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The Ultimate List of Portable Board Games for Travelers 

If you’re gearing up for your next adventure and looking to add a board game to your packing list, you’re not alone. Playing games while on the go can elevate your travel experience, whether it’s a long-haul flight, a road trip, or a cruise. This Ultimate List of Portable Board Games for Travelers can help you select the perfect game for your trip. The curated list covers truly portable games, excluding those that can be frustrating to keep track of or take up too much space. Popular favorites like Love Letter, Sushi Go!, and Hanabi, as well as lesser-known gems, are all included. Discover your new go-to travel game!
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Top Rated, Adventure-Approved Travel Board Games

Traveling can be a great way to escape the monotony of everyday life and immerse oneself in new experiences. Playing board games during a trip can make the journey more enjoyable and memorable, whether it’s a long-haul flight, a road trip, or a cruise. Board games not only keep travelers engaged and entertained but also offer an excellent opportunity to socialize with other travelers and locals. With so many options available, selecting the perfect game for your trip can be challenging. Therefore, I have curated a list of the best travel board games, taking into account key factors such as portability, durability, gameplay time, ease of play, and number of players to help you make an informed decision. 

It’s important to note that this list is not comprehensive, and you may have other games you enjoy and want to bring along on your travels that are not listed here. As I curated the list, I excluded games that are too difficult to manage while traveling due to their numerous pieces. Additionally, I skipped games with complex gameplay mechanics or requiring considerable table space. Speaking of, if you’re short on luggage space and unable to pack a dice tower (check out a few recommendations in this blog post), it’s best to avoid games that rely heavily on dice. In my experience, dice-based games are more likely to result in lost pieces, which can be both inconvenient and frustrating. Lastly, I didn’t include games that are difficult to find in either local game stores (where you’ll find the best gems) or online. Enough with the disclaimers. Here’s the list:

Love Letter 

Love Letter is a fast-paced card game designed for 2-4 players. The game includes 16 cards, 4 reference cards, and tokens for keeping score. Players take on the roles of suitors trying to win the heart of the princess by getting their love letter to her. The game is played over a series of rounds and involves deduction and bluffing. The playing area for Love Letter is small, requiring only a surface large enough to draw a card and play a card. The game was designed by Seiji Kanai and is published by multiple publishers worldwide. Love Letter has won several awards, including the 2013 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    10-20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-4

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Sushi Go! 

Sushi Go! is a fast-paced card game designed for 2-5 players. The game includes 108 cards with adorable illustrations of sushi dishes. Players take turns selecting and passing cards to create sets of sushi dishes for points. The game is played over three rounds and involves strategy and anticipation. Sushi Go! requires a small playing area, with enough space for each player to place their cards in front of them. The game was designed by Phil Walker-Harding and published by Gamewright. Sushi Go! has been nominated for several awards, including the 2015 Spiel des Jahres. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    15-20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-5

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Hanabi 

Hanabi is a cooperative card game designed for 2-5 players. The game includes 60 cards with numbers and colors and a small game board for keeping track of progress. Players work together to create fireworks displays by playing cards in the correct order. The twist is that players hold their cards facing outward, so they can’t see their own hand. The playing area for Hanabi is relatively small, requiring only a surface large enough to hold a handful of cards. The game was designed by Antoine Bauza and is published by multiple publishers worldwide. Hanabi has won several awards, including the 2013 Spiel des Jahres.

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    25-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2-5

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The Mind 

The Mind is a cooperative card game designed for 2-4 players. The game includes numbered cards from 1 to 100 and a small deck of throwing stars. Players work together to play their cards in ascending order without communicating verbally or non-verbally. The game is played over a series of rounds and requires intuition and synchronization between players. The playing area required for The Mind is minimal, with only enough space for players to lay out a small deck of cards. The game was designed by Wolfgang Warsch and published by multiple publishers worldwide. The Mind has won several awards, including the 2018 Spiel des Jahres. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    15-20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-4

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Onirim 

Onirim is a solo or 2-player card game that includes 76 cards and a small game board. Players take on the roles of dreamers trying to escape from a labyrinth of nightmares by finding eight doors. The game involves matching colors and symbols and managing a limited hand of cards. The playing area for Onirim is small, requiring only a surface large enough to draw a card and play a card. The game was designed by Shadi Torbey and published by multiple publishers worldwide. Onirim has been nominated for several awards, including the 2010 Golden Geek Best Card Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    15-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    1-2

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Jaipur 

Jaipur is a 2-player card game that includes 55 cards and tokens for keeping score. Players take on the roles of traders competing to earn the most money by buying and selling goods. The game involves strategic card management and timing. The playing area for Jaipur is small, requiring only a surface large enough for each player to place their cards and tokens in front of them. The game was designed by Sebastien Pauchon and published by multiple publishers worldwide. Jaipur has won several awards, including the 2010 Spiel des Jahres. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

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Hive Pocket 

Hive Pocket is a two-player abstract game that includes 22 hexagonal tiles with illustrations of insects. Players take turns placing and moving tiles to surround the opponent’s queen bee. The game involves tactical planning and adapting to the changing board. Hive Pocket requires a small playing area, with enough space for each player to place their hexagonal pieces in front of them. The game was designed by John Yianni and published by Gen42 Games. Hive Pocket has been nominated for several awards, including the 2010 Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

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Codenames Duet 

Codenames Duet is a cooperative word game designed for 2 players. The game includes 400 cards with words and a key card that shows which words are for the red team, blue team, or neutral. Players work together to identify all the words belonging to their team while avoiding the assassin card. The game was designed by Vlaada Chvátil and Scot Eaton, published by Czech Games Edition in 2017. The game is played on a table and requires enough space to accommodate a 5×5 grid of word cards. It won the Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game Award in 2017. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    15 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-4

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Star Realms 

Star Realms is a fast-paced deck-building game designed for 2 players. The game includes 128 cards and tokens for tracking health and authority. Players take turns playing cards to attack the opponent’s authority while buying new cards to add to their deck. The game involves strategic card selection and timing. The game was designed by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, published by White Wizard Games in 2014. The game is played on a small playing area and requires enough space to accommodate a row of cards for the trade deck and another row for the draw deck. It won the Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game Award in 2014. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

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Lost Cities 

Lost Cities is a two-player card game that includes 60 cards and tokens for keeping score. Players take on the roles of explorers trying to discover ancient ruins and artifacts. The game involves strategic card management and timing, with players deciding whether to invest in a particular expedition or cut their losses. The game was designed by Reiner Knizia, published by Kosmos in 1999. The game is played on a table and requires enough space to lay out 5 different expedition areas. It was a Spiel des Jahres Recommended game in 2000.

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

Check Out The Price

No Thanks! 

No Thanks! is a card game that involves passing on cards to avoid collecting too many points. Each turn, players can either take a card or place a chip on the card to pass it to the next player. Players who take a card collect points equal to the card’s value, while chips act as a negative point. The game ends when all cards have been taken, and the player with the fewest points wins. No Thanks! can be played with 3-7 players and has 33 cards and 55 chips. The game was designed by Thorsten Gimmler, published by AMIGO in 2004. The game is played on a table and does not require a large playing area. It was a Spiel des Jahres Recommended game in 2005. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    3-5

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Saboteur

Saboteur is a board game of hidden roles and deduction where players take on the roles of either miners trying to find gold or saboteurs trying to prevent them from doing so. Players take turns playing path cards to reach the gold or block others, while secretly trying to achieve their own goals. The game ends when the gold is reached or the path is blocked, and the players reveal their roles. Saboteur can be played with 3-10 players and has 44 path cards, 27 action cards, and 28 gold nugget tokens. The game was designed by Fréderic Moyersoen, published by Z-Man Games in 2004. The game is played on a table and requires enough space to lay out the tunnel cards in a path. It was a Spiel des Jahres Recommended game in 2010. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    3-10

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Friday 

Friday is a 1-player board game where players take on the role of Robinson Crusoe stranded on a deserted island. The game involves defeating pirates, gathering food, and building shelter to survive. Each turn, players must fight against hazard cards using a combination of resource cards, trying to keep Robinson alive until he can build a raft and escape the island. Friday has 74 cards and can be played by one player. The game was designed by Friedemann Friese, published by 2F-Spiele in 2011.  

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    25 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    1

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Biblios 

Biblios is a board game of set collection and bidding, where players take on the roles of monks trying to collect the best collection of ancient books. Players take turns drawing cards and distributing them into piles, then auction off the piles to gain the cards they need. The game ends when all cards have been distributed, and the player with the most points from their books and money wins. Biblios can be played with 2-4 players and has 112 cards. The game was designed by Steve Finn, published by IELLO in 2007. The game is played on a table and requires enough space to lay out the auction cards, player cards, and reserve cards. It was a Golden Geek Best Card Game Nominee in 2008. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-60 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2-4

Check Your Local Game Store

Parade 

Parade is a colorful card game where players try to avoid collecting too many cards by playing cards with matching colors or numbers. Each turn, players can play a card from their hand, but they must also take all the cards in front of them that match the played card. The game ends when a player collects a certain number of cards, and the player with the fewest points wins. Parade can be played with 2-6 players and has 66 cards. Designed by Naoki Homma and published by Z-Man Games, Parade won the 2007 Japan Boardgame Prize Voters’ Selection award, in addition to being a 2008 Boardgames Australia Awards Best International Game Winner, 2008 Lys Grand Public Finalist, and 2007 Tric Trac Nominee. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    20-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-6

Check Your Local Game Store

Skull 

Skull is a bluffing board game where players take turns placing cards facedown and declaring how many they can turn over without revealing a Skull. The catch is that if they flip over a Skull, they’re out for the round. Players can also challenge other players’ declarations, leading to a fast-paced game of bluffing and deduction. Skull can be played with 3-6 players and has 6 coasters and 18 cards. Designed by Hervé Marly and published by Asmodee, Skull was a 2012 Årets Spel Best Adult Game Winner. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    3-6

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Coloretto 

Coloretto is a card game where players take turns collecting cards of different colors, trying to create sets for points. The catch is that too many cards in a certain color can hurt your score. Each turn, players either take a card or start a new row of cards for others to choose from. The game ends when the draw pile is empty, and the player with the most points wins. Coloretto can be played with 2-5 players and has 104 cards. Designed by Michael Schacht and published by Rio Grande Games, Coloretto won the 2004 Fairplay À la carte award, in addition to the 2004 Japan Boardgame Prize Best Foreign Game for Beginners Winner and 2004 Spiel des Jahres Recommended. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-5

Check Out The Price

Targi 

Targi is a strategic two-player board game set in the desert where players take turns placing workers on a grid to gain resources, collect cards, and build their tribe. Players can block each other’s actions, leading to a game of tactical maneuvering and planning. The game ends when all grid spaces have been occupied, and the player with the most victory points wins. Targi has 1 game board, 12 tribe cards, 48 goods tokens, 24 tribe markers, and 1 central Targia tile. The game requires a playing area of about 22 x 17 inches and typically takes 60-80 minutes to play. It was designed by Andreas Steiger and published by Kosmos in 2012. Targi has received positive reviews for its strategic depth and engaging gameplay, and it has won several awards, including the 2012 Fairplay À la carte and 2012 International Gamers Award – General Strategy: Two-players. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    60 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

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Welcome To… 

Welcome To… is a roll-and-write board game designed by Benoit Turpin. Players take turns selecting from three different options to build their own neighborhoods, trying to score the most points by creating pools, parks, and houses in the correct order. The game includes a scorepad, game cards, and tokens, and features unique mechanics such as simultaneous action selection and a variable game end condition. Welcome To… has a playtime of approximately 25 minutes. Welcome To… won the 2019 Golden Geek Best Solo Board Game award. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    25 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    1-100

Check Out The Price

Sprawlopolis 

If you're gearing up for your next adventure and looking to add a board game to your packing list, you're not alone. Playing games while on the go can elevate your travel experience, whether it's a long-haul flight, a road trip, or a cruise. This Ultimate List of Portable Board Games for Travelers can help you select the perfect game for your trip. The curated list covers truly portable games, excluding those that can be frustrating to keep track of or take up too much space. Popular favorites like Love Letter, Sushi Go!, and Hanabi, as well as lesser-known gems, are all included. Discover your new go-to travel game!

Sprawlopolis is a cooperative city-building board game designed by Steven Aramini, Danny Devine, and Paul Kluka. The game features only 18 cards, can be played by 1-4 players and has a playtime of approximately 15 minutes. Players take turns placing cards to create a city layout that meets certain requirements, such as specific road connections or building types. The game features unique mechanics such as tile placement and cooperative gameplay. The game includes cards and a rulebook. The game comes in a wallet and can be played on a small playing area. Sprawlopolis won the 2018 Golden Geek Best Print & Play Board Game award. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Very High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    15-20 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    1-4

Check Your Local Game Store

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