit your child's interests. For example, the Early Explorers kit helps children explore new monthly themes like music, dinosaurs and oceans, and the Science Junior kit introduces children to the world of science, technology, engineering and math.

Pass the Pigs is the ultimate game for kids and adults who want a fast-moving activity that can accommodate two to four players at a time. This "dice" game asks players to roll the pair of pigs until they get a Pig-Out or an Oinker, in which case they pass to the next player. Not only is this travel game a boatload of fun, but it comes in a small plastic carrying case that makes it easy to pack and transport.

Word-a-Melon is a fun word search game that pits family members against one another. Players take turns rolling dice with the goal of creating words from the letters they receive. Players must also hide unused letters and remember where they are in order to use them later in the game. The game is a great mix of both memory-testing skills and word-building thinking. Word-a-Melon is small enough to pack in most suitcases and is ideal for those aged 6 and older.

This card game is perfect for adults and kids who love combining kittens, explosions, laser beams and sometimes goats for hours of entertainment and comedic value. With more than 10 million copies sold, Exploding Kittens takes only a few minutes to learn, and winning requires you to pull any card from the deck other than one. All the other cards help you avoid running into the death knell of this game, the exploding kitten itself.

Travel board games

Connect 4 is a classic board game for kids and adults alike that works similarly to tic-tac-toe. Players work diligently to connect four colored discs in a row while preventing others from doing the same — all while plotting and planning their next move. This game is not only a blast for all ages, but it's small and compact enough to bring almost anywhere.

Yahtzee to Go is a smaller version of the classic game. With a sleek shaker, five dice and a traditional scoring pad, players take turns rolling with the goal of scoring the right combinations at the right time. Made for two or more players (it can even be great for solo players!), this classic game can entertain even the most boredom-prone members of your family for hours. Note that the Yahtzee shaker also doubles as a storage case, so this game is easy to pack in your bag or in the car.

Bananagrams is a simple word game that's easy to play on the go and small enough to take almost anywhere. Players and their opponents are tasked with using all their letters to build words in a grid, and there are no supplies required other than a small pouch with tile letters and a space large enough — and flat enough — to build out your wordy masterpiece. The first player to use all their tiles wins. This game is ideal for adults and children aged 7 and older.

This take on the original Battleship game asks players to lead their fleet to victory by sinking their opponent's ships. The game itself flips open with its own ocean grid that sets the stage for an overwater battle of epic proportions. The game also has storage inside so users can save their pegs and avoid losing small parts. Battleship Grab and Go is for two players and it's perfect for those aged 7 and older.

If it's raining outside and you're stuck in your vacation home rental, what could be better than spending hours playing this classic game? Players work toward bankrupting their opponents while also trying to build their own real estate empire. It's fast-moving and exciting enough to keep everyone in the crew engaged. Monopoly is perfect for families with kids aged 8 and older.

Travel games for adults

Actually Curious is a card game that's designed to build bonds and bring people together. This Happy Hour edition contains 52 cards that ask questions, prompting players to answer and listen to people as they explain their unique points of view. The travel game helps players explore their dreams and ambitions while gaining a better understanding of those around them. If you're looking for a card game for adults that builds empathy and trust, Actually Curious may be exactly what you're looking for.

While kids and teenagers can definitely learn the ins and outs of Mexican Train Dominoes, this game was made for adults who want to compete. Incredibly fast-paced, this game is ideal for those with a short attention span or groups who don't want to commit to several hours of play. Each tier of dominoes can last as few as 20 minutes, yet a full sheet of gameplay can last several hours, too. However long you play, whoever ditches all their dominoes first wins.

Cribbage is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to games that are easy to pack up for your next vacation. This game requires nothing more than a wooden cribbage board and a set of colored pegs, which you use alongside playing cards to group cards into "runs" as you try to build combinations that total 15. While suitable for adults and older children, Cribbage is one of those games that is easy to learn but takes time to master.

Most people have heard of Cards Against Humanity by now, and it's easy to see why. This highly inappropriate card game for adults will leave you stunned as you utter words and phrases you never thought you'd say. Not really for children, this card game is perfect for groups of adults having a few drinks on vacation. The Cards Against Humanity game itself is also small enough to pack and bring along with you in a carry-on bag or a travel backpack.

Uno is a tried and true card game that's small enough to take anywhere. Two to 10 players can take part at one time, so it's perfect for families or groups that want to do something fun together. Pretty much everyone knows how this classic game works, but if not, you can win by matching the cards in your hand to the previous card thrown on the pile. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins. While perfect for adults, Uno can also work well for teenagers and children aged 7 and older.

Travel distraction games

The Shashibo is an updated version of a fidget spinner. The best-selling fidget toy unlocks creativity while improving dexterity, and it can help relieve stress, too. The Shashibo toy has also proved to be the perfect “Are we there yet?” plaything for kids — and for parents who want a portable distraction that can keep their kids occupied while in-flight or in the car.

Mad Libs unfinished stories provide the perfect distraction when you have hours to kill but not a lot of space. You can fit a Mad Libs notebook in a purse or small bag, and all you need from there is a pen and your imagination. These funny stories task players with using their vocabulary with a lot of laughs along the way, and they're perfect for children, teenagers and adults.

Thinkfun Rush Hour is a strategy game that takes one to two hours to complete in its entirety. Players who get involved in this sliding block logic game are asked to battle the gridlock as they make savvy moves to get the red car to the exit. There are 40 different challenges within this game, so users can decide on the level of difficulty ahead of time. Thinkfun Rush Hour is ideal for single players who want to avoid boredom en route to their destination.

If you're looking for a way to entertain your kid without a mobile device, the Chuckle & Roar Mega Maze is worth checking out. This one-person maze game is small enough to bring with you almost anywhere, and it keeps brains busy with 50 different dry-erase mazes across three levels of difficulty. This maze game, perfect for players aged 6 and older, also comes in a travel case with a handle for easy transport.

Jenga is the perfect travel distraction because everyone in your crew can play at their own pace. Small enough to fit in a backpack or small suitcase, the Jenga game is made up of 54 hardwood blocks expertly crafted to be made into a tower. Players remove blocks from the game one at a time and practice their stacking skills while trying to keep the tower intact. Ultimately, whoever causes the tower to tumble loses the game.

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24 of our favorite travel games for kids and adults | CNN Underscored (2024)


What is the best game to take when traveling? ›

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.

What game invented fast travel? ›

Ultima often comes up as a common predecessor in the case of many modern RPG mechanics, so it's no surprise to see it as an oft-cited answer to the 'which games invented fast travel? ' question.

Is there a game where you can go anywhere in the world? ›

Wander. Wander the world openly through the magic of VR. From the comfort of your living room you can teleport almost anywhere in the world - whether you wish to walk across the London Bridge, stroll the gardens of the Taj Mahal, or witness the enormity of the Great Pyramids of Egypt - unlimited exploration awaits!

How can I pass time while traveling? ›

10 ways to kill time on a flight
  1. Watch movies / TV-Series. ...
  2. Work your way through glossy magazines. ...
  3. Listen to audio books. ...
  4. Eat. ...
  5. Catch up on work / school. ...
  6. Sleep. ...
  7. Stare out of the window and philosophize. ...
  8. Write lists.

What to do when you are bored while traveling? ›

The key here is that if you're bored, you may need to shake things up. Luckily, with travel, that's really easy. Try a new food, walk on a new street, find a new beautiful spot, go to a new market, try and learn a new language, take a class or a tour...the options are endless!

How do I keep busy when traveling? ›

Here are 10 of our favorite tips for keeping yourself calm and occupied on long flights.
  1. Plan Your In-Flight Entertainment. ...
  2. Adult Coloring. ...
  3. Play Cards. ...
  4. Listen to a Podcast. ...
  5. Start a Travel Journal. ...
  6. Move It. ...
  7. Meditate. ...
  8. Get Organized for Your Trip.
Jun 22, 2022

What to avoid while traveling? ›

Avoid fresh salsas, condiments, and other sauces made from raw fruits or vegetables. Avoid eating raw meat or seafood, including items “cooked” with citrus juice, vinegar, or other acidic liquid (such as ceviche).

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