The 27 Best Travel-sized Games for Road Trips, Layovers, and Beyond (2024)

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Best Card Games Mattel Games World's Smallest UNO Card Game Monopoly Deal Hasbro Gaming Monopoly Deal Card Game Mattel Games Skip-bo Card Game Wild Card Games Backpacker: The Ultimate Travel Game Rubberneckers Everyone's Favorite Travel Game Best Board Games Catan Studio Catan Board Game MindWare Travel Qwirkle Game Hasbro Gaming Guess Who? Grab and Go Game Sorry! Road Trip Series Hasbro Gaming Travel Battleship FanVince Magnetic Folding Chess Set Best Word Games Bananagrams Duel: Ultimate 2 Player Travel Game Winning Moves Games Scrabble To-go Board Game Mad Libs on the Road World's Greatest Word Game Ransom Notes The Ridiculous Word Magnet Party Game Hasbro Gaming Classic Boggle Word Search Game Best Party Games Brass Monkey Bin-go Get Some Drinks Bingo Book Cards Against Humanity Tiny Cards Against Humanity Game All Things Equal, Inc. Loaded Questions On The Go Card Game Exploding Kittens Card Game What Do You Meme? Shotgun!: The Card Game for Road Trips Singing Machine Carpool Karaoke The Mic 2.0 Best for Little Travelers Hasbro Gaming Connect 4 Winning Moves Games Pass the Pigs Briarpatch I Spy Travel Card Game Taco vs. Burrito LLC Taco vs. Burrito Card Game Tricky Riddles for Smart Kids: 333 Difficult But Fun Riddles And Brain Teasers For Kids And Families Tips for Buying Travel-sized Games Factor in the needed space Figure out the game time Consider player ages Frequently Asked Questions What games are ideal for traveling? Are there travel-sized board games? Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Whether you’re in need of kid-friendly games for a long road trip or some cheeky party activities to break the ice with a new group of hostel friends, it’s always worth having a couple of tried-and-true games up your sleeve while on the road.

The following travel-sized games are the best options in our book. These compact card and board games are designed to take up minimal space in luggage, while still offering maximum fun during the inevitable downtime that comes with most adventures (think layovers, long hours on a train, or rainy evenings on vacation). Here are our top picks for all types of travelers.

Best Card Games

Why We Love It: This teeny card game will fit into the smallest of handbags.

What to Consider: The ultra-compact size might not work for those with vision problems or arthritic hands.

Uno is one of those card games that everybody already knows how to play — and, if they don’t, it takes about ten seconds to learn. That makes this game an excellent addition when backpacking abroad or vacationing with family members of all ages. This option in particular stands out as it’s the “world’s smallest” version of the popular game. The tiny cards are less than three inches tall — that’s smaller than a credit card! – and can easily fit into handbags or luggage without adding any bulk, so you’ll always have an icebreaker at the ready.

The Details: 2-10 players | Ages 7+ | 0.79 x 1.97 x 2.99 inches

Why We Love It: This rendition allows you to play your favorite board game sans tabletop.

What to Consider: It can be a bit tricky to catch on at first as there’s a lot of fast-paced action.

Monopoly night at home with friends and family can take you through a serious spectrum of emotions, especially if it’s been dragging on for hours. Then there’s Monopoly Deal. The travel-friendly version of Monopoly is cards only and much faster paced than the traditional board game. You’ll still buy and sell property, collect rent, and pass go as you do in classic Monopoly, but the compact card game can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. It’s also easier to play while at the airport or on a long train journey.

The Details: 2-5 players | Ages 8+ | 15 minutes | 0.75 x 3.62 x 5.63 inches

Why We Love It: This family-friendly game is both easy to learn and quick to play.

What to Consider: The cards are a bit flimsy and could be more wear-resistant.

Is it just us or will Skip-bo always evoke childhood memories? The classic number sequencing game was huge in elementary school but was also in major rotation on our grandmother’s kitchen table. Not much has changed since then: the fast-paced card game is just as fun and easy to pick up and play now. It’s also relatively small which makes it great for popping into your carry-on or handbag. Note that although this game is designed for those ages 7 and up, it’s a ton of fun for adults as well as kids.

The Details: 2-6 players | Ages 7+ | 0.98 x 8.46 x 6 inches

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Why We Love It: It helps improve your skills as a traveler while learning about the world.

What to Consider: The instructions are quite long and tedious.

If you’re looking for a travel-themed game (and who doesn’t love a good theme?), then you’ll want to consider checking out Backpacker. The quick-moving travel card game is designed to mimic what it’s like to be on the road and all the potential triumphs and roadblocks that come with traversing the globe. We love that this game comes with actual fun facts about each destination so you still learn about the world around you even while playing close to home. The colorful cards are also visually appealing thanks to the high-quality photography and drawings on each one.

The Details: 2-6 players | Ages 12+ | 5.1 x 0.8 x 3.7 inches

Why We Love It: This game was specifically designed to be played during a road trip.

What to Consider: It’s not as exciting to play in rural areas.

Road trips are, in theory, a nonstop adventure — but, in practice, they can be long and exhausting. Rubberneckers was designed to put the fun back into long drives. The card game is essentially a game of reverse I Spy with prompts like “credit card logo” and “more than three people in a vehicle” designed to get everyone in the car looking out the window to earn points and win the title of the ultimate rubbernecker. We also appreciate the simple and easy-to-read language so younger kids can participate just as easily as older passengers.

The Details: 2 or more players | Ages 8+ | 3.5 x 1.5 x 5.5 inches

Best Board Games

Why We Love It: This modern classic is a fan favorite — and, although layered, it’s easy to teach to new players.

What to Consider: There are a fair bit of pieces to keep together while on the go.

Catan is one of those games that seems complicated at first glance, but once you get it, you get it. The strategy board game takes about an hour to play out, but can go for longer — so you’ll want to budget that time while traveling. It’s also important to keep in mind that, even though this is relatively compact and travel-friendly, it still comes with several small pieces so it’s better for playing at your hotel or Airbnb rather than on a train or at the airport.

The Details: 3-4 players | Ages 10+ | 60 minutes | 11.63 x 9.5 x 3 inches

Why We Love It: This game requires smart strategy but it’s very easy to pick up and run with.

What to Consider: Some of the colors are very similar and can be hard to decipher.

We love the travel-sized Qwirkle game: not only is it super easy to learn but it’s also relatively easy to play while on the go. We love that this option is intuitive for everyone and can easily become a go-to for families with younger kids. The colorful tiles and convenient carrying case make this one great for playing while in transit — but you’ll want to keep in mind that some of the colors (especially orange and red) are very similar and can be a bit tricky to tell apart if you’re not playing in great lighting.

The Details: 2-4 players | Ages 6+ | 30-60 minutes | 5.5 x 6 x 2 inches

Why We Love It: There are only a few pieces to this classic board game.

What to Consider: The plastic is a bit flimsy and will require careful handling.

We’ll always have a soft spot for Guess Who? considering we’ve been playing it pretty much forever. The beloved guessing game requires strategic and creative thinking, but makes a particularly good travel game because there are only a few pieces to keep track of which makes it great for playing on the go, especially on a train or plane, or even while waiting to depart. We also like that the Grab and Go size is super compact and can easily fit in a backpack or carry-on without taking up too much space.

The Details: 2 players | Ages 6+ | 1.89 x 6.26 x 9.25 inches

Why We Love It: This tiny board game is easy to set up and play on road trips or even flights.

What to Consider: Its extremely compact size is not ideal for bumpy roads or those with arthritis.

Who said you can’t play a whole darn board game while in the car? The road trip edition of Sorry! is super simple to set up and play whether you’re in an airplane cabin or the back seat of a car. The little game is designed to fold out into a full playing board on the go and doubles as its own folding carrying case when all is said and done. We love how easy it is to put together and start playing — but keep in mind, the super tiny pieces might be tricky to play with on particularly bumpy roads.

The Details: 2-4 players | Ages 6+ | 1.00 x 11.90 x 5.85 inches

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Why We Love It: This game is quiet and slow-paced which makes it great for playing on a plane or at the airport.

What to Consider: The numerous pieces to keep track of are somewhat inconvenient.

The Grab and Go version of Battleship is small enough to throw into your carry-on bag but large enough to engage in a comfortable game without having to squint or deal with too-small game pieces. The boards and pieces are relatively simplistic compared to the full-sized Battleship, but the idea is the same. We also like that this game is pretty slow-paced which makes it a great option for playing in more quiet spaces like on the airplane or while waiting in a lounge.

The Details: 2 players | Ages 7+ | 1.89 x 6.26 x 9.25 inches

Why We Love It: This sturdy, magnetic game board is perfect for playing on bumpy roads and through turbulence.

What to Consider: The individual pieces feel a little flimsy in hand.

You can’t go wrong with a classic magnetic folding chess board — it’s a travel-sized game staple, afterall. The magnetic design means you don’t have to worry about your pieces falling over while going over bumpy roads or through turbulence, which is a major plus. It’s also super convenient that the board folds into its own carrying case when not in use. Keep in mind that chess is also a very quiet game, so this is absolutely perfect for bringing on a flight with you.

The Details: 2 players | Ages 8+ | 20+ minutes | 9.45 x 9.45 x 0.69 inches

Best Word Games

Why We Love It: This new take on classic Bananagrams is even more portable than the original.

What to Consider: It’s sort of a watered down version of the grid game.

Bananagrams has always been one of our favorite travel games — like a real banana, it comes with its own carrying case! — but Bananagrams Duel makes it even more travel-friendly. The quick-paced dueling edition is themed and the letter pieces are die-like rather than tile-like, so you won’t see that sprawling word grid from the original edition. But this just means the game requires way less table space to play so you can easily play this one on an airplane tray table without running out of room.

The Details: 2 or more players | Ages 7+ | 10 minutes | 1.18 x 4.72 x 6.69 inches

Why We Love It: The tiny version of Scrabble has snap-in letters that stay in place.

What to Consider: The scaled-down board isn’t as comfortable to use.

Nothing can really compare to Scrabble when it comes to group-friendly word games, but bringing the full-sized board on the road just isn’t practical. That’s why we’re huge fans of the Scrabble To-go board. The compact size makes it easy to throw in your bag while the snap-in letters mean you won’t have to worry about them flying off if you hit a pothole on the road or turbulence in the air. We also love that this one comes with its own carrying case to protect the board and pieces while traveling.

The Details: 2-4 players | Ages 8+ | 30-60 minutes | 10.75 x 10.25 x 6.88 inches

Why We Love It: It’s easy, hilarious, and super portable to play in transit.

What to Consider: The paperback game pages aren’t reusable.

Whether you’re seven years old or 37, Mad Libs will never not be laugh-out-loud funny. Mad Libs on the Road in particular makes for a great travel-friendly option. The silly fill-in-the-blank stories are all about traveling, road trips, and summertime adventures. It’s especially convenient that Mad Libs are about the size of a paperback novel, meaning they won’t take up any space in your luggage. All you need is a pen and a couple of grammar-focused friends and you have all the makings for hours of laughs in the car and beyond.

The Details: 1 player or more | Ages 8+ | 5.25 x 0.2 x 8.38 inches

Why We Love It: This game combines somewhat crude humor with strategy.

What to Consider: It’s definitely on the raunchy side.

Think of Ransom Notes as a somewhat crude hybrid between those poetry fridge magnets and Cards Against Humanity. You’ll get a prompt and your goal is to create a phrase using only magnets that’ll make some kind of sense to the reader. This ends up being downright hilarious in most cases — and we give the game major bonus points for being magnetic. All the pieces stay firmly in place, making it much easier to use en route to your destination.

The Details: 3 players or more | Ages 17+ | 30-90 minutes | 5.25 x 4 x 4 inches

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Why We Love It: This word game can even be enjoyed by only one player.

What to Consider: The secure travel lid can be tough to get on and off.

Boggle is going to be a major win in the eyes of Spelling Bee or Wordle fans (so watch out if you’re playing against them). The basic word game requires fast spelling and deduction skills; all you have to do to win is write down as many words as possible from the assortment of letters on the dice to earn the number one spot. It’s a whole lot of fun and takes up minimal space while in transit, too.

The Details: 1 player or more | Ages 8+ | 2.01 x 4.29 x 4.29 inches

Best Party Games

Why We Love It: This is great for introverts and anyone who would rather observe a party a bit removed.

What to Consider: It might be awkward to whip this out in an actual bar or restaurant.

Bin-go Get Some Drinks makes any kind of night out even more interesting, especially if you’re someone who tends to observe human behavior in social settings. The somewhat snarky bingo card is packed with the weird things you’ll see in a bar (like witnessing an obvious first date or someone taking a photo of their drink for social media) and is the perfect way for people watchers to spend the night — especially if you find yourself alone in a new city and prefer to observe the crowd over fostering friends right away.

The Details: 1 player or more | Ages 21+

Why We Love It: It’s a great icebreaker in a compact and cute format.

What to Consider: These cards are tiny and might be hard for some to read.

Cards Against Humanity provides instant fun, even at the most dull parties or awkward social events, since there’s just something about dirty words in absurd contexts. That’s why the miniaturized Tiny Cards Against Humanity is such a great game to keep in your back pocket while traveling, especially if you intend on staying in hostels. (Hey, you just never know when you’ll need to pull the ultimate icebreaker out of a pocket!)

The Details: 2 players or more | Ages 17+ | 30 minutes or more | 4.44 x 2.66 x 1.97 inches

Why We Love It: This card game gets conversations going while still providing friendly competition.

What to Consider: There are only so many questions, so you’ll eventually run into duplicates.

All Things Equal: Loaded Questions is one of those card games that can lead to side tangents and deeper conversation if you let it — but it’s also a great way to see how well you know your friends' minds by guessing each other’s answers to given sets of questions. This game is super travel-friendly (all you need is a few pads of paper and pens) and it’s guaranteed to evoke some serious laughs and possible side conversations as well.

The Details: 4-6 players | Ages 8+ | 3.6 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches

Why We Love It: This card game is fast, fun, and easy to learn.

What to Consider: The rules and concepts of the game are a bit basic.

Exploding Kittens garnered a lot of attention when it was first released and it’s easy to see why. The eye-catching title and cheeky illustrations make this game instantly intriguing. As it turns out, the game is a whole lot of fun for all age groups and it can be played in fifteen minutes or less which makes it a great option for waiting at your airport gate or sneaking a quick game in before heading out to dinner.

The Details: 2-5 players | Ages 7+ | 15 minutes | 4.41 x 6.38 x 1.5 inches

Why We Love It: Everyone can play in the car — even the driver.

What to Consider: It’s not quite as funny as the original What Do You Meme?.

Shotgun! was conceptualized by the same folks who gave us What Do You Meme?, which means you can expect the same level of (somewhat) boundary-pushing humor. The road trip-focused card game doesn’t come with memes or visual cues, but instead uses the sights and sounds on the road as prompts. Card prompts like “first person to say which side the gas tank is on wins a point” and “first person who gets a wave from another car wins two points” will keep everyone in the car on their toes for the drive.

The Details: 2 players or more | Ages 12+ | 1-2 hours | 1.5 x 4.5 x 6.5 inches

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Why We Love It: Who wouldn’t want to pretend they’re starring in an episode of Carpool Karaoke?

What to Consider: The Bluetooth setting could be higher quality.

The Carpool Karaoke Machine was designed to make road trips a whole lot more fun. The karaoke microphone pairs with your car’s Bluetooth in order to provide a surround sound experience for all passengers involved (whether that’s good or bad, we’re not sure). The microphone can also be used with your smartphone for DIY karaoke parties at your Airbnb or hotel room — you’ll just want to be mindful of the noise levels.

The Details: 1 player or more | 3.6 x 2.1 x 10.6 inches

Best for Little Travelers

Why We Love It: This game is simple to pick up on.

What to Consider: There are a ton of little pieces involved.

We love Connect Four — it’s a classic for a reason! The simple game is great for little ones who are still practicing spatial recognition, but honestly, it’s just as fun for adults as well. The game is relatively small (it’s less than 12 inches in length) which is enough room for little fingers to easily use but still small enough to pop into a backpack. Keep in mind, though: there are a number of little coin-sized pieces that come with this game, and they can get messy in the car.

The Details: 2 players | Ages 6+ | 20 minutes | 1.6 x 10.51 x 10.984 inches

Why We Love It: This cheeky game is all about tumbling — it was essentially made for turbulence.

What to Consider: The game might become repetitive in smaller groups.

Pass the Pigs is hilariously simple, but there’s something about it that is so much fun. The game includes two pig dice, a dice cup, and a pig scoring guide with a scorepad. The aim of the game is to get as many points as possible by rolling the pigs into different positions like the “snouter” or the “sider.” The best part is that this game was literally made to be thrown around so even if you’re dealing with turbulence you don’t have to worry about your pieces tumbling over.

The Details: 2-7 players | Ages 7+ | 1.75 x 4 x 8.5 inches

Why We Love It: This game is a quiet option to play on the plane.

What to Consider: The game is somewhat solitary; not the best for groups of kids.

The travel-sized version of the classic I Spy children’s book provides endless hours of concentration and focus. The stunning visuals are entertaining in and of themselves but having to hunt for the hidden images makes it even more enjoyable. We also like that it can be played solitary and offers something relatively quiet to play while on the airplane or in other spaces where gameplay banter might not be appropriate.

The Details: 1 player or more | Ages 4+ | 0.75 x 3.75 x 5.75 inches

Why We Love It: This game was created by a kid for other kids.

What to Consider: The instructions on some cards are a little confusing.

Cheeky graphic-focused card games have become pretty popular over the past few years, but we’re still major fans of Taco vs. Burrito. It’s worth noting that the colorful (and super successful) card game was created by a seven-year-old boy with other kids in mind, but it’s just as fun for adults. The basic gameplay is easy to learn and games can be played within 15 minutes — but the action cards are quick to spice things up and add a strategic layer to the game.

The Details: 2-4 players | Ages 6+ | 15 minutes | 7 x 5 x 2 inches

Why We Love It: This pack of riddles creates conversation and fosters further curiosity.

What to Consider: There are only about 300 riddles, so the deck might eventually become repetitive.

Kids who love brain teasers will get a kick out of this colorful collection of riddles designed to stump and foster curiosity. The deck is small and easy to transport (it’s about the size of a novel), but it’s packed with hundreds of riddles for kids to work through. The only thing we don’t love is that, while the deck does include lots of options, kids who are keen to work through one after another may deplete them rather quickly.

The Details: 1 player or more | 8-12 | 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches

Tips for Buying Travel-sized Games

Factor in the needed space

You’ll want to consider the space required for your chosen game(s) and decide how much luggage space you’re able to offer up. This is where miniature grab-and-go board games and card games will come in handy. Prioritizing card games and smaller games that don’t require a board means you can more easily play your games on the move. If you need a table or flat surface for your game, playing while seated at the terminal or on a train may not be practical.

Figure out the game time

You’ll want an idea of how much time a game takes before deciding to pack it. Card games tend to be faster-paced than board games, and most can be completed in 15-30 minutes. Board games and party games can last a lot longer, continuing for up to two hours in certain cases. This can be great for lazy days at the hotel or Airbnb, but might not be the most practical for passing time at the train station.

Consider player ages

Think of the ages of the players you anticipate sharing games with. If you’re planning a backpacking trip and plan to spend time playing games at your hostel, you’ll probably be safe with just about any card or board game. If you’re meeting up with your family for a vacation, you might want to choose games that are suitable for all ages. Note that some games can be altered to be more PG by removing certain cards or phrases, but it’s best to double-check to ensure everyone in your group can participate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What games are ideal for traveling?

The right games for your travels will greatly depend on what kind of travel you’re doing (road trip games vary greatly from late-night adult-only games, for example). But, no matter what style of travel you’re up to, you’ll want to look for games that are small enough to easily fit in your luggage without being imposing. Opt for games that don’t have many loose pieces or take up too much space when in use. Card games are your best bet if you anticipate playing on the road frequently, but travel-sized board games can also work (especially if they come in a magnetic format).

Are there travel-sized board games?

Yes! There are plenty of travel-sized board games available and many come with their own carrying case or magnetic material that further simplifies the overall travel experience. You won’t find every single board game available in a travel size, but you’ll definitely be able to find the classics from Hasbro like Clue, Monopoly, and more.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Travel + Leisure contributor Kaitlyn McInnis used her experience as a travel writer and former lifestyle editor as well as her own research to curate a list of the best travel-sized games available.

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The 27 Best Travel-sized Games for Road Trips, Layovers, and Beyond (2024)
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