Games To Play While You Travel

So what do you do when you are backpacking and a long day of sightseeing or work comes to an end? After all those dishes from dinner are already washed and dried? Watching TV, going to bed? Nope, too boring. So why not play some games with fellow backpackers? It is always good fun and you get to know other travelers.

Monopoly, Jenga and Co. - all well known games among travlers
Monopoly, Jenga and Co - You will find board games in most hostels

There are of course all sorts of classics. Chess, Uno, Asshole, Who Am I, Texas Hold’em and of course beer pong and all kinds of other drinking games. But maybe you are bored of playing them and you are looking for something new, so I am happy to give you some suggestions.

Game ideas and suggestions while backpacking

Here you will find a list of games to play next time you are on the fringe of being bored while traveling. In case you don’t know one of the games mentioned before, they are included in the list as well. So let us first start off with some good old card games.

Card games

Scattered cards
How about some new card game ideas?

Games with a regular set of cards:

– Uno

Well known card game, probably one of if not the most famous ones. Often people are arguing about the rules as they play it slightly different. Easy to learn and always good fun for a while. You can play it with a regular deck of cards as well.

– Asshole

Also very popular among backpackers. If you don’t know the rules, they are not too hard to learn and also good to pass some time and have some fun.

– Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold Em - Most backpackers will know it
Most taverlers probably know the rules of Texas Hold Em (source: flickr, by Ryan Hyde)

As this variation of poker gained popularity within the last several years more and more people know the rules. At least they know the very basics. For all the more advanced backpackers, you are probably aware that after knowing the hand rankings (what set of card trumps what other set of cards) it just gets started. So much more to know. Psychological warfare and a bit of statistics! Always great.

However, ideally you not only have a set of playing cards, but you actually own a poker set (often a little suitcase) with dealer buttons (not so important) and chips (more important and harder to improvise on that part, but not impossible).

If you are all set up explain the rules to people not familiar with them (grab a beer or two) and get started. Time will be flying by and it’s also a good game to get to know other travelers.

Other card games:

– Monopoly card game

Definitely a great card game. Just look at the ratings on Amazon. Besides the names of the streets it doesn’t have too much in common with the board game. Great game and it is a lot faster then the board game, so one round does not last half a day. You find it quite often among travelers.

– Uno

Uno - a classic among backpackers
Uno - a classic you find in most hostels (source: flickr, by elPadawan)

Well, like mentioned before just with the original Uno cards.

– Old maid

Easy and fun game where you have to get rid of your cards and pretend not to have the ‘wrong card’, the old maid. The last person left with it loses.


Why not play with a deck of card that shows and teaches you Australian wildlife and famous places. You can pick them up at lots of visitor centers and maybe some other shops.

Other games

– Chess

A game of chess
Chess is an absolute classic (source: flickr, by mc_sharky)

This one goes without saying I think.

– Who am I

A classic among backpackers where you put a note on your forehead labeled with a name of some celebrity (politics, music, TV, sports, etc.) that hopefully everyone in the round knows. After that everyone gets to ask yes-no-questions to find out who he or she is.

If you get a ‘no’ as an answer, it is the next person’s turn. You usually start with questions like ‘Am I a human?’, ‘Am I female?’, ‘Am I older than 40 years?’ and so on.

The video above shows you how to play it. Although the people written down on the post its might not ring a bell with everyone as they are all biathletes.

Here you go! Now you have got some ideas how to pass that next evening in your hostel or while you camp out in the wilderness. Playing games together is always a great way to meet new people and I think we can agree that this is one very important aspect when we are backpacking. Getting to know new people and new cultures. And if you know any games that aren’t listed here that you would recommend then just go ahead and tell me about it! I am happy to hear from you guys.

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