Best travel games 2019: Have fun on the go with these portable card and board games

There aren’t many things more tedious than a long car, plane or train journey with nothing to do but look out the window – and that’s where travel games come into their own. Sling a couple or three in your bag and you can enliven the dullest journeys with some old-school portable gaming.

Many travel games are simply smaller, more portable versions of the board games you have at home, which makes it easy to get started as everyone should already know the rules. Others are new twists on old favourites, like a card version of Trivial Pursuit that packs in all of the fun without the actual board, or book collections of classic car games that can be pulled out in emergencies. Read on and we’ll reveal some of our favourite portable games for kids, families and more.

I have a large family – are there games to keep them all entertained?

The best travel game for you may depend heavily on how many people you need to keep occupied over the course of your trip. While a lot of games don’t specify a maximum number of players, some have a definite limit and going beyond that recommendation just won’t work. Games like Battleship or Guess Who?, for example, won’t accommodate more than two players at one time, so bigger groups might want something more like Uno (up to 10 players) or another card game that can be adapted.

Can I play these games while in the car?

Playing on the beach or even a train table is plain sailing, it’s a lot more of a challenge to set up in the back of a car or other moving vehicle. Card-based games are best, but a lot of board games are set up in a way to allow for a lot of moving around. Travel Scrabble, for example, has a plastic grid that stops the pieces from being dislodged. You should also have a system that won’t distract the driver, as a lot of games will work better with an adult player to keep things under control.

READ NEXT: Best board games for families and enthusiast in 2019

The best travel games to buy in 2019

1. Uno: Best all-round travel game

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

The classic Uno is the colourful card game that’s just challenging enough for adults but never too confusing for younger players. There are no fiddly bits that can be lost if playing on the move, so you can just shuffle and get playing, then pack the deck away when you’re done. Read the instructions or just go with whatever you decided the action and wild cards meant when you first played a decade ago – this particular set even lets you customise them so you can play the game your way.

Key Specs – Ages: 7+; Maximum players: 10; Weight: 91g; Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 12.7cm

2. The Floor is Lava: Best emergency travel games

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

While you’d be right to think that attempting to play ‘The Floor is Lava’ on a busy train or flight might not make you many friends, this book is actually full of brilliant family-friendly games to play in whatever situation you find yourselves. Included inside are games for potentially fraught occasions such as traffic jams, sitting around the kitchen table, or long journeys and flights, as well as for when you’re just stuck inside on a rainy day. With 100 games lovingly curated, it’s the perfect catch-all to have on hand.

Key Specs – Ages: All

3. Guess Who?: Best travel game for young kids

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

Another classic that’ll have you feeling all nostalgic, this travel version of Guess Who? is the ideal quick distraction for bored kids (or partners) while you’re travelling. The yes/no mode of questioning means that you’re all on an equal playing field no matter your age and the travel version’s method of having the cards slot in and out, rather than flip down like in the original, means you can chop and change the order whenever you fancy.

Key Specs – Ages: 6+; Maximum players: 2; Weight: 272g; Dimensions: 4.8 x 15.9 x 23.5cm

4. Battleship: Best travel game for two players

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

A downsized version of the classic tactical test of wits, Battleship will allow you to channel any arguments you and your family may have on the road in a positive, healthy way – by sinking each other’s battleships. The portable version consists of two units that connect to one another, as well as two carriers, two destroyers, two cruisers, two submarines and two battleships. The only potential drawback here is the small pegs, which are prone to getting dropped and lost if you’re not careful – and smaller children might be tempted to eat a carrier or two if you’re not careful.

Key Specs – Ages: 7+; Maximum players: 2; Weight: 272g; Dimensions: 25.4 x 25.4 x 25.4cm

5. Travel Scrabble: Best travel game for older families

Price: £6 | Buy now from Amazon

Scrabble is a great way of keeping the whole family amused while also giving the brain a bit of a workout. Helpfully, the travel version of the game comes with a little zip-lock bag for the pieces and the board itself has a grid on top that helps keep the pieces in place during the game. That means that providing you don’t go so far as to tip the board upside down, you’ll have no trouble playing no matter where you are.

Key specs – Ages: 10+; Maximum players: 4; Weight: 222g; Dimensions: 1.6 x 7.5 x 7.5cm

6. Shuffle Trivial Pursuit: Best multi-platform travel game

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

While it’s possible to play this travel edition of Trivial Pursuit using just the cards provided, the game comes with the added bonus of a dedicated app that can be downloaded on your iOS device. The simple version involves wedge cards and questions, and the aim is to collect one for each colour while also taking advantage of an opponent who’s stumped by stealing their answers. The app is supplementary, allowing you to make the game slightly more interactive and will entice family members who are more used to screens than cardboard.

Key specs – Age: 3+; Maximum players: 2+; Weight: 213g; Dimensions: 4.5 x 8 x 14cm

7. Avocado Smash: Best travel game for guac lovers

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

A smashing good time all packed up in the case the size of an avocado. The game is essentially a jazzed-up version of Snap with, in a similar vein to Uno, players required to get rid of all of their cards in order to win. It’s ultra-portable and easy to store if you want to keep it in your handbag for surprise journeys, but potentially easy to mistake for a real avocado. Pair with some guacamole or toast as a snack for the full experience.

Key Specs – Age: 6+; Weight: 68g; Dimensions: 12.7 x 6.4 x 10.2cm

8. Retro Handheld Game Console: Best for solo travellers

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

If you don’t play well with others or you just want some solo entertainment, this Retro Handheld Games Console contains within a humongous 333 games from classic arcade fare to puzzles and a whole lot more. Anyone who knows their classic consoles will be familiar with the controls, and while the HD screen is great while you’re on the move you can also hook it up to the TV.

Key specs – Age: 5+; Maximum players: 1; Weight: 200g; Dimensions: 5.8 x 11.8 x 12cm

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