Family Travel games1

Top 5 Family Travel Games

In Tips & Tricks by gypsycouple7 Comments

The biggest worry while travelling with your kids is how keep them entertained. In most cases a popular game on the phone or tablet would serve you just fine, but on a longer vacation, time spent on activities with kids is much more memorable and worthwhile as an option. Travel games (with or without the board) can be exactly what the doctor ordered for such trips. These games can be played while waiting at the airport for your flights, at hotel lobbies, flight/train journeys and even in the unfortunate scenario with a dearth of options to go out at night (shudder) – considering this, you know you have a need based requirement for board games.

For parents contemplating saddling their kids with solo activities like movies, books and music (and perhaps even Facebook), doesn’t it kind of beat the point of a family trip. This is probably the best time to bond with the family given the stressed out workdays and this is something which is tried and tested. Before you rush to the toy store, you need to understand that the games you select need to have the exact mix of time and fun and probably the charm of repeat plays for them to work. On the other hand, if you’re still not convinced, do take a look at our summary as to why we feel Board games (The travel game kind) are a must do for any family vacation.

  • Board Games develop and encourage creativity and confidence. Also playing quality board games has been proven to increase the IQ, especially in children.
  • Board Games require no charging – This should probably have been the first reason considering the amount of hassle one faces finding empty plug points to charge the various gadgets which seem to serve most of our entertainment needs.
  • We are social animals and board games are great for socializing, whether it be with our kids or with complete strangers. A board game is a shared space you can invite anyone into, regardless of your cultural or linguistic differences.
  • It is a probably the most fun way to get your partner or kids to let go of their phone or handheld device for time enough to have some real fun.

Listed below are some of the great games we’ve tried out and played with friends and family over the years and more importantly which have worked.

Forbidden Desert

forbidden desert

Players: 2-5          Playing Time: 45 mins        Space: Minimal

Imagine a cooperative adventure game where you and your family go searching for a legendary flying machine in the ruins of an ancient desert city. A unique ever changing board, the omnipresent threat of becoming artefacts of the desert, the scorching heat and resource management will keep you and your kids on their toes for the duration of the game and leave you wanting more. Limited parts and cards for the board mean it takes up little space and time to set up and explain and even less to store.

San Juan


Players: 2-4          Playing Time: 45 mins        Space: Average

If you’ve played board games before, chances are you’ve heard of Puerto Rico, once the #1 ranked board game in the world. San Juan is a city building card game based on the Puerto Rico theme. The pack of 110 cards consists of production buildings (indigo, sugar, tobacco, coffee, and silver) and “violet” buildings that grant special powers or extra victory points. Cards from the hand can be either built or used as money to build something else. In each round or governorship, each player in turn selects from one of the available roles, triggering an event that usually affects all players, such as producing goods or building. The person who picks the role gets a privilege, such as producing more goods or building more cheaply. This is one of the few games which gives you the satisfaction of a hard core strategy game within 45 mins.

Smash Up


Players: 2-4          Playing Time: 30 mins        Space: Average

Gun totting dinosaurs, Zombies, Robots, Ninjas in a game is what nerdy dreams are made of. If you add to it an innovative theme and playing mechanism you have a hit for the entire family! In this game each of you play the commanding officer of two races and fight with 1-3 other players for control over the different planets in the galaxy. Beware, the planets may have special powers of their own which may or may not let you do as you will. Within the game, you will pix your opponents, bomb them, teleport them to another planet and even rise from the dead to make sure that you retain your dominance. The card game takes up minimal space and the art keep you wanting for more. Takes a little time to get a hang of the game, but once you’re there it’s a blast. Never felt better being blasted to oblivion by my wife and the kids will love letting the zombies loose on your innocent robots as revenge for all the times you’ve cut their pocket money.

Hey, That’s my Fish!


Players: 2-4          Playing Time: 20 mins        Space: Pocket Sized

This game is quite fishy as the name suggests. It sounds childish but you might find yourself reaching for it faster than your kids the next time you have a few free minutes at hand. Each turn, a player moves one penguin in a straight line over hex-shaped ice tiles creating a gap which other penguins can’t cross by picking them up. When a penguin can’t move, it’s removed from play with its owner claiming the tile on which it stands. It’s all about the fish, the more you have the better and the one with the most the end of the game, wins. If the simplicity of the game puts you off, we’ve got another reason for you to try; penguins!!

7 Wonders


Players: 2-7          Playing Time: 45 mins        Space: Average

This game needs no introduction. One of the most popular games of recent times with great looking components, amazingly simple yet complex game-play with equal proportions of strategy and fun. In this game players are giving a unique ancient civilization to head. You collect various resources by the way of certain specific cards or go about building a technology led empire. You tally your points at the end of the three ages of 7 turns and depending upon how far you’ve progressed your civilization in terms of building the various levels of pyramid (yes, everyone gets to build one) and your technology and how powerful your army is, you score victory points. It does take a little space but it plays up to 7 – you can invite your fellow passengers/hotel friends for a quick game. So if you are looking for a tried and tested winner you need go no further.

Do let us know if you’ve played any of these or would like to try any of these on your vacations. Happy Gaming and Happy Travels !!