A deck of cards is a staple for backpackers. Playing cards is a great way to meet new people or pass the time on a slow journey.  A standard deck can be used for hundreds of different games. Most people know the rules to at least one or two card games. If not, the rules are fairly basic and simple to follow. Therefore, even if there is a language barrier it need not stop everyone getting involved. Cards are the perfect boredom buster whether you play at the beach, the park or inside on a rainy day.

Below are my favourite games. All you need is a deck of cards and a flat surface on which to play. This means you can play these games anywhere, from the beach to the bus station. So next time you are packing your bag for your travels make sure you pop in a deck of cards. Then if you bookmark this page you will be equipped with hours of entertainment.

Cheat / Bullshit / Doubt It

This game is known by various different names. It’s worth noting it’s different alias’ so you can recognised it when someone calls it by a different name. No matter what you call it though the rules are the same. It is a game of deception. All honesty and trust goes out the window as you lie to your new friends in order to win the game.

Players – 3+

Aim – Get rid of all of your cards.


  • Cards are dealt out equally to all players.
  • Players take it in turns to dispose of 1 – 4 cards face down, declaring how many of which card they are putting down. For example – Three Jacks.
  • These cards must be equal to or 1 card higher or lower than the card(s) disposed in the turn before. Ace, therefore is both high and low as it loops around.
  • However, players do not have to be honest about what they are disposing. Therefore, if they do not have any cards they can put down, they can lie. They can also use this as a way to dispose of more cards per turn by disposing of 4 cards.
  • Of course you have to be careful because you don’t know what cards other players have and you may be caught up in your lies.
  • If a player suspects you of lying they may declare Cheat / Bullshit / Doubt It before the next person has their go.
  • If they are correct and have caught someone in a lie, the liar must pick up all the cards in the played pile.
  • However, if they were being honest, the person who called Cheat / Bullshit / Doubt it must pick up all the cards.
  • You obviously want to avoid picking up cards so that you may dispose of all your cards fastest and win the game.


This is a game where the luck of the draw can really influence play. It is pretty simple to pick up so is good for new players. The fun part comes in when you start to strategize and purposely prevent other players from having a turn.

Players – 3+

Aim – Get rid of all of your cards.


  • Cards are dealt out equally to all players.
  • The player with the 7 of Diamonds starts by playing that card. This forms the “base” upon which players build.
  • Play continues clockwise. Players can put down a card which is one higher or one lower than anything currently on the table. They may also at any point play a 7 which “opens” up that new suit.
  • Ace can be high or low providing it stays consistent throughout the game. I play with Ace being low.
  • If a player cannot play a card which is one higher or lower then anything on the table or a 7, they miss their go.
  • The winner is the player to get rid of all of their cards fastest.


There’s so many different versions of the game all called slightly different names. This is the version I play but I think it’s actually a little different to the standard rules but it is also simpler. This game is about choices, and I’m sorry to say but whatever choice you may it’s normally the wrong one. This game can be infuriating as you race to complete your sets.

Players – 2 – 4 (Can be played with more players if a second deck is added)

Aim – To be the first player to create two combinations using all their cards.


  • Each player is dealt 7 cards. The remaining cards form a pile in the middle which is the “stock pile”.
  • Each turn players pick up one new card and discard one card, face up. The player may pick up their new card from the top of either the stock pile or the discarded pile.
  • Optional rule – Players can’t discard a card on the same turn they picked it up.
  • The sets players create can be 3 or 4 cards of the same number OR cards of the same suit in ascending order.
  • Ace can be high or low but not both. For example – You can have A, 2, 3 or Q, K, A but not 2, A, K.
  • If the stock pile runs out before a player as won, the discarded pile is turned over and becomes the stock pile. A new discarded pile is created.
  • The winner is the first person to create two combinations with all 7 cards.


Now I need you to bear with me here as all the games listed up to this point I have been able to verify the rules for online. However, I cannot find any information on this game so it may be that it is known by a different name. Nevertheless, this is a game my mum taught me and my siblings and which she played with her family.

Players – 2+

Aim – Get rid of all your cards first OR have the least points at the end of the game.


  • Cards are equally dealt out between players.
  • Players discard one card at a time placing the card face up so that everyone may see the card played.
  • The card played must be the same suit or number as the card immediately before.
  • All cards are worth points. Number cards are worth 1 point each, however picture cards are worth extra as follows. Jack – 2 points, Queen – 3 points, King – 4 points, Ace – 5 points.
  • The number of cards played is always equal to that of the points value of the previous card. Numbered card = 1 card, Jack = 2 cards, Queen = 3 cards, King = 4 cards, Ace = 5 cards.
  • If you are unable to play a card of the same number or suit, you miss your go.
  • The game ends when someone gets rid of all their cards or if no one can go.
  • To determine the winner everyone must count up their cards points. The player with the least amount of points wins.

I hope you enjoy these games. The best thing about card games is they can normally be easily adapted if needed. So if you’re playing with some beginners you can simplify the rules or if you’ve got less players or are advance you can add extra rules. Another great card game for travellers is Backpacker, The Ultimate Travel Game. Click on the link to read more about what it is and how it lives up to its name of the ultimate travel game.


What is you favourite card game to play whilst travelling?