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How to Stay Busy While Traveling So You Don’t Get Bored

Most of us are looking to stay busy while traveling. While it’s been said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, much of the actual travel is downright boring. So, most of us are looking for ways to occupy our time when we’re prisoners to a passenger seat or departure gate.


This guide will give you ideas on ways to stay busy while traveling. Whether for the purpose of being productive or entertained, these tips will keep you occupied.


How to Stay Busy While Traveling


Nothing has the capacity to inspire and humble like immersing ourselves in another’s culture. Travel takes us out of our comfort zone and encourages us to embrace adventure and try new things.


But even being surrounded by natural beauty, there are inevitable downtimes when we’re left to our own devices and find ourselves in need of a source of entertainment. Here are a few ways to stay busy while traveling so you don’t go insane.


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Travel with a Deck of Cards


Perhaps the most versatile and the best bang for your buck you can find for on-the-road entertainment is the unassuming pack of playing cards. The possibilities are endless.


There are solo games, like solitaire and klondike and multiplayer games for up to a dozen friends—and there’s a certain familiar magic to learning the rules of a card game from a new companion—the best thing is, they’ll never run out of batteries.


Make Sure Your Smartphone is Fully Charged


Speaking of batteries, many of us travel to escape the clutches of technology but smartphones have nowadays become indispensable devices when we’re away from home. They can facilitate the booking of your next bus or train journey, help us keep in touch with friends and family back home, and from a safety standpoint, they have the capability to help us out of a sticky situation.


Full movies can be loaded onto your devices to enjoy during quieter evenings or when on the move and the range of mobile games available now is staggering. If you have internet access, you can even try your luck at an online casino from anywhere in the world—but do check with local laws first.


It’s highly recommended to pack a power bank with a substantial capacity to recharge your devices when they’re low. 20,000mAh for a laptop or tablet and 10,000mAh for your phone should be sufficient for at least one full charge from zero but check with airport restrictions because you may not be able to travel with larger power banks in your carry-on luggage.


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Keeping Kids Entertained with Audiobooks


If you’re traveling with kids, keeping them entertained can be a challenge. The views and experiences that leave us awestruck might only provoke yawns from youngsters.


Audiobooks are an invaluable resource to keep kids of all ages engaged and they won’t make you travel sick as a book can. Load up a selection onto your device and pack some kid-friendly headphones and they can be entertained for hours.


Keep a Journal


Along with photographs, journaling is a fantastic way to keep a record of all your adventures. There are inevitably details from your journey that are long forgotten even before arriving home, and a penned journal will help to jog your memory.


Rereading your journals years later will bring back some beautiful memories. Try and write a few sentences each evening or whenever you get a chance, the act of writing it alone can be a surprisingly rewarding activity.


Write a Book


Think about upgrading that journal to a novel. With the internet it’s easier than ever to self-publish works and writing a long-form fiction or nonfiction piece is a great way to share your experiences.


Read a Book


If you’re someone that struggles to make time to read and has an ever-growing to-read list or stack of books you’ve been meaning to get through, traveling often throws up ample opportunities to get stuck into a good story.


A Kindle or other eBook reader is a handy space saver in your luggage but swapping books you’ve finished on the road with other travelers is also a special experience. You might discover a new favorite genre you never previously thought of delving into.


Puzzle Books


If you like to challenge your mind, make your way through a puzzle book. Crosswords, sudokus, word jumbles, and ciphers will all keep your grey matter engaged and your wits sharp.


Sleep and More Sleep


Make use of the time to ensure you’re getting enough rest. The following day—or if you’re en route when you arrive—you might have a busy schedule, so pack your eye mask and earplugs and catch forty winks.


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Plan Your Itinerary


On the subject of itineraries, some of us like to be spontaneous but it’s always a good idea to have some sort of plan. Get your guide books out and search the web for a checklist of unmissable activities at your destination and cross-reference those to a map so you can plot your journey through a perfect day.


Catch Up On Emails


Finish off those last couple of pressing emails before turning on your out-of-office notification. Get them out the way now so when you arrive they won’t be nagging at you. Also, seize the chance to pen some letters home to friends and family.


Talk to Neighbors


Take the opportunity to get to know your neighbor, after all, we travel to experience new things and meet new people. Everyone has their own story to tell and the stranger to your side might surprise you. But try not to keep them awake if they’re looking to get some sleep.


Listen to Music


Put your earphones in and put on a podcast or your own specially curated travel playlist.


Watch the In-flight Movie


If you’re on a longer flight, check out the in-flight movie.




Take twenty minutes to practice mindfulness or center in on your affirmations. Although the seats are likely not the most comfortable, you can use this as a challenge, and the gentle hum of the cabin can be something to focus your mind on.


Hopefully, these are a few ideas that will help you stay busy while traveling on those longer trips. But remember, sometimes the journey is the destination!

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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