While most people certainly aren’t traveling as much as they used to, we can be cautiously optimistic that globetrotting will be feasible again sometime soon. In that case, lengthy layovers and cramped airplane rides will become an annoying reality for some people.
If you’re looking for a way to make traveling less strenuous, we’re here to help. We’ve done some searching for the best card games for plane rides so you can engage in a little mental and emotional self-care while you’re on the go.
Best Card Games for Plane Rides
When it comes to card games, you can’t go wrong with having a regular, basic deck of playing cards. The problem with plane rides, though, is you may not have much room to accommodate a full-sized deck of cards. Those little trays on the seat in front of you are, after all, miniscule.
In that case, these Loftus decks are perfect. They’re much smaller than your standard deck of cards, so if you need to lay them on your tray, you should have plenty of space.
Plus, because they’re so small, they’re typically cheap. If you’re concerned that you won’t know what to play with them, be sure to take a look at our list of games you can play with a regular deck of cards.
- Generally very affordable.
- You can get a single-deck or double-deck bundle.
- Mini size makes them easy to transport.
- You’ll need to know games you can play with standard playing cards.
- If you have large hands, holding these cards may be tricky.
There are a ton of card games designed to inspire new and unique conversations you’ve never had before. We could have picked any number of them, but we’re going with the Loaded Questions On the Go Edition for its easy gameplay and relatively compact size.
The problem is that it does require a minimum of four players, which could obviously be difficult to arrange on a plane. However, we think it would be a simple matter to modify the rules so that it’s less about winning the game and more about having interesting discussions to pass the time.
If you’re the type of person who often runs out of things to say, this is the game for you. You’ll have no shortage of weird conversational cues to try out.
- Perfect for inspiring new conversations.
- Easy to play.
- Family-friendly, so you can also use it to entertain your kids.
- Could be easily modified to have fewer than the minimum of four players.
- Once you go through all the questions, it becomes repetitive to play it with the same people.
You know what would be a really riveting way to pass a bit of time on your flight? Solving a murder mystery. And yes, you read that correctly.
Fortunately, we don’t mean it literally. With Clue Suspect, you get the fun mystery mechanics of the classic board game, except in a convenient card format.
This game is also easily playable with just two players. If you’re sitting next to your child or partner, you have everyone you need to play a round.
- Fun for adults and children alike.
- Can be played with anywhere from 2-4 players.
- Games can often be completed quickly in half an hour or less.
- Great for anyone into mysteries or fans of the old Clue board game.
- There are some reports that the instructions are unclear, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it in advance.
Maybe we’re just boring, but we think there’s nothing as uniquely entertaining as a brain-teasing riddle. You’d be surprised at how time can fly when your mind is occupied with trying to find the answer.
The 100 Pics Riddles Travel Game is designed to deliver precisely that experience to you. It contains 100 different riddles for you to mull over, which is easily more than enough to last you for hours if need be.
Plus, the whole thing is designed to fit in your pocket. Carrying it along with you will be simple enough, as it won’t take up much space.
- Has 100 different riddles to tease your brain with.
- Pocket-sized game can be stored virtually anywhere.
- You can play it alone or with other people.
- Once you go through all the riddles, there isn’t really a point in playing it again.
- Some have said the riddles are a little easy and may be better for children.
Read Next: Best Card Games for More than 4 Players
This one might be a more complicated game to play on your plane ride, but we couldn’t resist adding it because it’s so beautiful. At the very least, you’ll likely find the artwork worth admiring while you play.
In Fox in the Forest, players step into a fairytale world filled with foxes and magic. Your goal is to win each round by playing higher value cards, just like any standard trick-taking game. However, there are cards with special abilities that change up the goal and victory conditions.
Be careful not to win too many rounds, though – otherwise you risk becoming the greedy villain at the end of the game.
- Absolutely gorgeous artwork on the cards.
- Fairly simply to learn – although it is more complex than many of the games on this list.
- Games can be completed in as little as half an hour.
- Can support two or more players.
- It can take some time to get used to the rules.
These Pack O Game card games are little-known card games with a unique concept: they’re designed to be so tiny, you can keep them in your hand the entire time you’re playing. In fact, each box is roughly the size of a pack of gum, so you know you’ll have room for it.
We’ve included two of these games on our list simply because of how portable they are. The first one, Spy, will have you playing as a secret agent.
Your mission is to figure out where the other player’s secrets are in their hand while avoiding as many lit bomb cards as possible. Each hand of cards functions as a “spy base” that you can move your double-sided spy card around within to explore.
It’s a bit more nuanced than that, so if you’re interested in this game, be sure to check the video on the product page.
- Incredibly small, so it’s easy to fit in your pockets or bags.
- Fun spy concept.
- It has a high degree of replayability because there aren’t answers to memorize.
- Can support anywhere from 2-4 players.
- It’s a little complicated and may take some turns to get used to.
Do you have a great poker face? Are you good at calculating the odds?
Then this Pack O Game card game, Lie, might be right up your alley. In Lie, anywhere from two to six players will have hands of cards depicting various dice faces. The first person makes a bid listing a quantity and dice value, such as four 5’s.
You can choose to call out that person if you think it’s unlikely all players in the game have enough to meet the bid (in this case, there would need to be at least four cards with the five die face on them). Or, if you think it’s likely there are enough cards of the same value in all hands of all players, you can make your own bid.
If you challenge a bid and lose the challenge, you draw one less card in the subsequent round. Once you can’t draw any more cards, you’re out of the game. The last bluffer in the game wins.
- This is a great game for anyone who’s great at bluffing or calculating odds.
- Can support anywhere from 2-6 players.
- As a Pack O Game, it’s roughly the same size as a pack of gum and is highly portable.
- You can play it time and time again with each game feeling a little different.
- It may take some time to learn the rules.
- Some feel it’s better when you have more players.
Okay, so the We Games Cribbage Travel Pack isn’t strictly a card game. It does include a small wooden board and dice.
However, we couldn’t pass it up and it does include cards, so hopefully you can forgive us for mentioning this one. As you can see, it’s just a mini version of the classic Cribbage game.
There isn’t anything new here in terms of gameplay. It’s just designed for you to take with you wherever you go because of its small size. We think it can also work for planes because the pegs will stay in place on the board.
- The board is made from high-quality wood that will last you a long time.
- The board also folds in half so you can transport it.
- You’re not limited to just cribbage with this set – you can use the deck of cards to play a variety of games.
- Its pegs will stay firmly in place if the board gets jostled while you’re playing the game.
- Includes a convenient cloth storage bag.
- The board doesn’t lock into place when it’s folded, so it could potentially fall open.
- Some said the color of the pegs is a bit too close. You may want to find a way to mark them in advance so you can tell the teams apart.
What could be more topical than a card game about traveling while you’re on a flight? Backpacker is precisely that – a card game that’s all about traveling around the world.
Many of the cards feature numerous full-color pictures of legendary locations from different countries. Plus, there are mechanics related to things that can impact you during travel, such as getting bad travel advice.
What’s more, you’ll love how compact this game is. Just like the name implies, you could easily keep it in your backpack.
- Small size won’t take up a significant amount of space in your luggage.
- Travel theme will pair well with your actual travels.
- Supports 2-6 players.
- The cards are sturdy.
- It has a somewhat steep learning curve. Give yourself a couple rounds to get the hang of it.
Read Next: Best Drinking Card Games for Couples
Buying the Right Card Game for Your Next Plane Ride
When you’re looking for a card game that you can play while you’re traveling, one of the first qualities you should pay attention to is, of course, portability.
One thing to look for is the size of the cards and the packaging. That’s an obvious starting point that will tell you how much space the game will take up in your bags or on the tray while you’re playing.
However, there’s another less obvious aspect to consider: the actual gameplay itself. Remember, you only have those tiny seat trays to work with, so card games that require you to lay down a bunch of cards or piles won’t be very plane-friendly.
How hard is it to learn the card game? Is it the kind of game where you’ll constantly need to reference the rules or pay for in-flight wifi to research whenever an issue comes up?
We’ll always tell you that there’s nothing wrong with a game that has a steep learning curve. In fact, complex games can be in many ways be more satisfying than their simple counterparts.
But unless you’re already an expert in a complex game, you probably won’t want to bring it onboard with you. You’ll generally want something you can get the hang of quickly so you can spend more time playing it and less time trying to figure out the rules, especially since resources will be limited on a plane.
Price is important when it comes to buying a card game, too. This is particularly true if you’re only looking for a game to pass time on your flight rather than one you’ll play often.
We tried to include card games from a range of price points in this guide. Be sure to consider how frequently you’ll play the game and your ideal budget for one as you look at prospective card games to play.
There isn’t a single card game that will appeal to literally everyone. We all have our own tastes and therefore preferences.
This is why theme is something you may want to pay attention to. Even on this list, we included a variety of themes, including mystery, classic, and travel-based games.
Think about which types of themes interest you most. No matter what interests you have, we can pretty much guarantee there’s a card game out there that would fit in.
Finally, be sure to think about the duration of any card game you choose. If your flight is an especially long one, you can afford to look at card games that go on for an hour or longer.
However, if your plane flight is just a quick jaunt of a couple hours or less, you probably don’t want to settle in for a game that will take you a long time to play and put away.
This information is typically easy to find. You can generally check the product description for each game or even customer reviews for commentary on how long the standard game goes.
Should we take a plane ride any time soon, we know which card game we’d be most excited to play: The Fox in the Forest. There’s something about the stunning artwork and fantasy theme that really catches our eye.
In fact, while writing about it, we went ahead and purchased another copy ourselves. We look forward to the opportunity to play it again soon.
Which card game would you be most interested in playing while you travel? Were there any good ones we missed? Let us know in the comments below.