The Best Family Travel Games to Take on Holiday

posted in: Blog | 27
Robert playing SET
Robert playing SET

Jess, aged 13, writes: Our family loves to play board games and we have a lot of them. We are fiercely competitive, especially with our favourite: Articulate, where Mum is almost always on the winning team! Whenever our family goes on holiday, we always make sure to bring lots of games with us – not only are they small and easy to carry around, they are so much fun and make a change from our electronic devices and books. Plus, they make for great Christmas presents! Here are our suggestions for the best family games to take on holiday…



Bananagrams is a particular favourite of mine, as it involves thinking quickly and strategic planning. Although this game uses tiles (so it cannot be played on a plane), we take it on almost every holiday, as it is so much fun and extremely portable (it comes in a banana-shaped bag). The objective of the game is to form a crossword using all of your letters. You can “dump” one and put it back in the pile (but you have to pick three back up), and when someone has finished their crossword, everyone has to pick up one more until the counters run out. It gets very difficult at the end when you have to fit a Q into your otherwise-perfect crossword!

I adore this game (possibly because I am very good at it!), and recommend it to families with children aged 8+. We play it a lot, and find it really stimulating and exciting. It costs around £12.

Wordaround, Donkey, Cheery Families and Smart Egg
Some of our favourite games to take on holiday with us!


Donkey is a card game which can be played by younger members of the family, but this didn’t stop me from playing it with my 13 year old friends on a plane! The objective is simple; pick a card from the person next to you and try to get a pair, but don’t get the donkey card. The person with the donkey at the end of the game is the loser.

This game is perfect for all the family, and gets surprisingly tense and exciting. We have played it almost everywhere as it is small and portable, and it can be played in five minutes. It also cost us just £1 (Mum bought it from a stationery shop when were in Bristol).

Word A Round

Word A Round is my favourite game by a mile, because it is fast paced and exhilarating. There are cards with words on them, but you cannot tell where they begin and end. The object of the game is to work out what the word is before your opponents, thereby winning the card. The first person with 10 cards wins, although we often play with the whole set.

This game is probably for people aged 8+, and I cannot stress how brilliant it is. It costs between £10 and £12.


We haven’t owned Dobble for as long as the others, but think it is perfect for taking on holiday – all the cards come in a small tin. There are loads of different ways to play it, and our version is very fast paced. The cards are split between the players, and there is one in the middle. The objective is to find a symbol on your card matching the card in the middle before the other player, and the winner is the person with no cards left. I love this game as it is fun, exciting, and stimulating, albeit stressful! It has a recommended retail price of £12.99.


Set is a genius and brilliant game, which our family have played a lot over the years. The objective is to create a “set” of three cards which either have similar or all different properties. For example, the cards may all be green, are each different shapes, and are all striped. This is difficult the first time you play it, but it gets progressively easier the more you play it. We all love it, as it really makes you think. It costs between £10 and £12.

I can’t finish this post without recommending some other games as well. We always take Happy Families with us, and we all love a good game of UNO and Robert really likes Top Trumps (he has lots of different types). I really like Smart Egg, a puzzle which is essentially a 3D labyrinth. You have to get a stick in one side and out of the other, and it’s perfect in situations where you can’t really get a whole game out of your bag and costs just £5.99 from Waterstones and online.

We love all of the games in this post and play them a lot – I recommend them 100%.

More from Jess: Five Cool Places to Eat in London



27 Responses

  1. Mums do travel

    Thanks Jess, this is really interesting. We always take Bananagrams, Uno and Top Trumps when we travel. My favourite is Bananagrams, and I like the sound of Word A Round.

  2. Jen

    We have dobble and set and love them. My boys are a little younger and they love sleeping queens

  3. Ting at My Travel Monkey

    What brilliant ideas – I’ve heard Bananagrams is good. My son is too young yet to play any of these, he gets bored easily! But when he’s older I am keeping your suggestions in my arsenal to combat boredom!


    My son goes wild for top trumps too. And Articulate is a personal favourite of mine. I’m yet to play it with the children (who are only 3 and 6), but they’ll be ready for it soon…hurrah!

  5. oana79

    Plenty of great game ideas there, I need to bookmark this for when Emma grows a bit older. I do think Dobble would be a great game for us even now, as it encourages concentration and attention to detail.xx

  6. Mari

    UNO! We love that game and another favourite is a portable Snakes and Ladders. I must dig out our Dobble game, thanks for reminding me.
    There are some excellent ideas here, I shal return as the twins grow.

  7. Kirsten

    I think your version of Dobble is exactly like the US version of Spot It! My kids love that game. Their all time favorite is Mad Libs. They love making silly stories and it doesn’t take up much room in the suitcase!

  8. Christine

    I love Bananagrams and it’s a holiday tradition for us to play it on holiday. Only downside is needing somewhere flat to lay out all the tiles; it’s not a game we can easily take camping! I haven’t played all of the others but I have fond memories of playing Donkey whenever I went to my grandparents house.

  9. Micki

    We LOVE SET!! But our new family favorite is the KARMA card game which is like UNO on steroids – everyone wins except the last player with cards. It really gets your competitive juices flowing. 🙂

  10. Charly Dove

    Some brilliant games and some new ones for us to have a look at too. We already enjoy Articulate, that’s lots of fun. Dobble sounds hilarious!

  11. Trish Burgess

    I like the idea of Word A Round – not tried that one before.
    We always used to take boxes of quiz questions – for instance, the questions from Trivial Pursuit but without the board or the wedges!
    Boggle was good too

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *