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The 10 best travel board games

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According to science, people who travel frequently show greater life satisfaction — and research shows that people who play board games are more likely to stay sharp in old age. So it only stands to reason that folks who play board games while they travel must be racking up the benefits. That said, the best travel board games need to check off certain boxes: lightweight design, streamlined packaging, and hardy pieces that you won’t lose as soon as you take it out of the packaging.

What To Look For In The Best Travel Board Games

It’s a given that travel board games need to be small and compact. You obviously don’t want a huge game of Risk or Monopoly to tote around when you’re on the road. The options below have extra small and/or folding boards, and most of them weigh less than 2 pounds (in fact, one weighs just 7 ounces).

In addition to size and weight, consider the pieces involved. When games have a million tiny parts, it can be easy to lose or misplace them, unless they are designed to stay put on the board. Special features like magnetic backs, pegs, or slots will help pieces stay in place, even if you get jostled around. These features are extra helpful if you’re looking for games to play while on a plane, on a train, or in the backseat of a car.

Lastly, the box or carrying case that it comes in is important. If you’re looking for portable games, the best options come packaged in lightweight tins, durable wooden cases, or secure zip-around pouches. This will help prevent pieces from falling out when you’re on the move.

With all that in mind, these are the best travel board games on Amazon.

Shop The Best Travel Board Games

In a hurry? These are the best travel board games

  1. Scrabble Deluxe Travel Edition
  2. Clue Nostalgia Tin
  3. Juegoal Portable Chess & Checkers Set
  4. Sequence Folding Board Game
  5. Bananagrams
  6. Gamie Magnetic Board Travel Game Set
  7. Catan Board Game Travel Edition

1. This classic game of Scrabble with a folding wooden travel case

The lowdown: If you’re a Scrabble lover, this is one of the best travel games you’ll find. It’s small and lightweight with a folding wooden case that’s compact and easy to store. The board slides apart so that you can keep the pieces inside, and it has a magnetic closure that prevents it from popping open on the go. Rather than a flat surface, the board has grooves to fit each tile, so the pieces won’t slide around as you play.

According to a reviewer: “This is just the perfect size for fitting into your suitcase, car or RV. It's a smaller footprint than the full size game but for traveling it's fits the bill and we use it all the time now. I like the fact that the board folds in half and has a magnetic clasp that keeps everything inside. For us this is a great addition and we would highly recommend it for anyone who loves the game and travels extensively.”

Number of players: 2 | Dimensions: 9.8 x 4.6 x 2.4 inches | Weight: 1.64 pounds

2. A travel-sized Clue game with 1963-style graphics

The lowdown: Fans of the classic mystery game will love this travel-sized Clue set that comes in a convenient tin box. The playing board has nostalgic graphics inspired by the 1963 edition of the game, and the small size makes it easy to pack and carry around. Reviewers noted that it’s lightweight yet sturdy — and tons of fun to play.

According to a reviewer: “Love the game and love the extra durability with the tin boxes. I bought several games in tin for our RV Travels. The slightly small board sizes are perfect for the RV tabletop. They stack and store well and you don’t have to worry about torn boxes.”

Number of players: 3 to 6 | Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.25 inches | Weight: not specified

3. This chess-checkers combo set that comes in a portable carry bag

The lowdown: Whether you’re traveling with a friend, family member, or partner, this combo set of chess and checkers is one of the best travel games for two adults. The two-in-one game set offers a roll-up board constructed from thick rubber that’s tough but lightweight. It fits into a durable canvas carry bag with a handle and zipper. As a bonus, the board is even UV- and scratch- resistant.

According to a reviewer: “A nice durable chess set that doesn’t take up too much space. Foldable and comes with a bag for carrying makes it great for storage!”

Number of players: 2 | Dimensions: 21 x 6 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 2.89 pounds

4. A small and convenient board game that folds for easy storage

The lowdown: If the 27,000-plus five-star Amazon reviews are any indication of this game’s awesomeness, then prepare to have a lot of fun with Sequence. Not only is it a blast to play, but it’s one of the best board games for travel due to its relatively small and compact size. The game has a folding board and easy-to-store box. Plus, the only components are chips and a couple decks of cards so you don’t have a bunch of complicated pieces to worry about losing.

According to a reviewer: “My husband and I love playing this game. This is our second copy of the game. Our first game went with us on our travels cross country from the east to west coast of America and back. It also traveled with us to Europe this summer. I would strongly recommend this to anyone.”

Number of players: 2 to 12 | Dimensions: 8.08 x 2.18 x 10.38 inches | Weight: 7 ounces

5. This Bananagrams game that’s like Scrabble but faster

The lowdown: With more than 4,000 reviews on Amazon — a whopping 91% of which have five-star ratings — this travel-sized game is an incredibly popular option for entertainment on the road. It’s similar to Scrabble except that there’s no board and the game moves much faster, as speed is involved. The small size makes it extremely portable, and the pieces come in a convenient Banana-shaped carrying case with a zipper.

According to a reviewer: “This game is really fun, plain and simple. It’s easy to learn, has multiple ways to play and can be played anywhere there is a flat surface including the floor. It’s great for traveling, camping or at home.”

Number of players: up to 16 | Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 4 inches | Weight: 1.35 pounds

6. A 12-pack travel set of all your favorite boards games

The lowdown: This 12-pack of small board games for travel is the perfect size for road trips, plane rides, or anywhere that you want to be entertained in transit. The set comes with a variety of classic games (for example, chess, backgammon, Chinese checkers, and tic-tac-toe), as well as some more original offerings (like Space Venture, Auto Racing, and NineMen’s Morris). Best of all, the pieces that attach to the 5-inch boards are magnetic so they’re harder to lose.

According to a reviewer: “These are perfect little games. I mix up which ones I throw in my purse for variety when traveling or waiting at a restaurant.”

Number of players: 2 | Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.5 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 1.85 pounds

7. This miniature version of Catan to take on the road

The lowdown: Game enthusiasts who love Catan — and who also love to travel — will go crazy for this mini-sized Catan. It offers all of the same strategy and civilization-building fun as the original game condensed into a 6-by-11.5-inch travel edition. It features special holder trays for the cards to keep them in place and a hexagonal shaker so the dice won’t roll under car seats or into the travel abyss.

According to a reviewer: “My partner and I play this game nearly every night - we travel full-time and this lunchbox sized CATAN fits perfectly in our small camper. [...] If you camp, travel, or live in a tiny apartment...this version of CATAN is a must have!”

Number of players: 4 | Dimensions: 11.5 x 6 x 1.75 inches | Weight: 1.64 pounds

8. A magnetic strategy game with pieces that stay put

The lowdown: For strategy lovers, this magnetic travel board game is another fantastic choice. The goal of the game, which is based on the Ancient Indian game Pachisi, is to race your opponents to the finish line by rolling the dice and outwitting them. The small, square-shaped board is lightweight with a compact design and magnetic pieces for added portability.

According to a reviewer: “I love this game. I was so excited to find it online, It's a fun family game to play. This has a lightweight board that would be easy to pack when traveling and to simply store away without taking too much space.”

Number of players: 2 to 4 | Dimensions: 10.6 x 9.8 x 1.8 inches | Weight: 2.87 pounds

9. A classic two-player strategy game with a small, lightweight box

The lowdown: As far as portable board games go, this travel edition of Othello is an excellent option. For the uninitiated, you play the game (also known as Reversi) by surrounding your opponent’s pieces with two of your own and then flipping them over to “conquer” them. It’s similar to Connect Four or Tic Tac Toe but with more strategy involved. This version comes in a small, lightweight set with magnetic pieces.

According to a reviewer: “I used to play Reversi/Othello with my brother growing up and was excited to share that with my kids. This travel version was perfect for a car trip we took. The kids picked up the game quickly and were able to play again and again, even in a bumpy car ride. Magnets are good and pieces were easy for the kids to manipulate (though my kids are 10+). I'm glad we got this.

Number of players: 2 | Dimensions: 7.56 x 3.78 x 1.16 inches | Weight: 9.6 ounces

10. This backgammon set that packs into a leatherette briefcase

The lowdown: This version of backgammon, which is specifically designed for travelers, boasts more than 8,300 five-star reviews on Amazon. The folding board fits in a sleek leatherette case measuring 7.5 by 11 inches with lightweight brass buckles and a felt interior. It has a handle like a briefcase for easy carrying and a shaker for the die to keep them together. The set also comes in medium, large, and extra-large versions, too.

According to a reviewer: “I love backgammon and I was looking for a travel case. This is a great option. Easily put it in my backpack and take with me on the plane and play with family while traveling.”

Number of players: 2 | Dimensions: 11 x 7.5 x 1.75 inches | Weight: 2.09 pounds

About the recommender

Rachel Cavanaugh has been unearthing the best games (and other products) for Inverse readers since 2019. She's also researched and reviewed products for publications like Mic, Bustle, Elite Daily, and more. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Montana School of Journalism.

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