The Best Games to Take on Your Next Family Vacation

When preparing for a family trip it is always smart to pack at least one (or several) games. When the weather on vacation becomes yucky, the quickest way to sour the trip is an entire bored family stuck in a small hotel room.

I’ve learned over the years, just how a board or card game can save a family vacation. Whether someone gets sick, weather becomes bad, or plans change, a fun game can mean the difference between family strife and a great afternoon.

Have you ever come in from a day at the beach exhausted, while your children are still full of energy, bouncing off the hotel walls? Pulling out a bag full of games is a great way to channel that energy into a less annoying outlet.

What should you consider when packing games for a family vacation?

Think about the game packaging. When packing for a family vacation, space is often an issue. Our list of favorite vacation and travel games includes games that come in small packaging. Does the game have a million tiny pieces? Are your children capable of keeping up with those pieces?

Check the both forecast and your travel itinerary. If the forecast already shows bad weather, pack more games or consider larger games. For example, Ticket to Ride is one of our favorites, which I rarely pack for vacation due to its large box. But I will pack it if the forecast looks wet or we have a lot of down time planned during our trip.

Think hard about how much YOU enjoy the game. Game playing on vacation is a family affair. Don’t pack games that drive you crazy, because you know your children are going to beg you to join them. Somehow HedBanz never finds its way into our travel bag. Yes, I know it’s a great game the children love, but I cannot stand playing it! It’s my vacation too, right!?!

The Best Games to Take on Your Next Family Vacation

Playing Cards – One deck of cards and a book such as 101 Best Family Card Games is the most versatile vacation game. With just one deck of cards you can play a variety of games with a variety of ages.

Qwirkle – Scrabble meets dominoes in this fun game where players earn points by matching shapes and colors in rows. Since reading is not required for this scrabble like game, even younger family members are able to play independently. While you can buy a travel version of Qwirkle, my family simply travels with the regular version since the bag of tiles takes up little room in a suitcase.

Tenzi – This fast-pasted dice game that can be played at nearly any age, even my 5-year-old can join in a game that every other person in the family actually enjoys playing. This game is deceptively simple. Each player tries get all 10 of his or her dice on the same side. Simply roll all 10, and continue rolling the non-matches until all the dice show the same number. Race to see which player matches all 10 first. Use the pack of 77 cards to add more variations of play.

Blink – A quick and easy two player game that even non-readers can enjoy.

Banagrams – The small packaging of this game makes it ideal for packing. Race your family members to create individual crossword grids with letter tiles.

Rat-a-Tat Cat – This family favorite card game is perfect for vacation. It can be played by up to 6 people and children as young as 4 years old can enjoy the game. Fast rounds using luck, simple addition, and a little strategy mean everyone gets a chance to win.

Tangos– Tangrams in game form. Also another well packaged and compact game for easy packing.

Jenga– Is your hand steady enough to remove a block and add it to the top of the stack? My family always gets a little rowdy as the tower begins to teeter, but the fun of testing the tower is addicting!

No more “I’m bored!” when vacation includes down time, simply have family game day instead! Do you have any favorite games to travel with?

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