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Travel Games For Family Holidays – Packing Essentials!
If you’re planning a family holiday sometime this year, there are some essentials you don’t want to leave home without; your child’s car seat – check, your DIY emergency medical kit – check, and plenty of entertainment in the form of travel games for family time – check!
As any parent knows, downtime is an important part of family holidays – whether it’s because of an unexpected turn in the weather, or needing time to relax after a busy day at the beach.
Luckily, in the past few years, all the top family board games have been reimagined for travel. Available in compact and portable size, here’s some of our favourite travel games for family fun, whether it’s for taking on the plane, pitching up at a campsite, or keeping the kids entertained in the morning while you enjoy a much-needed lie-in, you won’t go wrong with these…
Best for Simple Fun – Connect 4 (Travel Size)
- Age: 6+ / Players: 2
There’s something intuitive about Connect 4, that makes it a game for all time. Whatever the age, it’s fun to play with friends and family, especially those who have a competitive streak in them. This handy travel-size version is great for encouraging fine motor skills and problem-thinking in young children too.
The ambition is to get four colours in a row, beating the other opponent. In some ways, it’s the modern version of noughts and crosses – but, rather handy for travel, you won’t need a pen and paper. If you’re looking for simple board games for family fun, this is a no-brainer.
Best for Compact Travel – Guess Who, Hasbro Mini Games
- Age: 6+ / Players: Varies
This game needs no introduction, having won over the hearts of children everywhere from a young age. However, in case you live under a rock, ‘Guess Who’ is a fun interactive game, where you have to guess the person your opponent is holding, based on a process of elimination. Queue silly and amusing questions like ‘Does he have a big nose’ and ‘Does it look like Granny’!
This travel-size version is perfect for travel games for airplane journeys since it comes on a keyring and is super tiny (18.5 x 2 x 11 cm), so you can attach it to your luggage or even a travel bag. Although it’s recommended for 6+, we think this could easily entertain children much younger, so don’t be put off by the age limit.
Best for Toddlers – Top Trumps, Roald Dahl
- Age: 3+ / Players: 2
Three hours on a plane might not seem much, but when you’ve got a toddler in tow, it can feel like a lifetime. And while card games may not strictly come under ‘board game’ categories, it would be remiss not to include the timeless classic – Top Trumps. Today there are hundreds of different versions to choose from. A favourite, however, is the Roald Dahl edition, especially for early readers who are just discovering the joy of Matilda and the BFG.
True to form, the cards take you on a journey of your favourite books and characters, as you battle with your opponents to win the most cards. Entertaining and educational, these are perfectly compact, making them ideal for taking on travels with you, plus they are one of the bestselling family board games Amazon has for under-fives.
Best for Primary School Children – Boggle, Travel-size
- Age: 3+ / Players: 1-2
When you’re stuck in a hotel apartment and the cartoons are all in Spanish, reach for Boggle and never look back! This fun word game can be played alone or with a companion for extra fun. Simply toss the cubes for a host or letters to come up, and make as many words as you can in a limited time, while observing the rules.
While at times, it can feel a bit like homework on your holiday, it’s also a smart way of keeping their brains engaged and writing skills intact. For this reason, it’s a popular family board game for 7-year-olds, who have the capacity to sit still and concentrate.
Best for keeping the brain ticking over – Avocado Smash
- Age: 6+ / Players: 2
It’s likely that you’ve heard of Avocado Smash… but probably never played it. It really is one of those family board games Amazon is known and loved for. Best described as fast-paced and fun, think of it as a fresh twist (so to speak) on the popular card game ‘Snap’.
The host dishes out cards to all the players, and everyone takes turns piling cards until the middle.. that is until they smash avocado. As with all good card games, the aim of the game is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. It’s a good one for practising response times, recall and general brain exercise – undoubtedly needed with a week away from your laptop!
Best for starting a family feud! – Monopoly Travel
- Age: 8+ / Players: 10
If you’re on holiday with a large group or extended family, Monopoly’s travel version is the perfect family board game for six players or more.
Everyone knows the rules, you go around the board and bankrupt your opponents by buying up real estate and charging rent for the privilege. It’s astonishing really that the board game first came to light in the 1930s and not in the ‘Gordon Gekko’ era of 1980, but more on the history of Monopoly here.
This travel version stays true to the original version, but with a very clever and added difference: the destination is based on a global map, as you tour key destinations from around the world. In many ways, this is a welcome benefit, allowing everyone to start afresh and not all race to get their favourite property, in a time-honoured tradition.
Best for Budding Impersonators – Who Am I and What Am I Doing?
- Age: 14 / Players: 2-10
After Mum and Dad have had a Margherita, or two, the impressions tend to come out. Fret not, ‘Who Am I and What Am I Doing?’ Puts this to good use, as the go-to impressions game. From famous people in pop culture to sporting personalities, there’s plenty to choose from and it never fails to bring out laughter.
Best reserved for a slightly older family (so they know who you’re impersonating), it’s super easy to play. All you have to do is pick your cards, choose a funny identity and action combination and show your skills off. And don’t worry, there are over 10,000 combinations to choose from, making it one of the top travel games for family time.
Best for Keeping Kids on Their Toes – Articulate
- Age: 6 / Players: 4-20+
The perfect travel games for airplanes just got smaller. Articulate has been downsized into a tiny travel box that’s easy to pack and take with you on your holidays. Ideal for playing as a family, let the kids loose on this compact version of the game, which will keep them entertained when they (and you) need it most!
The basis of the game is for players to describe words from six different categories to their team in quick succession, these are: Random, Person, Nature, Object, World and Action. With each correct guess, teams advance around the board.
Best for Budding Marketeers– Logo Mini Game
- Age: 12 / Players: 4-20+
Now, here’s one for adults and children alike, that both will enjoy. The miniature version of the Logo Board game offers a ‘taster’ of the fully-fledged version. Tapping into your knowledge of brands, marketing and advertising, players have to do their best to identify some of the most famous brands on the market.
When you think about it, logos are everywhere, especially on your holiday – from the airline you fly with, to the hire car you choose, down to the bag of crisps you snack on. This popular travel game for family time also includes astonishing facts and surprises, that will enlighten you too.
Best for Getting Creative – Catchphrase
- Age: 12 / Players: 3+
First of all, the only reason why this game is deemed suitable for 12+ is because of the knowledge of some of the sayings, rather than its general content. So, if your kid is a big fan of the TV Show (I mean, what child doesn’t love Stephen Mulhern) then invite them to play along, even if they get it wrong, they’ll probably find it highly entertaining (and yes, they are liable to cheat as well).
One of the most entertaining travel games for family holidays, the beauty of Travel Catchphrase is that its compact size is as big as a large pack of cards. Whip them out when you’re waiting at an airport, or having downtime in your accommodation – or even by the pool. As with the TV show itself, players have to guess the popular phrase from images on the card. It’s a fun way to spend your time together as a family, and shout out the infamous line ‘say what you see’!