Recently while planning an overseas vacation, I got to thinking about whether or not I should pack a few board games and if so, should I do it in my carry-on or checked luggage.
I have taken card games on the plane before but never a full-sized board game.
So I set out to do a bit of research.
Can you take board games on a plane?
Yes, you can take a board game on a plane with you in either your carry on or checked luggage. However, there are exceptions for certain games and there is an increased risk of a security check at border control.
There are multiple other tips and considerations with regard to taking them on to a plane. I will list these below and go into them in a bit more detail later in this article:
- The size and weight of the board game.
- Being stopped by security.
- Games not to take on a plane.
- Board Games you can play on a plane
- Purchased Board Games – Mail home or take on plane
The Size and Weight of the board game
Weight of the Board Game
When packing board games to take on a flight, an important and easily overlooked consideration is the actual weight they take up.
While the boxes of most board games look innocent enough – some actually weigh a decent amount.
Examples popular board game weights:
Catan:Item Weight 2 pounds
Pandemic:Item Weight 2.3 pounds
7 Wonders:Item Weight 2.8 pounds
Ticket To Ride:Item Weight 2.8 pounds
Pandemic Legacy:Item Weight 4.6 pounds
Dead of Winter:Item Weight 4.1 pounds
Scythe:Item Weight 7 pounds
Gloomhaven:Item Weight 20 pounds
If you want to find a rough estimate of how much a board game weighs, a neat trick is to head on over toAmazon(Links to Amazon) and find the product – go to specifications and the weight will be right there!
As you can see above. Catan might fit into your luggage just fine – but Gloom Haven would take up a huge chunk of your allowance.
Size of the Board Game
This is a judgment call – if the board game comes in a very large, awkwardly shaped box, you need to ask yourself “Will this fit in my carry-on luggage” or even “Will this fit in my suitcase?”.
Older games like Monopoly, Clue, and risk can come in some pretty long awkward boxes. My suggestion is that if you are wanting to take these onto the plane –ditch the box!
Simply put the game pieces into a ziplock bag and the board into your carry on or suitcase.
This allows you to easily manage to fit the board game on the plane.
Being Stopped by Security
If you are going to take a board game on an airplane – be prepared to be stopped by security.
Board games show up really weird on an x-ray machine. Essentially what security see’s is a box filled with all sorts of strange stuff. It’s different and not something they see often – so it gets flagged.
Decks of cards and ‘poker chip’ style play pieces show up as large shadows on an X-ray, they are unidentifiable – again another flag.
When you travel on a plane with board games – expect to be stopped at least a few times by security.
It is also worth noting that there are also very rare stories of security wanting to search board games. This involved using a knife/scalpel to essentially open the internals of the board or pieces of a board game to search for illicit narcotics or explosives.
The above circumstance is very rare – but it is a risk worth pointing out.
Generally though, as soon as security see’s what it is you are carrying – they will send you on your way.
HINT:If you are going to be taking a game with electronics like Operation on the plane – it is probably best to give security a heads up. A box with all sorts of electronics and wires in it could look a bit suspicious going through the X-ray machine.
Games NOT to Take on a Plane
While it is perfectly fine to take the majority of board games on a plane. There are a few exceptions to this rule. I will give a few examples below – but really you need to use your own discretion when deciding whether or not you want to take the risk.
Certain games have ‘themes’ that are just a red flag for security at an airport.
War games that have ‘Nazi’ swastikas or board pieces that resemble weapons for example. These are just big no-goes when traveling through customs.
In fact, in some countries these could land you in a lot of hot water.
Games that have themes that are pretty tongue in cheek when playing at home can become pretty serious when taken through security.
For example I would never ever take the board game ‘War on Terror’ on a plane. Ever.
Certain board games are a gray area. They are okay to take on planes – but should be packed into your checked luggage.
These include games that have pieces that could resemble weapons.
An example of this I found was that a family was stopped by security and searched due to packing a ‘Spin-4-it’ game in their luggage. The X-Ray technician flagged the hand of the spinning wheel (which was metal) as a 2-inch razor blade.
They considered this a weapon and confiscated the game.
Board Games you CAN Play on a Plane
There are plenty of board games that you can play on a plane. The tray tables of modern aircraft are relatively large.
However, not every board game is suitable for playing while in the air.
Generally you are going to want to play a board game with not too many small pieces – if you drop them they can be an absolute nightmare to find/pick up.
Rolling dice is also a big no. Not only are they easy to lose – but the sound is incredibly annoying to other passengers.
You are also limited to playing the game with 2 or 3 people (depending on who is sitting right next to you).
3 Examples of games that are perfect to play on a plane
- Hive(with magnetic tiles) – This game is perfect to play on a plane. The tiles are magnetic – so they are less likely to fly off the tray table. The game is a lot of fun, very portable and does not take up much space.
- The Mind– A great game to play during ‘quiet’ time on a plane trip (because there is no communication allowed in the game whatsoever).
- Zip-It– From the makers of Bananagrams. Designed for 2 players and small spaces. It can fit in your pocket and is great fun to play.
Two of these games are also included in our article ‘The best date night board game’. You should check it out to find brilliant two-player games to play with your significant other – Especially if that’s who you are going to be playing with on the plane!
You have Purchased Board Games on Vacation – Take on a Plane or Ship Them?
So you have purchased a few board games while you have been away on vacation or at a convention you’ve attended.
Should you take these on a plane or ship them to your house?
This is a great question and it really depends on a few different things:
- The cost of shipping the board game or games to your house.
- Whether you want to risk having to deal with security at the airport.
- Do you actually have the weight allowance in your luggage?
- Using common-sense – is the games ‘theme’ and pieces okay to take on a plane?
Board games can cost a lot of money – some being multiple hundreds of dollars. Personally, I wouldn’t feel that comfortable mailing the board game to my house. It is a viable option – particularly if it is cheap.
But in my experience – board games that are shipped are generally mistreated by the shipping companies and end up arriving damaged in some way.
You need to weigh the factors above and make the decision that is right for you.
Can you take board games on a plane? Yes.
Should you – it depends.
It was interesting to find out – just how much trouble board games caused at security in airports. I never would have thought about being pulled up for something as innocent as a board game.
Although 99% of board games will pass security once they see what they are – having to deal with delays is something that a lot of people probably can’t be bothered dealing with.
Personally, I am going to opt for taking a card game or two or on the plane for those long haul flights – this is something I have never had issues with before.
- hocus. Mind bending head scratchers. ...
- Smash Hit. Smash through obstacles. ...
- twofold inc. A new kind of tile puzzle. ...
- Paperback: The Game. A novel deck-building game. ...
- HoPiKo. Lightning-Fast Platform Action. ...
- Sputnik Eyes. Eyes on the stars. ...
- Super Arc Light. A breakneck arcade masterpiece. ...
- Blocky Football.
You can you bring them on as carry-on, but you'd either have to place them under the seat in front of you (which impacts your legroom) or put them in the overhead locker. I've taken many flights, and I don't put anything up there that is breakable or valuable.What are you not supposed to bring on a plane? ›
Each country's government has slightly different rules about what can and can't be brought aboard a plane, but as a general rule you should never put any of the following in your carry-on: firearms, explosives, baseball bats or other sporting equipment that could be used as weapons, self-defense sprays (such as mace), ...What can I take on a plane for entertainment? ›
- Catch up on long movies. ...
- Bring your laptop and do some work. ...
- Play cards. ...
- Bring mini travel games for fun. ...
- Walk around the cabin. ...
- Do some colouring. ...
- Read a book. ...
- Listen to music.
- Read a book. Jason from the blog and travel planner website, Trekeffect, says: ...
- Listen to a podcast. ...
- Write a journal. ...
- Play a game. ...
- Do something crafty. ...
- Listen to some new music. ...
- Get productive. ...
- Organise your trip.
Open the boxes and put the boards, rules, bits, etc. into ziplock bags (quart, gallon, or two-gallon as appropriate). Find a sturdy cardboard box that will 1) hold all the games, and 2) fit into your luggage. I often use paper case boxes; they are pretty sturdy, and fit neatly into my luggage.Can I bring a chess set on a plane? ›
Don't worry, you'll be fine with TSA.Can I bring playing cards in my carry-on? ›
Trading card games are permitted in carry-on and checked bags. It is possible that the items may need to be opened if they do not clear security.What is not allowed in a carry-on bag? ›
Liquids, gels, or pastes in bottles larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) Guns and ammunition (including BB guns and cap guns) Stun guns and tasers. Sharp objects (knives, axes, razor blades)Do and don'ts while flying? ›
Don't be that passenger. Be considerate of your fellow travellers and wary of both your own and their personal space. This rule also goes for loud conversations, using headphones for inflight entertainment and eating food. Remember you're in a confined space, to be friendly but respectful.
TSA screens approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Here's what to expect when taking your carry-on bag through security screening next time you fly.What is not allowed on a plane carry-on 2022? ›
any and all firearms, replica weapons, toy guns & BB guns are NOT allowed in your carry-on bag. Guns must be unloaded and transported only in checked bags. The weapon must be inside of a hard-sided, locked TSA Gun case Approved, and declared to your airline at check in.What is the best outfit to wear on a plane? ›
“Planes are cold, so I recommend layering up.” If you want to be comfortable mid-flight, trade in that slip dress for a sweatshirt. Eberwein recommends wearing a T-shirt or a long-sleeve shirt as a base layer, then adding a sweater or a light jacket on top. Need some suggestions?Can you use your phone on a plane? ›
The Federal Communications Commission currently prohibits the use of phones on planes. That is to prevent interference with cellular towers. This means that as long as your phone is in airplane mode – and therefore not sending out a signal – there is no law against using it on the plane, and most airlines allow it.How do I distract myself on a plane? ›
Listen to music or watch a movie
Listening to music or watching a movie can calm your nerves on the plane. It's always best to pre-download a couple of TV series or movies to binge-watch offline on the plane. All you have to do is put on your headphones, play the movie and distract yourself during the entire journey.
- Find comfortable clothes to wear on long flights. ...
- Reserve a good seat. ...
- Prepare yourself for sleep. ...
- Don't pack too much in your cabin luggage. ...
- Take your own snacks. ...
- Move around the plane. ...
- Stay hydrated. ...
Inflight Wi-Fi. Upgraded, high-speed Wi-Fi is available to buy on select domestic flights. Browse the internet, check emails and stream video services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO faster than ever before. To see what's on your flight, check your boarding pass or online ahead of time.How do I prepare my body for a long flight? ›
- Drink more water. Hydration will help you handle anything air travel sends your way. ...
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol presents a double threat to airplane wellness. ...
- Pack for hydration. ...
- Prepare your immune system. ...
- Flex your calves. ...
- Stretch everything else. ...
- Sleep near the window. ...
- Make your own legroom.
It is important that you put your puzzle pieces into a zipper baggie. If for any reason, your package is damaged, you don't want the puzzle pieces escaping and getting lost. By placing the pieces in a zipper baggie, you can be sure the puzzle will make it to the destination with all the pieces intact.How do you make a packing game? ›
- Create a Scavenger Hunt Packing List. ...
- Decorate the Moving Boxes Once They're Packed. ...
- “Soft” Ball Packing. ...
- Color Coding Keep vs. ...
- Let Your Kids Take Photos Before Things Get Packed. ...
- Let Them Take Charge of Packing Their Room.
- Wintertime Treasure Hunt. ...
- Festive Charades. ...
- Santa Limbo. ...
- Spoons: Candy Cane Edition. ...
- Holiday Guess Who. ...
- Snowman Building Competition (Indoors or Out) ...
- Marshmallow Jenga. ...
- Marshmallow Christmas Trees.
Can You Bring Magic Cards On A Plane? Yes, it's legal to bring MTG cards on a plane. Just keep in mind that having a densely packed box of cards may trigger the x-rays at airport security. It's best to take them out and place the box in a tray at the scans.Can I take birthday cards on a plane? ›
With a few birthday cards you probably have a 99.9% chance of no hassle. Don't have them sitting on top of a phone book of paper when your bag goes through the x-ray. That will show up and may trigger the bag search. I would not seal them until you get to your destination.Do I need to print my boarding pass? ›
Yes, you'll need to print each boarding pass clearly on an individual piece of A4 paper. The barcode on the pass will need to be scanned at the airport, so the page mustn't have any rips or tears. Your boarding pass is an official security document, so you'll need to keep it safe until you reach your destination.How much cash can you fly with? ›
In the United States, there is no limit on how much cash you can carry on domestic flights. When travelling internationally to the US (and most other countries) $10,000 USD (or equivalent) is the cash limit without declaring the cash you are bringing in to limit money laundering efforts.Can you text while on the plane? ›
Can I text on an airplane? Yes, but only using a Wi-Fi connection. The ban on using a cellular connection means passengers can't send SMS texts. Any communication has to be over Wi-Fi with a messaging app that provides similar functionality like iMessage, WhatsApp, or Viber.Can you bring a water bottle on a plane? ›
Can you bring an empty water bottle on a plane? Yes, you can bring an empty water bottle on a plane. According to TSA, you can bring an empty water bottle on a plane by packing it in your checked bag or by stowing it in your carry-on.What do I need to bring to the airport to check in? ›
- Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) ...
- U.S. passport.
- U.S. passport card.
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.Should you talk to people on the plane? ›
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a little peace and quiet and not talking to anyone on a flight. To this, Epley clarifies his research: It doesn't suggest conversations are always pleasant, or that you should talk to everyone—but in general, conversations tend to be better than we think they will be.
Domestically, Tuesday and Wednesday are often the cheapest days to fly, with Thursday coming in slightly more expensive. This makes sense if you think about it. These are the three days in the middle of the week. Business travelers are usually coming and going at the beginning or end of the week.How do I prepare for a 2022 flight? ›
- 1 Dress comfortably.
- 2 Stay hydrated.
- 3 Use points to pay for your flight.
- 4 Know how to get over jet lag quickly.
- 5 Use packing cubes.
- 6 Download movies before your flight.
- 7 Know how to book cheap flights.
- 8 Pack valuables in carry-on luggage.
In Standard Screening Lane
Ensure pockets are empty (keys, tissues, currency, wallets, cell phones, etc.) and remove bulky jewelry (valuable items can be placed in carry-on). Remove your shoes and place them directly on the X-ray belt.
Airport Security Procedures
At most airports you will be required to place all your hand luggage and belongings into one of the trays provided at Security Control. You will also be required to empty your pockets of all objects and place any metal objects, phones, loose change or jewellery into the tray.
Most airports screen checked bags electronically, by X-raying the bag or examining it for explosive-chemical residues. If these electronic means detect anything suspicious, inspectors hand-search the bag. At a few airports that lack detection machines, your bag probably will be hand-searched, among other methods.Do you still need to put toiletries in a plastic bag? ›
A. Yes, but only in limited amounts. Liquids and gels must be in individual containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and placed inside one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag (such as this option from Ziploc).Can I play games in flight mode? ›
Because it disables all internet connections, enabling airplane mode will hide ads in offline mobile games. Just make sure you don't turn Wi-Fi back on after enabling airplane mode. However, if a game requires your device to be online, you won't be able to play it at all in airplane mode.What apps can you use on a plane? ›
- FluentU. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Minecraft Pocket Edition. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Pocket. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Inflighto. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Bejeweled. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Audible. Website | iOS | Android. ...
- Stack. ...
You can play offline games with it. You can open up your e-reader app and catch up on your novel. But anything that requires an active cellular connection is strictly verboten. You must keep your phones (and tablets) on airplane mode during the whole flight.Can you play candy crush on a plane? ›
Instead, passengers are generally allowed to hold such items in hand, on their laps, or in clothes pockets. Just remember, even though you're free to play Candy Crush or watch Game of Thrones throughout your flight, you're still prohibited from making calls or sending texts.
If you don't put your phone on airplane mode during a flight, your phone will probably annoy a few pilots and air traffic controllers. But, most likely, not badly enough for them to take action against you, if that's what you want to know.Do you have to put phone in airplane mode when flying? ›
Even though a cell phone signal probably won't directly cause a plane crash, you should still do your part. So do everyone a favor; just put your phone to airplane mode and turn off anything you don't need to have on. Your pilots, who are responsible for getting you to your destination safely, will thank you.What happens when you put your phone on airplane mode? ›
Airplane mode (sometimes called “flight mode”) is a setting on your smartphone that temporarily suspends signals and Wi-Fi, even as the rest of the device remains fully functional. On Android phones, airplane mode is activated by swiping down from the top of the screen two times to open the Settings panel.