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As travelers, we live in a world where nothing can be said to be certain except for death, taxes, and airport delays. And indeed, with upwards of 509,000 flight delays recorded globally each MONTH, and 29,000 + cancellations, even those who travel infrequently are likely to run into some form of delay.

So how do you kill the time at the airport? If you’re in good company, it won’t be hard to pass the time with a couple of the following games.

Games You Can Enjoy While Waiting at the Airport

I Spy

Well known as a road trip game to keep restless children entertained, you can easily play I Spy in an airport.

You can play with two or more people; to begin, one person chooses something within eyesight (it must be something that all the other players can see), and says “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with P”

The other players then have to guess what they’re thinking of, and the first person to guess correctly takes the next turn. Can you spot what I’m thinking of in the below photo?

[clickToTweet tweet=”Well known as a road trip game to keep restless children entertained, you can easily play I Spy in an airport.” quote=”Well known as a road trip game to keep restless children entertained, you can easily play I Spy in an airport.”]


20 Questions

This is an endless game and can be enjoyed with any number of players; a classic game where one player thinks of a particular place or thing, and the other players get to ask up to 20 questions before they have to guess what it is.

This is one of the easiest and most interesting travel games that can be played while waiting at the airport, and the difficulty of the game is only limited by your imagination.

For instance, you could start out by thinking of easy to guess people, like Barack Obama, Meghan Markle, or The Queen. But as you become more experienced with the game you might want to kick the difficulty up a notch, and think of more obscure places, like Madagascar, or a describe visiting a doctor or dental office, or think about other places you go to in normal everyday life like your local grocery store or your kids school!

These places are really going to stump people because most times you’re thinking of travel and not everyday things like visiting a dentist.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Pro Tip: You can create cards before your flight with pre selected names of places, people and things. ” quote=”Pro Tip: You can create cards before your flight with pre selected names of places, people and things. “]


This game can be trickier than writing an essay! One player thinks of a word or phrase; the others try to guess what it is one letter at a time.

“The player draws a number of dashes equivalent to the number of letters in the word. If a guessing player suggests a letter that occurs in the word, the other player fills in the blanks with that letter in the right places.

If the word does not contain the suggested letter, the other player draws one element of a hangman’s gallows. As the game progresses, a segment of the gallows and of a victim is added for every suggested letter not in the word.

The number of incorrect guesses before the game ends is up to the players, but completing a character in a noose provides a minimum of six wrong answers until the game ends. The first player to guess the correct answer thinks of the word for the next game.” –  Zachary Collinger.

This is a classic game that can be played across ages without any restriction. The level of difficulty can be altered to suit the age of the person guessing.

Of course, the most classic way to play is with paper and pen, but if you’re traveling solo why not carry a gaming laptop – there are many online and computer versions of the game where you vs artificial intelligence, or other online players.



FreeCell is a popular variation of solitaire that is perfect to play while traveling, and is easily available online or in apps. Unlike classic solitaire, almost every game of FreeCell is winnable.

To play, you move cards both in the tableau as well as in four open cells, allowing you to more easily sequence the cards. Eventually you want to place the cards from Ace to King in the foundation. Try playing FreeCell Solitaire online here.

Remember What You See

Pitting one’s observation skills can be one of the best ways to pas your time at the airport. It tests the memory of the participants and makes them aware of the things around them.

For this game, choose a direction mutually and look in that direction for thirty seconds. After thirty seconds, look in the other direction and make a list of things one had seen in the chosen direction.

The person with the longest list will win the game. This is a great game to play with kids accompanying you at the airport. The best part is that more than two players can play this game at a time.

Many of these games are also available in gambling versions, so if interested in raising the stakes you can check out onlinecasino ZED`s USA gambling recommendations.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. I load my smartphone with games before I go, and make sure the kids have adequate entertainment on their ipads. Important to remember though to make sure you can play offline, as you’ll get to some airports and not have access to wifi.

    • Clever way to go Billy – and great tip about making sure everything works offline. I would assume that playing games to pass the time would use up the battery quite quickly, but I’ve found portable chargers are great to travel with for some extra juice if you can’t get to a power outlet :)

  2. I do play “remember what you see” sometimes for necessity Meg ;) Helpful practice for mindfulness too. Sometimes we need recall where we are, to get around. Noted on all these games buddy. We seem to have super long layovers from time to time, although my next long haul flight offers a super quick one, in Hawaii of all place. Where I’d not mind a long one :) Thanks for sharing.


    • Definitely a helpful game for mindfulness Ryan – I like trying to keep my memory sharp too, so often play this with myself, but you’re so right, it’s very beneficial to make special note of landmarks or points of interest to help navigate a new place – or even an airport – half the time just finding your way back to the gate from the bathroom can be a journey lol!

      Next layover too short to duck out from the airport and visit the beach? D

  3. We have a thing where we play a scavenger hunt at the airport. It’s actually a lot of fun (and surprisingly good exercise, especially if it’s a large airport and you’re running around trying to get back before the other person / people!)

    Make up a list of random ideas, like Meghan Markle on the front cover of a magazine, or nail clippers, and then set off in opposite directions to see who can find as many of these items as possible. We’re broke lol so we don’t actually buy them, but you can use your camera to snap evidence of your findings.

    • That’s a fabulous idea Susannah! Sounds like fun! And I like the idea to take photos instead of buying everything lol I would probably go broke – the prices are always so inflated at the airport!

  4. We enjoy people watching / judging people lol that’s a game in itself especially as you get all sorts of people passing through an airport.

    • LOVE people watching. I find it fun to play the game where you guess their stories too :D

  5. I enjoy window shopping – not really a game, but always keeps me occupied, and something you don’t need another player for!

    • Awesome Kate! I always get so depressed though when I window shop lol because I don’t ever have the space to actually buy anything lol :)

  6. Drinking games. The time flies ;)

    • Sounds like airports would be fun with you :D!

  7. We usually try to sit near the departure board, because it’s quite fun to go through the destinations and each person says as many facts as they know about each one on the board. Stuff like the currency, language, capitol city. Whoever gets the most points wins a drink from the airport bar.

    • Great idea Mariella! Love it … especially the prize :D

  8. I read about this one game on someone elses blog called Eau de backpacker which we’ve started doing and it’s hilarious – hit up all of the duty free shps and create a new, bespoke perfume from blending the free samples. Though we’ve started doing this on a sample stick because otherwise the smell when you get into the plane is pretty toxic!

    • That’s a fun idea :) Lol good tip on the sample sticks though – I can only image how annoying it would be to have to sit next to someone for 8 + hours who smells so strongly!!

  9. Travel with a pack of cards. Always keeps us occupied. One time we ended up playing with a group of other people waiting for the same flight. People kept joining in, it was great!

    • I do this too – haven’t managed to start a gate wide game yet though – sounds fun!

  10. My kids love sitting by the concourse to watch the planes – they quite enjoy rating each take off and landing. Even made signs once so they could hold up numbered scorecards at the window for their ratings – bless them!

    • Love it! That’s too cute :)

  11. Airport alphabet is similar to ‘I spy’, but works too. You choose a letter and the winner is the player who can see the most items beginning with that letter.

    • Awesome Troy! Thanks for the tip :)

  12. I set my family up with airport bingo before we go. I usually print out proper cards, but if you have pens and paper (or napkins will do), make some bingo cards that include some commonly seen items at the airport (clothing or luggage carried by your fellow passengers)

    The first person to spot / cross off everything on the list wins!

    • Love it Beverly! A great way to keep kids entertained I bet!

  13. Nice tips Meg, thanks.

    • You’re welcome Arshia, glad the post was helpful. Happy travels!

  14. Very useful tips Meg, Thanks.

    • You’re welcome, I’m glad the post was helpful :)

  15. Never heard of “Remember What You See” before. Sounds entertaining!

    • It really is a great distraction, very fun!

  16. Great article Meg. I’m sure my children play a versions of the 20 questions game with me. Dad when we there? Dad whats that person do? Dad why are you wearing those shoes? You get the picture! Going to use some of these handy tips to keep them entertained!

    • Thanks Ben :) Bahaha yes I’ve traveled with my young nephews a couple of times and that sounds about right!! Glad we could set you up with some ideas for distraction :D Happy travels!

  17. This is a wonderful post for all those game lovers who find it difficult as to how to make fun when you are at the airport.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Jivansutra. Happy travels!

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