Games to Play that Beat Travel Planning

We all know the stress of trying to plan the perfect vacation. As soon as we pick a destination, the excitement slowly simmers away as we fall into a deep dive of vacation planning.

Whether it’s finding where to stay, the best places to eat, or specific activities for everyone, planning for a vacation can lead to needing a vacation from your vacation. Thankfully there are things to help you relax afterward, like knowing you’re always covered by no nonsense car insurance.

Toss out the boring itinerary and plan your vacation unconventionally!

Best Travel Games
Photo by Vicky Tran from Pexels

Pick Your Daily Fun with a Game

Instead of fretting over a strictly planned list of things to do, I challenge you to do the minimal preparation. Take travel games like these to the next level by letting fate organize for you. 

The key to success with these games is making sure they require minimal tools and can be modified to any destination, or for any evenly weighted travel decisions. 

Toss Your Luck with a Coin

Keep it simple. All you need for this is a coin and curiosity for the unexpected adventures along the way. This game makes your decisions for you, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of a coin’s potential.

You can play the coin toss game while you’re on your trip as well. For example, flipping heads means you take a left; flipping tails means you go right. So the coin decides which way to go. 

Starting from your hotel or a central marketplace, toss the coin as many times as you need until you find shops, tours, or even just a place to eat. Coin toss “planning” allows you to explore new cities as if you were a new local. 

Best of all, there’s no frustration while struggling to decipher maps or missing all of the cool views because you were hyper-focused on finding just that one thing. 

Fun Travel Planning Tips


“Rock, Paper, Scissors” Becomes “Learn, Eat, Dance”

Rock, Paper, Scissors has been one of my favorite games since I was a kid. Everyone knows the rules, and no extra tools are needed which makes this game the perfect travel guide. 

While in Israel, I played this game with a group of friends. Like many families and travel groups, we all had different ideas of what makes the perfect day. One of us wanted to go dancing, another friend wanted to go on a local music tour, and I just wanted something to eat! 

After wasting an hour arguing about what to do, we ended up renaming “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to “Learn, Eat, Dance.” For our situation, we swapped rock for learn, paper for eat, and scissors for dance while keeping the winning order of the usual game.

Having these little tournaments before deciding what to do next stopped all planning arguments and kept our large group of 7 together. You can swap out your own activities, and I recommend this game for large groups or for parents traveling with teens.

How to Plan Vacations

Who doesn’t love Uno? 

Don’t we all have an Uno deck somewhere? Put your bent cards to use by using them as your road map. 

This game is similar to coin toss because it gives you new ways to think about direction. Start at a central point in a plaza or any busy area and allow the cards to guide you. 

The good thing about Uno is that there are no large numbers to be afraid of so don’t worry about getting lost. That’s the point, though no one will blame you for leaving the nines at home.

Here’s how to play:

  • The numbers can represent steps, or blocks, depending on where you are. Drawing a 2 would mean you walk two blocks then pick another card. 
  • You can assign colors to local surroundings and activities. They should serve as a guideline for where you may end up. Example: Green=outdoors, Red=shop, Blue=water/beach element, Yellow=Food. So if you pull a yellow 3, you would walk 3 blocks, find something to eat, and continue to the next destination
  • Skip can be taken literally, (who can frown while skipping?), or it can be paired with another card. You can also keep it as a skip of that person’s turn to pull, or skip the next—this means you don’t explore it.
  • Reverse can be used the traditional way, or to go back to a street you’ve already passed. 
  • Draw 2: extra turn for the puller. Now getting a draw is good!
  • Draw 4: I like to use this as a “tab” card, which means the next thing we do, the puller has to pay.
  • Wild: Means the puller can pick anything around that is a food, bar, shop, or outdoor activity for the group to experience.

This is a great game for solo travelers, couples, groups, and families, or just anyone who loves to shop while traveling. Because this game has some structure, it is a nice one to ease the planner of the group. 

It may even be helpful to let them run the game. By taking an Uno deck with, you’ll get to explore, find shops, and restaurants that may not have popped up on Google.

Witty Word Association with Friends

This game is all about wit. It’s a two-person minimum, but can be played with any number of people. 

The best way to start is before you leave for the day. Someone picks a word then the others have to keep it going as they walk around. The more random; the more fun—because the longer you go the more you’ll see. 

If the starting word is “dog” the goal is to find something nearby that could be associated with the word. So if you’re passing a walking area, the next person could say “park,” which would mean you and your group will walk in that direction until the next word. 

Finding ads, places, buildings, or even other people to associate with the word is fair play. When someone messes up by either taking too long to answer or being too far away from the previous word, the group stops at the last point for an activity, to dine, or a picture. 

The fun of this game is you can completely make your own rules. You can use it to interact with locals, find stores, and help you get to know the area you’re in.

Best Travel Planning

Play Games; Don’t Stress Over Planning Trip Activities

These are just a few of the fun ways to “unplan” your trip that can ease the stress of wanting to get the most out of a vacation. Trust the research you’ve done on picking the destination and know you’ll enjoy yourself no matter what you do. 

You can modify all these games, and even use them when you’re stuck between planned activities. 

When traveling, we hope to experience something new and to have an experience worth talking about once home. By allowing yourself to run free, you’ll finally have a vacation story that doesn’t end with the miserable phrase, “I need a vacation from this vacation.”

About the Author:

Danielle Beck-Hunter writes for the car insurance site,, and has been a lifelong traveler. She loves exploring and doing things in an unconventional way. She is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia.



Danielle Beck-Hunter

Danielle Beck-Hunter