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What are the best family travel games?
Are you headed on a family vacation or a road trip with your kids? Not sure what are the best games to pack? That answer is always changing with the exception of a few classic games. We have compiled our recommendations for the best family travel games for 2020 below.
Click on any topic below to skip straight to that section. We have lots of great info so you’re welcome to read through and you will likely learn something new.
Why pack games for a family vacation?
You may wonder why we like to pack games on a family vacation. You have already planned a lot of family activities for your trip, so are games even necessary? Yes, we recommend having a few different board games or card games on hand for various reasons:
- Bad weather happens and it can be hard to plan ahead for. If that day at the beach ends up with an afternoon thunderstorm, then you’ve got a back up indoor option.
- Family Bonding – laughing and playing with your kids will cause your brain to release endorphins. Consequently that can strengthen bonds through trust and empathy.
- Reduces Stress – vacations help to reduce stress. They can however unintentionally create stress when things don’t go as planned or you leave something behind.
- Fill the gaps in your plans with a quick and fun card or board game. Sometimes you just need something to keep the kids busy for an hour between activities.
- Wind down after a busy day of sightseeing. It’s hard to head directly to bed after a day on the town. Try letting the kids play a board game while you cuddle up to a good book.
How to choose the best family travel games for a vacation?
Obviously “must be fun” should be the first factor in your choice. Next, small and light in most cases will factor in as well. Some games may have a mini version that will work perfectly. You should consider the places they could be used when choosing the perfect family games.
For example, a board game is acceptable if you are playing the game in your beach house rental with a large family. A card game is perfect for sitting on a floor in an airport terminal, and can be popped right into a small backpack for a day out sightseeing.
However, a great option in the car or on a plane would be a magnetic folding Chess/Checkers set like this one. All the pieces are magnetic and much easier to keep a track of than a traditional board game. A magnetic chess or checkers board game is a perfect family travel game for the backseat.
You want to typically avoid games with a lot of small pieces. Unless it is a magnetic board game like above. Make sure the box is in good shape to contain any extras the game includes.
Quick Hack: Use a small ziplock bag to keep any dice, game pieces, money, cards, or any other loose pieces that may separate from the game easily. Also check out sites like GameParts.net if you do end up losing a standard piece like a die, checker, or sand timer. They have lots of items that could replace missing pieces. Of course even if it’s not a perfect match, that could save from buying a new game.
Card games can be the best family travel games
The best family travel games are typically card games. Light and easy to pack just about anywhere. Quick and easy to whip out if your family needs a distraction or to fill an unexpected delay while on your journey. Below we have compiled a list of our favorite card games for traveling with the family.
A fun family card game of visual perception. Perfect for the whole family, who will be the first to spot the match!
Develops focus, speech language skills, visual perception skills, and fine motor skills. With multiple ways to play this game will keep 2 – 8 players entertained for hours.
Color and packaging can vary. Many different game variations available, choose your favorite.
A mashup of Pictionary and charades, however with no drawing required.
This family fun game will pit 2 teams against each other in a race to act out clues with simple images on each card. Combine them to make a scene, or use them as props.
This is a fast paced fun for the whole family game, with small cards in a convenient protective tin, perfect for traveling.
This value packed 2-in-1 Emoji Card Game has beginner and advanced levels.
This is an easy to learn classic family game. This is our daughter’s favorite card game so it is a staple on our family travels.
Easy to learn and fun to play with new customizable wild cards. Comes complete with a sturdy tin convenient for family travel.
This is a fast paced game of rapid word recall. Just like the name suggests, players will blurt out the word as quickly as they can guess it.
75 double-sided cards, card sleeve, scoreboard, and 4 magnetic score pieces all included in a convenient tin perfect for family travel.
This has been a favorite for our family for years. The fast paced and competitive game will keep everyone on their toes.
The best family travel board games
Here are a few of our favorite and the best family travel games that we like to take on our vacations. We’ve not tried them all yet. The rest are on our wish-list to get for a family night, or to try on our next family trip. Let us know your thoughts and which ones you like the best.
This is a strategy game designed for the whole family.
This easy to learn and quick to play game is perfect for between 2-4 players.
Features the same full sized racks and tiles as the full sized version. However, all packs in a convenient canvas bag for easy transport.
Reinforces STEM skills like sequencing, pattern recognition and planning. Perfect for generational game play for 2-4 players.
In this cashless version of the original game there is less to keep up with. All property values, money collected and paid out is all done on the each players bank card.
Interesting modern twist on the classic board game we’ve all played over the years. Kids are sure to love the digital take on this version.
First to five wins! The first player to spell five words is the winner. If you can spell you can play.
The game that is quick and easy to learn. However, it’s still challenging when you play.
Not exactly a board game but not at all a card game. Bananagrams is super convenient to pack in a bag or even to keep in the glovebox.
I love the loop at the top of the zippered banana pouch for a carabiner clip on a backpack. This has to be a staple to pack for your family travels.
Check out the Double Bananagrams Game Set for up to 16 people to play.
Another family favorite game with lots of variety. Comes all packed in a handy metal tin with snap lid. Comes with wooden hub and metal trains.
Setting up dominoes and watching them topple is enjoyable for all ages. Especially for the little ones that can’t play the game properly yet.
Tips for playing games on a road trip
- When choosing a game to use in the car be aware the small pieces can fall between the seats and be very hard to find later.
- Use a Travel Tray for the kids in their car seats to rest their cards or roll their dice on. We recommend our BE Family Travel Trays.
- Focusing on cards or a game board can cause motion sickness on a road trip in kids. Tips on how to prevent Motion Sickness in Kids here.
- Choose a scavenger hunt or printable car games to keep the kids engaged along the journey. We find that helps them to want to look around so they can enjoy the scenery as you drive.
What are your best family travel game suggestions?
We hope these lists of best family travel games above will help give you ideas for your next family adventure. Please let us know your thoughts about any games that you have played. Also, if you try any of our suggestions we would love to know what you think. Leave us a comment below. Share this article to help out your friends who may be planning a road trip with kids or a family vacation.
Let’s help each other along the way to make our family travel easier.
We hope this post will bring you more peace on your family adventures. And remember, Let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.
Until next time,
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