Whether you’re a professional gamer en route to an overseas tournament or simply resort to video games to kill the boredom at airports and during long-haul flights, many of us wouldn’t think of leaving our beloved virtual games behind when traveling.
For anxious travelers, video games can help alleviate the many stresses of traveling, and they’ve become so lifelike that many almost make you feel as though you’ve been transported to another world.
For avid travelers who have been restricted during the pandemic, Tomb Raider lets you visit Peru, Assassin’s Creed can transport you to places like London and Egypt, and Microsoft’s Flight Simulator can pretty much take you anywhere in the world.
Thankfully, travel restrictions are beginning to be eased and we can get back to real life travel experiences. While many of us will gladly put down our games in favor of real life hands-on experiences, it’s important to remember that with international travel often comes a lot of downtime.
If your go-to boredom-killer is gaming as opposed to scrolling through social media, here are some of the top gaming gadgets and gear you should pack to enhance your experience and keep your equipment safe while traveling.
How to Keep Up with Your Gaming Hobby When Traveling the World
Choice of Device and Games
You’re unlikely to have the room or weight allowance to pack your normal full-sized game console when traveling, besides the fact you can’t exactly use it in an airport or on a plane.
Thankfully though, your handy pocket-sized best friend, whether it’s an iPhone or Android, will offer endless popular games including those with a gambling element in the form of apps.
While smartphones are great for gaming and will get the job done, they aren’t exactly built for gaming. If you’re looking to take your portable gaming to the next level, I recommend looking at a portable game console like Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite which will provide you with traditional controller-like buttons and much better battery life.
Another recommended device is the Anbernic Retro Game 350P which allows you to play many of your favorite retro games from now historic game consoles such as Game Boy, PlayStation, and Super Nintendo.
Of course you can also simply use your laptop for games if you don’t wish to go out and buy a dedicated console. Here, you get the benefit of a much larger portable screen than your smartphone or mobile console can provide.
When it comes to games, be sure to make sure you have a nice selection of games that can be played offline in case WiFi is unavailable, and be conscious of the data that gaming consumes if you’re using your phone (we recommend switching roaming off), or if you’re limited.
You should also stick to simpler games that can be easily picked up and put down since you’re likely to experience continuous interruptions and distractions while traveling.
Power Banks and Power Stations
Extended gaming, whether it’s on a laptop, smartphone, or mobile console seems to drain even the best batteries rather quickly. It goes without saying you’ll need to pack your chargers and power cords and maybe hope for your flight to be equipped with in-seat power outlets.
To ensure you’ll stay in power, you’ll want to look at getting at least a small portable power bank. Smartphones, tablets, and dedicated mobile gaming consoles usually support the use of USB power banks.
Some are extremely small and lightweight, but may only give your phone a single charge. A larger battery with multiple ports may be a better option if you know you’ll be gaming extensively.
Acting like a gas-free generator, these much larger “rechargeable batteries” will provide you with loads of power and often come with portable solar panels so you can use the sun to keep you gaming in the wilderness.
Power stations are safe to use and usually provide a mix of standard 120v outlets, DC chargers, and USB ports. Some can be quite pricey and heavy, so these may be better suited to road trips where you have the space.
Note that any portable charger or power bank that contains a lithium ion battery must be packed in your carry-on luggage when flying.
There’s no denying that gaming with headphones is almost essential when traveling. Not only are airports and planes noisy, you don’t exactly want to annoy those around you with the sounds of combat gunfire or street racing.
Most modern smartphones and laptops offer the ability to use either wired or wireless headphones, while mobile game consoles usually limit you to using wired headphones. However, this can be remedied by purchasing an AirFly wireless headphone adapter.
These adapters will also allow you to use your favorite wireless headphones with an airplanes in-flight personal entertainment system and allows you and a traveling partner to listen to the same music, podcast, etc.
When looking at headphones, your first decision of course is whether or not to go wireless, wireless being much easier to use and more convenient when traveling. We have all had the nightmare of untangling headphone cords on a plane.
You’ll then want to consider getting headphones or wireless earbuds with noise-cancellation and ones which are comfortable since you may be wearing them for extended periods.
Just be sure to take note of what kind of battery life you’ll get out of your wireless headphones, because cheaper models can run out of juice quite quickly. Always carry a small set of wired headphones as a backup.
Gaming Case or Backpack
There are a number of dedicated travel cases for mobile gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch. These will not only keep your device safe, but can also store games.
Most of us will already have a case for our smartphone or laptop, but if not, then you will definitely want to get one before taking your devices traveling.
Consider getting a smart backpack, also known as a tech backpack, which is specifically designed for the modern day teched-up traveler. Smart backpacks are perfect for gamers since they come with a lot features that will prove handy.
These may include a dedicated anti-theft laptop compartment, USB charging port, detachable solar panels to keep your devices running, hidden RFID-blocking pockets, lockable zippers, and waterproof material.
There are also dedicated gaming cases like the Gaems Guardian Pro XP for ultra-serious gamers. While these don’t come cheap, they feature large built-in screens, USB ports, speakers, subwoofers, camera mount points, and plenty of storage space for all your accessories like cables and controllers. Consider it the ultimate portable gaming station.
Gaming Phone Clips and Mounts
There are also gadgets now which can convert your smartphone into a gaming console.
Gamevice allows you to insert or smartphone or tablet into a console-style game controller, giving you much better buttons and controls to work with when gaming on your phone. Otterbox on the other hand has come up with a way to clip your favorite Xbox controller onto your smartphone.
OtterBox’s Mobile Gaming Clip is tailor-made for Xbox wireless controllers, providing you with one-handed and multi-angle adjustment during gameplay. Its large extendable arms hold your phone securely in place and collapses flat to the controller for easy storage.
There are controller-equipped mounts to fit iPhones, Androids, and even the larger iPad Pro. Many are reasonably priced and allow you to ditch touchscreen game controls for more gaming friendly controls.
Free Gaming Platforms
When you’re traveling, you may be interested in trying new games. But where do you start? Do you have to purchase a new game? Fortunately, there are a few websites where you can play games for free, and keep yourself busy as you travel:
- Hearts.land – On this website, you can play Hearts both against the computer or against other players. Practice your trick taking skills on a long flight.
- Pogo.com – Play hundreds of games from Solitaire to Scrabble. It will keep you busy for hours.
This is just some of the gear currently out there that will allow you to take control of your gaming experience while traveling.
Whether you’re an occasional gamer or a professional, it pays to give some thought to how you’ll take your gaming on the road or in the air. I hope some of my tips will allow you to take your mobile gaming to the next level.