In preparation for traveling there is the age old question of what games to bring. There are some key factors to consider when selecting games to bring. Travel often gives us much needed down time. It can be the perfect opportunity for quality family game time. Packing the right games helps support fun for all.

1. Packing Space and Game Portability

Whether you are driving or flying can greatly affect what you pack. Even driving, limited space may require a small boxes. By critically considering the space you have it will help determine the size and number of games to bring. Many of my family vacations are a drivable distance and we have a minivan, so I can bring a tote bag of games. Limited car space or flying may only allow you to pack a few very small games.

2. Who Might Play?

The who is probably the most important of the guiding questions. If you are going away with a bunch of gamers and have planned to dedicate time to a large deep time consuming strategy game that us one thing. Most people, however, are going to have a range of ages and gaming experience which needs to be accounted for. The age, gaming experience, and interest in the game (both game mechanics and theme) are key considerations.

3. Time and Energy for Games

You need to consider how you will be spending you time on vacation.  If you are at Disney, you might only need games to fill time in the airport. My family likes to vacation at the Cape, and even after a leisurely day on the beach we don’t have the mental power for a complex game. In contrast when we knew there would be a snowy day in Vermont, we packed extra games to occupy the down time.

4. Table Space available

Often times, in hotels the table space is quite limited. In contrast,  the space at a rented house may be more generous. Though my experience with rental houses, the tables are often small compared to the number of people staying there. Another thing to consider is wait time at airports or restaurants. Different locations call for different size games.

5. Familiar vs New Games

It can be a high mental demand to learn a new game, some more than others. After a long day enjoying your vacation you may not have the mental bandwidth to learn a new game. Playing a familiar game gives you the quicker time to get the game started, and can be more comfortable for players to dive right in.

One other thing the consider with learning a new game, is that many players rely on how it’s played videos. These may be hard to access if there is limited WIFI/internet access.

Game Suggestions

The following games are games that we enjoy and pack a lot of game into a small size.

The Mind

Sushi Go

This Game Goes to Eleven

Cinco Linko


Get the MacGuffin

Hive Pocket Edition


Rory’s Story Cubes

Love Letter

Farkle/Zombie Dice/ Cosmic Whimp Out

Card Games with a Standard Deck of Card

By Linda Wrobel

Managing Editor: Board Games Mother, Educator, and Board Game Editor.

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