When you’re planning a holiday or a weekend break, what’s the first thing you think to pack? A spare change of clothes perhaps or a toothbrush? While these are very practical considerations, there’s one thing I never forget: some portable games. No matter how action or event packed a holiday itinerary may be, when away from home, there will always be times when a little light entertainment is needed. Portable games are an integral part of any travel experience, to cover the likelihood of coping with the inevitable rainy day or two or to enhance time spent as a passenger getting to your destination.

Good things come in small packages.

The beauty of most portable games is that they’re small and light, so they won’t take up much space or weigh down your luggage. Some will even fit comfortably in the average sized handbag (and these seem to be getting bigger and bigger each year)! Plus, portable games are brilliant for entertaining the kids on long or short trips.

Here are some of the essential criteria needed to make a portable game experience great

Ditch the board.

Board games are wonderful, but not really practical while traveling, so bulky games are best left at home.

Deal the cards.

Card based games are perfect, as they take up minimal space but provide maximum fun. Some great examples are Uno, Settlers of Catan Card Game, Set and more traditional playing cards including Canasta.

Compact and built for travel.

Bananagrams and Pairs in Pears come in washable zip-fastening cloth bags shaped like a banana and pear respectively. They’re pretty hardwearing while on the go and are loads of fun to play. While on the subject of fruit, Apples to Apples: Travel To Go Edition is also a great compact card game for four or more players that only takes about 30 minutes to play. Pass the Pigs, a popular and addictive “beer & pretzels” game, comes in a handy pocket travel case and features cute piglet dice, 2 pencils and a scoring pad.

If you must have bells and whistles.

For those that can’t play games without flashing lights and mind-altering sound effects, electronic versions of games such as Battleship or Boggle, can keep players entertained for many hours. They make the perfect travelling companion.

Downsize it yourself.

Keep in mind that if you discard portions of some games’ packaging, they can become remarkably small and portable, like the very famous dice game, Yahtzee. As there are a wide variety of portable games on the market, why not research if your favourite game has a “mini-me” portable version you can take away with you?
Whatever game you choose to take away, you’ll be grateful you did and so will your family and friends. They’ll also be grateful if you don’t forget to pack your toothbrush! Happy travelling!