I’ll admit it: we are a family of board game geeks!  We love to while away hours rolling dice, shuffling cards and sliding plastic pieces across colorful boards.  We laugh, debate rules and enjoy each other’s company over board games.  So naturally, we always travel with an assortment of games.  Many of our favorites, like Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride and Betrayal at House on the Hill are too big for our luggage, so we had to narrow down our game closet.  

Our Top 12 favorite board games on the go are:

Exploding Kittens


Exploding Kittens is a hilarious card game for 2 to 9 players (with the expansion).  Players try to build up sets of cards without being exploded by the kittens.

Code Names

Code Names – This is one of the few board games that all members of our family love equally.  Teams of players try to communicate which cards they should turn over, without saying the names of the cards, and without accidentally communicating the wrong card.

Phase 10


Phase 10 – This is a great card game to play with friends on the road.  It’s easy to learn and works well for all ages.  



This is a great game for 10 and under.  Players build up sets of alike-numbered rats and watch out for the cat!

Munchkin – Our twins love this game. 


Munchkin is a sort of dungeon game played entirely with a card deck.  But a large part of the game is causing your friends grief by enhancing the monsters they are facing or deteriorating their armor at the worst possible time.  As you might imagine, very popular with 11-13 year old boys.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak 

This is a quick game without a lot of parts.  Each player gets a hidden role, like a hunter, a villager or a werewolf.  After one night of strange things happening, everyone has to figure out who the werewolf or werewolves are.

Ok Play

Easy to learn, fun to play and the perfect size for travel, OK Play is a great travel game.   We love that the game comes with a clip so we can attach it to our backpack.  Available at Target.  

Anomia Party Edition Card Game

Anomia Party Edition Card Game – This is a great game to play with a group.  It’s simple to learn and moves really fast.  We recently played with the entire family at a multi-generational family gathering.  Everyone had a blast!  The recommended age is 10 to 14 but younger kids can play if you help them with the categories.  


Unlike most games where players compete to beat each other, Pandemic is a cooperative multiplayer experience.  Picking a role in an imaginary outbreak of disease, you can be a researcher, medic, doctor, operations expert and more.  Working together, the team responds to outbreaks in various world cities and tries to keep things under control while searching for a cure.  Great for teamwork and world geography.  This game is great for older players.  The recommended age is 13 but our boys started playing at 10.  It takes up more room in our suitcase but this game is worth it.

Tiki Topple

This game has a bunch of loose pieces so we carry it in a plastic bag.  Our twins love this game and because it’s for 2 to 4 players they can play without us which is great when we are trying to get something done.  

Cobra Paw

Quick reflexes and mental focus are key to winning this fun and fast-paced game.  Our boys have already grabbed the matching tiles before we even see them!  It’s really fun!

Spot It

Spot It is really easy to play on the go and can be played with 2 to 8 players.  It doesn’t require a large play space so it’s the perfect game for long car or plane rides.  We have it in both English and Spanish.  

Packing Games For Travel

How to make games fit your luggage

How to make games fit your luggage

Some games like OK Play and Phase 10 are easy to slip into your carry-on.  For larger games with boards and pieces, we always remove the packaging and put the games in large plastic bags, which saves a lot of space.  We would love a more environmentally-friendly way to carry them, but for now plastic will have to do.

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12 Favorite Board Games for Travel