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July 23, 2022 4 min read

Going away for a holiday? It can be the perfect time to take a break from the daily grind and spend quality time together.  Games can also be a great way to keep children entertained during the inevitable queuing and spare time involved in travelling by plane, train or automobile.

Where you are staying and how you are travelling will make a big difference to you requirements.  Are you in a cottage with a full dining table, in a tent with a small camping table, or are you on the move with no space at all?  We have endeavoured to meet some different space and age requirements below.

 

Games to take to your dream holiday cottage

Looking for something to pass an enjoyable afternoon or evening of downtime with family of friends. These games come in small boxes so are easily packable and have great ‘replayability’:

Helvetiq make simple but engaging and strategically satisfying games in a very small (11x6x3cm) box, making them the ideal travelling companion.

Bandido is our top pick because its so easy to pick up, but offers endless opportunities to play and play again. The Bandido is tunnelling out of prison and players take turns to lay cards to build the tunnel close off his escape routes. It’s great for training your brain in visual processing and problem solving and a cooperative game that can be enjoyed by all ages. It does require a large area (we often play on a large dining table or the floor) to spread out those cards , especially when you let the tunnels get a bit out of control!
Image of Bandido cards laid out on table during a game with a hand placing one

For a smaller play area (you could easily enjoy it on a train table or sitting side by side on a plane) look no further than Sushi Go. This compact card drafting classic is quick, fun and guaranteed to bring you back for more. Each player is dealt a hand; they take a card and pass the remainder to the next player until all card are taken. Points depend on sets and card combinations so chose carefully and keep track of what’s left in play to score the highest points. Illustrations are engaging and it can be enjoyed by all ages (7+ approximately).

Close up of a hand holding Sushi Go cards. The game tin is in the background.

For a bit of on-the-go gunslinging and coding, Colt Super Express packs a big punch in a small box and without requiring more than a small table. This is slimmed-down, sped-up version of one of our favourites - Colt Express - and is just as dynamic and fun, and simpler, for a quicker game time and a great introduction for younger children. Players take ‘the role of program' their actions three moves ahead to attack or evade their opponents, making Colt Super Express a thrilling introduction to coding concepts.

Sleeping Queens is an ideal choice for travelling with younger children. Officially for age 8+, it can easily be enjoyed by younger children (they need to know their number bonds to ten) and is engaging enough to keep the adults happy too!

A child in the foreground holding a hand of Sleeping Queens cards facing towards us. Cards are laid out on the table in front of them.

Dobble is a fun speed observation game for all ages.  Available in a wide variety of themes, our favourite is Dobble Animals.  Any two cards have one animal in common.  Spot the pair name them to to win! Discover 5 mini games and challenges to play together. No reading is required. Some games require a little table space, some none, making Dobble a brilliant family travel companion.

 

Compact games to entertain on the move

Here we are looking at games that can be packed in a handbag and can be played anywhere, even without a playing surface. Our top picks to play any time, any place are:

For age 8+:

Philosophical Questions for Curious Minds: Is it better to be an optimist, and expect that good things will happen to us most of the time, so that we are always hopeful? Or to be a pessimist, and expect that bad things will happen to us most of the time, so that we aren’t too disappointed when they do?

Ponder this and many other questions on the topics of morality, reality, spirituality, society and the meaning of life with this fascinating set of cards. What do your friends and family think? Can you convince them of your viewpoint? Perfect to keep everyone happy and entertained wherever you are.

9 School of Life Philosophical Questions for Curious Minds question cards are laid out in a square, alternately face up and face down
For younger children:

Robot's Mission: Create A Story Cards: The delightfully illustrated cards are used to guide players to create their own story. Great for turning otherwise empty of tense travelling times with fun and imagination. The official age recommendation on these is 6 years+, but they can be enjoyed by younger children, particularly with a little more involvement from a parent.

Robot Mission Create a Story Box and 3 cards showing a robot bird, and underwater robot dog and a large robot carrying a crate

 

Learning on the Go

For kids with a thirst of learning, History Heroes are a packable treat. Historical cramming with a quirky and competitive edge. Explore fascinating and unusual facts about historical figures as you compete to ‘guess who’ from the information on the card. With the opportunity to discover a range of themes and time periods, History Heroes have something for everyone.

 

A close up of a hand of History Heroes: Children cards is in the foreground. Joan of Arc is the top card, showing a hand drawn picture of her and 7 facts listed underneath. These are divided into red, amber and green facts for difficulty, and one 'Joker Fact', A child is in the background holding a hand of cards.

 

 

Something To Keep the Kids Busy

Children need to be able to play alone, but being away from home or in transit can be hard. Luckily there are plenty of options to keep children entertained and educated on the go

The IQ series from SmartGames offer a series of graded visual/spatial logic problems to solve in a small, travel friendly case.

Can fit something a little larger (but still with it's own travel bag)? Check out Rush Hourfrom ThinkFun. It’s a classic for a reason. Set up the puzzle according to the graded challenge card and move the vehicles to release your car from the gridlock.

 

Close up of a chhild's hands playing Rush Hour on a train table. A square plastic board is is in a six by six grid with coloured cars arranged on it. The cars can slide either up and down or left and right along grooves in the board.A puzzle card showing car start locations is visible.

 

Books, of course, are a must for any holiday, and if you’re looking for something a bit more interactive, and also educational, look no further than Tarquin. The Multiplication Tables Colouring Book is both relaxing and great for stealthily keeping those maths skills honed in the summer holidays!

A book is open on the table and a child is facing towards us colouring in. The left side of the book has a light bulb shaped picture divided into sections with a number on each. The right side of the page has a series of sums in the 9,11 and 12 times tables.

For a child who enjoys a maths puzzle, we’d highly recommend Junior Mini Mathematical Murder Mysteries or The Number Detective to stretch and engage children around 8-11 years who enjoy a challenge.

There's plenty more to enjoy, so find our full range of travel games on Steam Rocket.