For many travelers, the actual travel (you know, that part where you spend hours seated among strangers packed into a vehicle in the sky) is not the most pleasant part. Well, we have some good news: There are a few travel-friendly games you can play to make the time pass and will help you enjoy your flight. Plus, none of these games requires Wi-Fi or battery life, so they’re always ready to be played and actually require human interaction, which is a plus in our books! Here are our favorite portable games for long flights:
We wouldn’t dare mention portable games without including the ultimate (in our opinion): Bananagrams. The game, which is essentially Scrabble without the board, is a fun way to pass time and use your brain simultaneously. Even better, the lettered tiles come in a cloth zip-bag designed to look like a banana! However, we feel the need to mention that one of our AFAR staffers, Nick Rowlands, has (oddly enough) had trouble bringing the game through TSA multiple times . . . so dabble at your own risk!
The SET Game is another that exercises your mind and your hands at the same time. The rules are as follows: Each player is dealt 12 cards with various symbols. The winner must find six sets of three cards in which the number, colors, shapes, and/or shadings of the symbols on each card are all the same or are all different. The rules may be short and sweet, but this game can keep you entertained for hours (trust us).
Pocket Farkel (aside from having an extremely fun name to say) is a fast-moving dice game that’s exciting for the whole family. The game comes in a small, travel-friendly container (instructions and score chart included) and can be taken almost anywhere. The best part is that you only need two players—and can speak any language—to play and have hours of in-flight fun with this game.
4. Mad Libs
Mad Libs—“the world’s greatest word game”— is not just a hilarious activity that’ll make long air travel more bearable, but it’s also a great way to test and expand your vocabulary. The fill-in-the-blank books come in a wide range of themes and categories—you’ll create some incredibly wacky stories with this game, and you probably won’t even notice the hours ticking down on your flight time.
For the more traditional folks, crossword puzzles are a classic option for some mind-expanding air travel entertainment. This curated collection of 1,001 crossword puzzles from the New York Times contains varying levels of difficulty for every type of player. It’s never a bad time to test your random knowledge, especially when you’re halfway between the United States and Italy and have a few hours to kill.