Travelling is a wonderful experience that both broadens the mind and leads to many exciting new adventures. But while it can be fun to visit new places and try out new experiences, often the actual travelling part can be a bit of a bore. Hours spent sitting on trains, buses and planes can be tedious, and even in-flight movies can pall after a while. 

Thankfully we’re not without our own resources when it comes to finding ways to occupy ourselves on long journeys, especially in the modern digital age. Here are a few ideas of things you can do while you’re on your way to your next adventure.

Read a book

This might be an obvious suggestion, but there’s nothing like a good book to make the hours fly by. Fiction or non-fiction, heavy or light: choose something that you’re able to get engrossed in and that doesn’t feel like a chore. A Kindle or other e-book reader means you can carry a whole library around with you without adding extra weight to your luggage, but a physical paperback is still an ideal fallback if your battery is low or you can’t get online.

Audio books and podcasts

For some people, reading while on the move can cause travel sickness, and sometimes it’s hard to concentrate if your eyes are tired. When this applies, an alternative course of action is to listen to someone reading or speaking instead. A huge number of books are available to download or stream as audio versions these days, and the possibilities of the recorded spoken word don’t end there. Check out your favourite app store for podcasts and talks that suit your interests or that sound intriguing. 

Listen to music

There’s no substitute for music if you want to fill the time and enhance your mood. Listening to your favourite tunes can help you to feel at home in the most unfamiliar places, or you can put on something new that belongs to the culture of the country that you’re travelling through. Music can help you relax or liven you up. 

Why not create a selection of different playlists before you set off, all with different emotional flows or specific resonances? Using the shuffle function can stop things from getting repetitive. Try tuning in to local radio to really get a feel for the place you’re visiting.

Play games online

There are now a huge number of video games and casino games that you can play online, in many cases for free. Check out the 10 best online casinos website to find some of the best casino games, like blackjack, poker and slot machines, available on the net. Casual games are easy to play and don’t require the commitment or skills of more intense gaming. Take a look around and you’ll find there’s something for everyone.

Puzzles and crosswords

Some entertainments never get old, and despite serious competition from more hi-tech games, the humble word puzzle is still a favourite way to pass the time. Crosswords and games like Sudoku keep your mind active and are basically gymnasiums for the brain as well as ways to stave off boredom. Bring along a handy puzzle book, turn to the crossword page of your favourite newspaper or magazine, or go online to find that the old-fashioned puzzle is still thriving in the digital age.

Have a conversation

Most of the activities recommended above are very insular. They are ways to go inside yourself and escape the immediate experience of your journey. But travelling can also be a great way to connect with the people around you, and while some might find this a little challenging, it’s also a rare opportunity to build bonds and expand understanding. 

Long journeys can be a way to get to know your travelling companions better, or to speak to a stranger from a different culture. Games that can be played by several people are a good way to break the ice. Not everyone has the knack of starting conversations with people they don’t know, and keeping them going requires the cooperation of both parties. But if you can manage it, a simple chat can be the most worthwhile use of your travelling time.

Hopefully these suggestions have given you a few ideas on how to make the hours pass more quickly on a long trip. They may have sparked other possibilities as you read them. And if you’re reading this while travelling right now, we hope that we’ve provided you with some useful food for thought.