Even the most enthusiastic travelers would have to admit that the moments of wonder and exhilaration are inevitably bookended by long stretches of boredom. It may be a traveling maxim that it’s all about the journey and not the destination, but the truth is that long hours of traveling by train, bus or plane can be mind-numbingly dull – and that’s without even mentioning the time spent waiting for connections in airports and on station platforms. Paradoxically, getting somewhere seems to involve a whole lot of hanging around, and that often requires some ingenious methods to counter the boredom that this can generate.
Read a book
The classic solution to boredom is to lose yourself in a good book. A long story is the best kind of engaging diversion. If you haven’t got room for enough actual books to see you through, then a kindle device or a tablet with a few good e-books downloaded is your best friend.
Listen to music
Alongside your Kindle, your portable mp3 player is a life-saver when on the road or in the air. As you’re no doubt aware, a good soundtrack can also immeasurably enhance your travel experiences, and as the views go past outside your window with your favorite tunes playing in your ears, you’ll feel like you’re living in a movie. Why not create a playlist before you go of perfect songs or albums to soundtrack the length of your trip?
Look out of the window
If you’re traveling by train or by road, the chances are that you’ll be passing through countryside you’ve never seen before and may never see again. Take the time to actually look at it and keep it in mind. Imagine some of the scenarios that could be playing out in that landscape. Keep an eye out for exotic wildlife, especially birds. The classic travel game I Spy could be played to pass the time – and even if you’re on your own, you could keep a checklist of things to look out for.
Play a game
I Spy isn’t the only travel game that you can play. A simple deck of cards is small enough to fit in most luggage and can provide hours of fun. If you’re on your own, you can play games on your phone or tablet, or you could go online to Lotto Gopher and see if you can pick SuperLotto Plus winning numbers. Other ideas could include Travel Scrabble or a book of puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku.
Watch a film
It’s another obvious one, but if you have a good-quality tablet or iPad, you can watch films, TV shows and videos online. These are also a great way to keep small children entertained in transit. You can also plan ahead and download a selection of favorite films or shows for the journey. Just make sure that your device has enough memory to do this and fulfill all of the other functions for which you’ll need it.
Learn a language
Travel time can be used productively by brushing up on the language skills that you’ll need when you arrive at your destination. Go over your phrasebook or listen to lessons on your headphones. You could even strike up a conversation in another language with the person sitting next to you.
Listen to a podcast
Sometimes, music can just fade into the background and doesn’t succeed in diverting us from our boredom. In such cases, a downloadable podcast or an audiobook could be just the trick. They’re less arduous than reading is when you’re tired, but you’ll be engaged with ideas, opinions, narratives and humor that will make the time pass much more quickly.
Research your destination
Another way to use your time productively is to thoroughly research your destination. Re-read your guidebook and make notes. Search through travelers’ forums online. Make plans and lists of things to do, and daydream about the ideal fantasy adventure that you’d like to have – it could be the first step in making it come true.
Write it down
The point of traveling is to have unique experiences, and the best way to remember them is to keep a diary. Why not use your travel time to reflect on the things that you’ve seen and heard so far? As well as keeping your travel diary up to date, you could try your hand at writing poetry inspired by your journey. It doesn’t have to be great literature, so long as it captures the moment for you.
Seeing travel as an opportunity rather than a chore is the best way to make it pass pleasantly. On a long trip, try a combination of all these tips. Variety is the best cure for boredom, so keep changing the remedy and you may never suffer from it again.
What are your favoritte ways to cure boredom while traveling?
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