Travel Games for Adults that are Portable and Worthwhile

Why not enjoy some travel games for adults when you travel, whether you’re lounging by a pool, at a bar enjoying cocktails, or in your hotel room enjoying the room you booked for your vacation?

Some of these travel games are nostalgic (hello, Uno!) and others are new(er). But regardless, they’ll keep you off your phones, away from the TV and interacting with each other.

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Card Travel Games for Adults

The best thing about card games is their utterly portable and they are very quiet. They’re great to play on an airplane with your travel buddy if you’re sitting next to each other or together during your trip.

Uno

There is no shame in this game. It’s an absolute classic card game and it’s the first card game we ever played as a couple. We still love playing it whether we’re home or on the road.

If you’ve never played Uno, we recommend getting it because it’s a staple! It’s been around for over 50 years.

You can play with two to four players. The game starts when one card is drawn, and then the players take turns to match colors or numbers to keep things going.

The twists come when a play puts down a card that says, “Draw Four” for example or reverse the play to skip the other player’s turns, etc. The first player to use all of his or her cards up wins.

We have two sets: one we keep at home and one we keep in the car. The one at home is the one we sometimes pack in our travel backpack to go on vacation with. You can also keep one and gift the other if you buy the Uno two-pack.

Sushi Go

We had Sushi Go for so long before we actually played it. I picked it up one day after seeing it in the game aisle of Target, after perusing an aisle nearby for puzzles. I love sushi….and the game is called Sushi Go. It was a no-brainer and looked easy enough to play. And it is. But it’s cute and fun and you can’t help but smile as you build your own sushi menu.

Get points as you build up your maki rolls, or accumulate nigiri. You get extra points for things like a dip in wasabi (haha!).

You in no way, shape, or form need to understand or know sushi to play the game. It’s just fun if you do because you’ll easily recognize the menu items. And if you don’t normally eat sushi, it’s a good way to learn the words. Think of a “maki roll” as another word for “round column.” In other words, even if the cards were named for the shapes and colors it would be the same concept. They just added a fun twist.

Sushi Go can be played with two players but it’s most fun with four.

The tin with the cards is only 8.5 ounces, and measures 4.25″ x 5.75″ x 1.5″.

Exploding Kittens

Friends of ours introduced us to this game when we were hanging out in their kitchen after a BBQ. “Do you want to play Exploding Kittens?” We were utterly confused. When they explained it to us, however, we were game.

Exploding Kittens has sold millions of decks, worldwide. It’s won multiple awards. And though the original is fun…why not lean deeper into the adult side of things? Because they have an Exploding Kittens adult, not-safe-for-work deck! What adult doesn’t love that? It’s not so much raunchy, by the way, as it is potty humor, perhaps. (The non-adult versions are very safe for kids, by the way.)

You can play with anywhere between two to five players.

The box measures 4.4″ x 6.4″ x 1.5″ and weighs 3.5 ounces.

Scrabble Slam

If word games and spelling are your jam, you need Scrabble Slam in your life. Something about it reminds us of a major twist on Boggle, probably because of the concept you have to make words from different letters.

You start with a set of cards and swap out letters to change the words. For example, BAM can become BAT. LATE become FATE. It can be as easy or as hard as the players’ vocabulary and spelling knowledge, who are playing it.

The box measures 0.8″ x 3.6″ x 5.6″ and weighs just 2.4 ounces.

Monopoly Deal

Like the concept of Monolopy but want the convenience of a deck of cards? You’ll need a little table space for this but as long as you have that, and the deck of Monopoly Deal cards, you’re good to play!

It lasts a lot less time than the board game (you can play a game in 30-minutes) but has similar concepts. You want to have three properties in the end, as you handle House, Property, and Rent cards. Money cards will give you the nostalgia of the printed money in the real game, but you won’t have to deal with tiny metal pieces or dice like with the full-size board game.

The box weighs less than 5 ounces, and measures 0.8″ x 3.6″ x 5.6″.

Chat Pack Conversation Cards

If you want to grab a game and head to a bar, we can’t recommend Chat Packs enough. It’s not a classic card game in terms of strategy or plays; the point with a Chat Pack is to spark intriguing conversations.

Each card poses a question about life, whether goals or dreams and is sure to help you get to know your partner or travel buddy on a deeper level, no matter how long you have known each other. We first discovered these while we were at a wine bar in South Carolina’s Old 96 area and we were hooked. We ended up staying for hours because of these cards.

They’re also ideal for road trips and their compact size makes them optimal for tossing in your handbag or backpack. If you love your first Chat Pack (and we know you will) they sell several expansion packs.

The card pack and case they’re in measure 2.8″ x 1.3″ x 3.8″ and weighs 4.8 ounces.

Our Top Pick for Card Travel Games for Adults

If you’re having trouble choosing one game to buy, we recommend buying Uno if you don’t already own it because it’s a classic that we think everyone should own. We also love Chat Packs if you’re in the mood for some intriguing conversation.

The nice thing about the card games, though, is they’re so compact and lightweight you can choose a few to buy and travel with. Heck, as we do with Uno, keep one deck in the car!

Travel Games for Adults that Require Table Space

Qwirkle

We LOVE this game and were over the moon when we found out there was a travel-size version. The blocks for the full-size version aren’t too big, however the travel-size version has tiles that are approximately the size of a traditional scrabble tile. And you can’t beat the compactness of that size when it comes to travel games for adults.

The game is one of strategy as you match shapes and colors to try to score the most points. It’s a blast and we love pouring some wine, putting on some low-volume music, and playing each other whether a date night at home or now, thanks to the travel size game when we are on the go.

Bananagrams

Have you ever played this classic word-creation and spelling game? The elevator pitch would be that it’s a lot like Scrabble without the board. The original version is incredibly portable. The bag is banana-shaped and unzips to enclose all the plastic letter tiles.

But there’s an even more compact version! Bananagrams Duel! is for two players (perfect for a traveling couple). It adds in banana-shaped theme cards that add a twist to plays should you choose to add them in. And instead of having letters on only one side of the tiles, like the original, this version has 4-sided cubes with letters on all sides.

The entire game weighs only and 3.2 ounces, and the banana case measures 1.2″ x 4.7″ x 6.7″.

Clue Diced!

Does the sentence, “Colonel Mustard, with the rope in the library,” ring a bell? If that is board game music to your ears you’re not alone; it is to us too! It was an absolute favorite game of mine as a kid. (The other was Guess Who. And there’s a travel size for that too, though we don’t necessarily recommend it for adults. It’s too easy when you’re older!)

You’ll be surprised at how small the travel version is because it’s slightly different than the original. They reinvented it and took away the board, added dice, and made two people guilty instead of just one. Luckily, they have kept the famous “Confidential” folder and cards.

You will need a third player for this game, as the instructions say it’s for 3 to 4 players.

It’s only 10.2 ounces, and 2″ x 6.13″ x 9.5″ in size.

Scrabble

If you love to create words with tiles and have the time for a game that may take a little longer than Uno, for instance, Scrabble is a classic game for any adult. And good news: they have a convenient travel size!

The board folds in half like the full-size game, but unlike the full-size game, it becomes a storage piece for the pieces. The wooden tiles are stored in a cloth bag, that goes inside the foldable board.

The wooden version makes a great travel gift too. The box is attractive and the whole game weighs just 1.5 pounds, and, folded, the board measures 9.8″ x 9.2″ x 1.2″. If you’re into the wooden pieces and still want that feel on the go, this is the version you want.

If you’re serious about Scrabble and “legal” Scrabble words, don’t forget to buy the official Scrabble Players Dictionary. There’s a Kindle version (yay!) and a paperback version that is 1.5 pounds (same weight as the wooden board).

Want an even SMALLER version of Scrabble? Good news: there is a mini-board, called Scrabble To Go. The coolest thing is that the tile racks have a privacy shield on top that folds down on the tiles, in case you have to pack them up to-go, mid-game.

The lightweight plastic tiles are stored in a cloth bag and snap into place on the board when you’re ready for your turn.

If Scrabble To Go is still too big, check out how TINY this Scrabble board is! It fits in the palm of your hand. Wow. (We also found this teeny-tiny version of Operation when we looked that up. How frickin’ cute is that? I loved that game as a kid too.)

Battleship

As far as needing tablespace for this classic game, you’ll just need a little bit. You could even play it in a car as long as no one was peeking at the other person’s pegboard, and you’re mindful of the pieces not bouncing out if you go over a huge bump. (We don’t recommend travel Battleship for a bumpy car ride, but a smooth one should be fine.)

Battleship is a classic game that’s been around for many decades! You set up your battleship pieces, then guess where the other person has placed them on their board by calling out grid numbers. The pieces in the travel version are small so be prepared to use your dexterity on them!

The Grab and Go Battleship version from Hasbro has a box that measures 1.9″ x 6.3″ x 9.3″, but the actual boards, if you will, inside are smaller. So theoretically you could travel without the box as long as you have the boards and all the pieces inside. It weighs 5.6 ounces.

Travel Size Connect 4

Who doesn’t love a good game of Connect 4, for some good ‘ole fun?

We don’t recommend this for an airplane ride or an area where you’re with strangers, because no one can mistake the sound of all the plastic pieces crashing down when you start a new game with another noise! But if you’re in a hotel room or your own cabin enjoying the Blue Ridge Mountains, for instance, the travel size of Connect 4 is perfect.

The point of the game is to get four colors in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, to score 4 in a row. You take turns going with another player; Connect 4 is exclusively a two-player game.

The game weighs just 5.6 ounces and measures 1.9″ x 6.3″ x 9.3″.

Magnetic Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon

When we were little, we played these games for hours. They’re perfect for traveling because the magnetic pieces stay in place on the board no matter if you hit a bump in the road or airplane turbulence.

We’ll assume you know how to play checkers, chess, and backgammon for this so we’ll just link you up to the travel versions! All the pieces fit inside the folded-up board, which snaps together to ensure you can safely and securely travel with the pieces.

Each set weighs less than 13 ounces and measures approximately 9.8″ x 9.8″ x 0.8″.

Travel Games for Adults that Fit in Your Lap

Sometimes we just need to play a game solo when we’re traveling. For instance, if we’re on a plane Dan may want to watch a movie but I get fidgety easily and want to do something like play a game. These portable Smart IQ Games are the perfect travel games for adults! They’re sure to keep your mind sharp.

The concept is similar for each of the three we recommend below. The main difference is the design. Each comes with 120 challenge cards.

It comes with the cards and pieces you need to challenge yourself to solve the puzzle.

IQ XOXO has colorful letters, IQ Arrows has directional arrows and IQ Twist adds colored pegs to amp up the challenges.

Each measures 3.8″ x 1.1″ x 5.7″, and weighs less than 6 ounces.

Which Travel Games for Adults is Best for You?

It truly depends on your personality and what you both gravitate towards. Since Dan hates spelling but enjoys intriguing conversation, for instance, we’d steer away from Scrabble and choose a Chat Pack any day. And we truly love Qwirkle.

No matter what, though, pick up some travel games for adults for something to have just in case you need to pass the time or want to challenge yourselves to a little fun on your vacation!

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, which means we may earn a small commission if you click the link and proceed with a purchase, at no cost to you. We truly only recommend hotels, products, and services we personally use. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.

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Mikkel is co-owner and editor of Sometimes Home and Sometimes Sailing along with her husband, Dan. She is a professional photographer in addition to writing about their travel adventures to encourage and motivate others to book their next trip and explore the world.

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