Start Your Vacation Early With 10 Great Games To Play While On The Plane

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We’ve all heard the horror stories: restless kids who make flying a nightmare for their parents and everyone around them. It’s easy to find great vacation ideas for families with kids with some research. It's a little harder to figure out how to keep everyone entertained during the flight to get there!

If you’re trying to determine how you can effectively entertain yourself and your children on a plane, then you’re absolutely in the right place. Whether you’re flying out to that dreamy family-friendly all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or you’re just visiting family on the other side of the country, these top 10 games and activities that you can play while on an airplane will take your journey from mundane to memorable.

Read on and let the fun begin!

1. Mobile games on a phone or tablet


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Mobile phones and tablets are pretty much essential for air travel. This is especially true for longer flights, and when you’re traveling with kids. Prepare a phone or tablet ahead of time since it’s likely to be your main source of entertainment on the flight. Make sure your devices are charged! While some aircraft have charging ports that you can use during the flight, it’s best to charge your device fully before your trip.

You should download entertaining apps and games on your phone or tablet long before taking off. Search for new, fun games, but make sure they can still be played while your phone is in airplane mode. For younger kids, download a range of educational and fun apps to keep them occupied. You can provide older kids with a few game suggestions, but they probably won’t have any problems finding apps that they will love. Consider also downloading a few app and games your family can play together during your flight or while at the airport.

Expert tip: Not sure where to begin planning your family vacation? Check out our checklist for planning a family vacation and consider these amazing warm winter getaway destinations.

2. Pen and paper games


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A pen and paper can go a long way on an airplane. These simple games can be more entertaining and versatile than you might think. From tic-tac-toe to dots and boxes, there are plenty of game options you can choose from. You can even be inventive and create your own game. The best thing about pen and paper games, aside from the nostalgic feeling some of them will give the adults, is that they won’t weigh down your luggage! Plus, if you misplace any of the items, you can easily find some more paper and pens to continue.

3. Memory games


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If you’re looking for something fun to do on a flight, consider playing some memory games. Games in this category tend to be super interactive, and you’ll be able to incorporate concepts from your vacation such as ‘things you’ve packed’, ‘things you want to do’, and ‘places you’d like to see’ at your destination. You can play these games in a group, which helps everyone bond and get even more amped up for your vacation. One kind of memory game involves choosing a category, going around the group, and asking everyone to add something new to a list. To succeed, the player has to remember what everyone else before them said. If you forget, you’re out until the next round!

4. Language and word games

A language game can be ideal to play on an international flight, especially if you’re headed somewhere where the native language is different from your own. Use this game as an opportunity to learn some local words and phrases, and to have a little fun with whomever you might be traveling with. If you're going to a country where English is the main language, you can switch things up a bit by focusing on the names of various places in those islands. You can also use the names of local foods for your language game.

5. Magnetic board games


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Magnetic board games are a great option for flights. The fact that they’re magnetic can help you keep the pieces together, and there are many fun options to choose from. You’ll find magnetic travel versions of popular board games, like Checkers and Yahtzee, that are easier to carry since the pieces are smaller. If you’re playing as a group, you can place the game on the most central fold-down table in the group, so that everyone can have a round of fun together.

6. Quizzes

Quizzes are a great flight game option if you’re traveling with a group. The best way to prepare for this activity is to buy a book filled with quiz questions, or create your own ahead of your flight (perhaps destination-themed if you’re taking the kids to Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, or another Caribbean island). You can opt for a family or group quiz on any subject. For younger kids, purchasing quiz books specifically for their age group will help you better keep their interest. Try to keep the noise level at a minimum, so you don’t disturb other passengers. Who knows? They might even want to join in as well!

Expert Tip: Still tossing around family vacation ideas? Check out our cruise vs all-inclusive resort review before deciding which vacation is right for your family.

7. Card games


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A deck of cards can come in handy on an airplane. You’ll finally have a bit of time to settle down and enjoy some of your favorite games. All you need is a standard pack of cards, but if you travel often, invest in a themed pack that you can save specifically for flights and other voyages. There are lots of games to choose from, like blackjack, if you’re playing with adults, and match the pairs, which kids usually enjoy. The best thing about playing cards is that they won’t take up much space in your luggage, but they’re still loads of fun to play with.

8. Play with vacation toys


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If you’re traveling with toddlers, consider bringing along some vacation toys that will entertain them as you all make your way to your destination. Chances are if you’re headed on a beach vacation you’ve probably already packed some toddler beach vacation toys. It helps to pack one or two of the smaller items in your carry-on to keep your toddler occupied in the airport and on the plane. Items like construction toys or magnetic puzzles are ideal. Don’t go too crazy with the number of toys you have in your luggage and carry on since that will only add weight to your bags.

Expert tip: When planning vacations with toddlers, plan ahead to include lots of fun things for your little ones to do. Don’t forget to keep yourself entertained as well!

9. Book of puzzles


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Puzzle books come in handy for entertainment at times when there’s not much else to do but wait. They’re especially ideal when traveling with kids and keeping them (or yourself) occupied on an airplane. There is a wide range of puzzle books you can choose from for your flight, but be sure to choose ones that are age-appropriate. Mixed puzzle books are a good idea for both kids and adults, as these often include a variety of puzzle types at different levels of difficulty. You’ll be able to use your puzzle books when you get to your destination as well!

10. Coloring books


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When traveling with children, coloring books can be a great way to pass the time. Coloring is a fun and therapeutic activity for both kids and adults. Make things more exciting by bringing along a variety of coloring books with a range of themes (including movie, cartoon, and beach scenes), and lots of coloring pencils, standard pencils, and crayons for younger kids. You can opt for coloring books that feature scenes comparable to that of your vacation destination to prepare everyone for the good times ahead.

Don’t let the fun end at the airport!

Flying to a new place is always fun, but the journey can sometimes be a bit tedious. With the right family games and activities, you can ramp up the fun of traveling and make the time pass by so much quicker. Before you know it, you’ll have landed at a fabulous Caribbean destination and be well on your way to having the time of your lives.


Did you know? Going on a vacation with a toddler doesn’t have to mean you won’t get some time for relaxation! Giggle and splash through a huge pirate-themed waterpark, or let your kids make friends at the air hockey table. Parents can even get some alone time thanks to Beaches Resorts’ Kids Camp with tons of age-appropriate activities, guided by professional, certified nannies on property! The best part, with up to 21 restaurants per resort, and all drinks and food included throughout the day (and night), you don’t have to worry where you’ll go for your next meal.

Now that you have the right in-flight entertainment and you’ve found the perfect accommodation, you’re well prepared for a vacation experience that your family will cherish for years to come!

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13 years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!