Looking to game on the go? Whether you’re boarding a flight, taking a train or riding a bus, chances are that you’ll have some spare time. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through your phone or stressing about the journey, you can relax and get lost in the virtual world. From casual puzzlers to energetic shooters, there are many great options.
However, there are some important considerations that you’ll need to make. Playing in an airport terminal or AirBnB requires certain equipment for an enjoyable experience. If you’re planning on vacating the couch in the near future, keep the following tips in mind for gaming in any location.
Choose Your Platform
First, let’s take a look at the devices that are geared towards portable play. Your ever-present smartphone is an obvious choice, while tablets offer the same experience on a bigger display. Of course, interacting with any game via on-screen controls can be tedious. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in some accessories. Popular controllers include the:
- Razer Kishi
- SteelSeries Stratus Duo
- GameSir F2 Grip
- Google Stadia Controller
You might also want to look into something more dedicated, such as the Nintendo Switch or Nintendo 3DS. If playing the latest and greatest titles isn’t a priority, budget alternatives from Sony such as the PSP or PlayStation Vita are still capable of providing endless hours of fun. Keep in mind that either solution will add some heft to your carry-on.
Laptops are another (albeit even heavier) option that provides access to the countless PC games available on Steam, Origin and similar stores. Lightweight laptops like the Razer Blade and Dell XPS series should be on top of your list.
The process of safeguarding your devices and data while traveling should not be overlooked. You’ll want to download a reliable VPN service for several reasons, such as playing safely on public Wi-Fi and getting access to geo-restricted titles when abroad. Here are five more reasons why having a VPN is important:
- Protection against malware and DDoS attacks
- Avoiding bandwidth throttling for faster connections
- Reducing lag and ping times in multiplayer games
- Play games that are unavailable in certain countries
- Prevent getting IP banned for no reason
The best VPN services include ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and Surf Shark. Check out this Hideme review for a detailed look into another well-known option in this category.
Remember Your Chargers
There’s nothing more annoying than having to shell out far too much money for an overpriced and underpowered charging cable at the airport. It’s a good idea to invest in a premium power brick that will help you juice up your devices faster. Similarly, having one or two portable battery packs available prevents abrupt ends to your gaming sessions.
Buy Great Headphones
Another wise investment is your own pair of gaming headphones or earbuds. Not only do they offer a more immersive experience, but they also allow you to turn up the volume without disturbing fellow passengers or roommates when traveling. Plus, you can use them for music and movies when taking a break.
Modern smartphones and laptops will support almost any option - just remember to account for the presence (or lack thereof) of a headphone jack on the former. The Nintendo Switch and 3DS, on the other hand, only support wired pairs. Both the headphone and earbud market are full of great products.
While you don’t want to skimp on quality entirely, it may be better to bring something on the cheaper side along with you in case something happens. Some great headphones under $50 include:
- Shure E112
- Audio Technica ATH-M20X
- Advanced S2000
- Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds
- JBL T450BT
Find the Right Games
While some locations like airports have internet connections, they’re often unreliable and unsuitable for intensive uses like online games. Chances are that you’ll run into a few situations where you can only play offline titles. That’s why it’s a good idea to find those that can be enjoyed sans internet.
Another consideration is the genre. Games that are easy to pick up and play for short bursts are better than story-intensive titles that demand your full attention for hours on end. Here are a few options for the main platforms:
- Stardew Valley
- The End is Nigh
- Into the Breach
- Need for Speed Payback
The best options here are games that don’t require precise mouse controls, as you’ll likely be stuck with the trackpad.
- Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Metroid: Samus Returns
- The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds
Some additional considerations include carrying cases and bags to keep your tech safe, as well as cleaning cloths to fight the inevitable onslaught of fingerprints and smudges that will cover your devices. With all of these factors covered, you’ll be able to comfortably smash high scores no matter where you are.