14 Top Jigsaw Puzzles, Games and Books to Keep Travelers Entertained
Even though you're stuck at home, you can still indulge your wanderlust with these activities.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great solo or group activity that can help satisfy your urge to travel.Getty Images
Travelers who've had to cancel spring trips due to the coronavirus spread are likely feeling a little restless. And while there are plenty of virtual attractions to satiate your appetite for adventure, sometimes you need a break from the screen. To help, U.S. News has collected some of the best travel-themed jigsaw puzzles, games and books to keep you busy while you're lounging at home. Read on to discover our list of activities fit for all ages, abilities and tastes.
National Geographic Colosseum 3D Puzzle
Spring is a lovely time to visit Italy, so why not build your own Colosseum in honor of Rome? National Geographic's 3D puzzle comes with everything you need to build the model; assembly does not require scissors or glue. In addition, the puzzle comes with a booklet that explores the Colosseum's role in Rome's history.
The puzzle is ideal for those ages 10 and older. It has 131 pieces and costs around $25.
CubicFun Moscow 3D Puzzle
For a challenge, try this 3D puzzle of Moscow's skyline. You'll build out St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin and more. The intricate piece even includes miniature Moscow residents. Previous builders agree that CubicFun's puzzles are excellent quality and satisfying to put together. Past customers also say the puzzle is great for all ages, though young children may need some assistance.
This 107-piece puzzle costs around $20 and takes about two hours to complete, according to its listing. You can also purchase skyline puzzles of Venice, London and other major European cities from the same company.
4D Cityscape Time Puzzle of Shanghai
This unique puzzle combines the four dimensions – length, width, height and time – to teach you about Shanghai's history as you build. The puzzle's first layer is a traditional jigsaw puzzle that depicts Shanghai in the 1900s. The second layer, a smaller jigsaw puzzle, introduces Shanghai's current layout, including roads and buildings, to the piece. The third and final layer adds 3D models of the city's famous buildings to complete the skyline.
Previous builders enjoyed the puzzle, but they caution that it is best suited for older children or adults. In total, the puzzle has more than 1,100 pieces. This Shanghai puzzle costs approximately $40.
This French-themed racing game is all the fun (and pitfalls) of a road trip, without an actual vehicle. After getting a green light card, players attempt to be the first to travel 1,000 miles. However, drivers can sabotage their fellow racers by puncturing another player's tires or forcing them to obey a speed limit.
The game is entertaining for both kids and adults. Mille Bornes is designed for two to eight players and takes approximately 20 minutes to play. The starting price is $14.95, but you may be able to find better deals online.
Ticket to Ride – First Journey
Ticket to Ride is a classic tabletop game, and this version is specifically geared toward children. In First Journey, players complete Tickets by building train routes between cities. The first engineer to finish six Tickets wins. Reviewers overwhelmingly agree that this board game is perfect for kids but note that younger players may still need some help.
The game lasts for around 30 minutes and is ideal for two to four players, ages 6 and older. Prices start at $34.99, but you may be able to find a better price online.
Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
Carmen Sandiego is an iconic character known for her stealth and thievery. In this card game, players race across the world to catch Carmen Sandiego, and the first player to do so wins. To get ahead in the game, capture Carmen's henchmen for clues about her location. Players agree that the game is enjoyable and is reminiscent of the classic video game series.
Each game lasts approximately 30 minutes. Two to four detectives can try to catch Carmen at a time, and it's ideal for those ages 8 and older. This game's MSRP is $14.99, but you can search the internet for a better deal.
Trekking the National Parks: The Family Board Game
Reviewers say this game is easy to learn, plenty of fun and teaches them a lot about America's national parks. Travelers win the game by racking up the most points, which they earn as they cross the United States to visit spots like Glacier National Park, the Grand Canyon and Shenandoah National Park.
The game is geared toward families, but reviewers say it can be challenging enough to keep a group of adults entertained. Up to five competitors can join in on the fun at once. Trekking the National Parks starts at $50.
"Destinations of a Lifetime" by National Geographic
This photo-heavy book contains 250 images taken at various exotic locales by National Geographic's incredible photographers. Flip through to explore unusual destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, the Cook Islands and Alaska's Pribilof Islands. Still, this book is more than just a glossy tour. "Destinations of a Lifetime" also includes information about each locale, such as the best times to go and insider planning tips. For would-be photographers, there are also sections about how artists captured particular shots.
The book usually costs around $40, but you may be able to find a deal online.
"Travel Puzzles" by Highlights Hidden Pictures
Pictures are not what they seem in this activity book from Highlights, a company that is well-known for its variety of products for kids up to age 12. Each black-and-white illustration, which features travel-themed destinations ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the White House to airports, contains hidden drawings that children must find for themselves. For example, what appears to be a basket of a hot air balloon might actually be a drum, and a bush might actually be a bird.
Reviewers praise the book, noting that though it is geared toward children in elementary school, it's challenging for all ages. The book contains more than 100 puzzles and nearly 2,000 hidden objects. Prices start at around $10.
"Landmarks of the World" by Abi Daker
Help soothe the travel itch by coloring your favorite destinations. Illustrator Abi Daker, who specializes in architecture drawings, has created renderings of the globe's most sought-after destinations like Cambodia's Angkor Wat, Sydney's Opera House and London's Tower Bridge.
In all, there are 35 places to color however you like. According to reviewers, the book is large and the intricate drawings are best suited for teens or adults. This coloring book starts at $14.95.
"Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne
We'd be remiss if we didn't include a few literary classics on this list. Jules Verne's beloved "Around the World in 80 Days" follows Phileas Fogg's journey to circumnavigate the world in 80 days – a feat for 1872, the year the novel takes place. With the help of his valet, Passepartout, Fogg might make the trip in record time.
Verne's imagination has withstood the test of time, and readers regularly praise the entertaining novel (though some admit that its writing style can seem outdated). The book is approximately 130 pages long and costs around $5.
"The Travel Activity Book for Kids" by Peanut Prodigy
This activity book is ideal for youngsters who like having a variety of things to do. The book includes mazes, connect-the-dot puzzles, word searches and pages to color, among other options. What's more, the pages all revolve around travel-related activities like flying in a plane, going on a road trip or learning about U.S. cities.
This book is ideal for children ages 6 to 10, according to Peanut Prodigy, the publisher. Reviewers give "The Travel Activity Book for Kids" nothing but praise. Get a book for your little one for around $6.
"The Odyssey" by Homer, translated by Alexander Pope
Perhaps the best-known and oldest travel story, "The Odyssey" has inspired countless other works from television to film to books. The story follows Odysseus, king of the Greek island Ithaca, on his 10-year journey home from Troy after the Trojan War's end. Along the way, Odysseus encounters a Cyclops, a nymph, goddesses and gods, each of whom either helps or hinders Odysseus on his travels.
The epic poem may be hard to grasp for young readers, and some content may not be suitable for children. You can snag a copy for around $15.
"World Traveler Coloring Book" by Thaneeya McArdle
For children who are new to coloring techniques or adults who dislike intricate patterns, this book is worth your time. The "World Traveler Coloring Book" includes fanciful drawings of 30 of the world's most recognizable landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall of China to Diamond Head in Hawaii. The book also includes an educational section that describes different coloring techniques and tips, as well as pre-colored example images.
Each page is printed single-sided to prevent bleed-through, a feature that recent buyers appreciate. Buy the book for around $10.