Sadly visiting all those picture perfect locations usually involves long journeys and even the most seasoned traveller can get travel weary on long bus and plane trips. I am currently travelling South America and these long journeys are many! Such a huge continent and so many sights to see so I have taken LOADS of long journeys. Here are some ways that can make it more bearable, sometimes even enjoyable.
1 . Change your perspective. Stop thinking about how long you will be stuck on the bus and instead think about how many hours of ‘you time’ you can have! If your travel style is anything like mine, you will pack a lot into each destination. Sometimes long journeys are my saviour. They force me to sit still, take naps and have some chill time!
2. If you really hate the long journeys, look into travelling at night. Often you can get night buses or trains that have bunk beds and allow you to sleep through the long journey and wake up somewhere new and exciting! I’ve taken many of these and they are a great option. If you are travelling with a group of friends they can even be fun! I remember a few overnight trains where we’ve sat 10 people in one cabin drinking beers and playing games.
3. Make time for self-care. Frequent stops, plenty of snacks, warm clothes for just in case, sun cream for sitting by open windows. Walk about and stretch whenever you get the opportunity. You can even do exercises to keep your circulation good on long trips – alternating toe and heel to the floor will help prevent swollen ankles and the risk of DVT’s. Also keep well hydrated!
4. Consider getting a kindle or e-book reader before you travel. Having a choice of books is great depending on your mood. You can even mix it up between fiction, non-fiction even magazines and if the book you are reading is rubbish, just move onto the next!
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5. If you are travelling as a group, mix up the seating arrangements often for the most diverse conversations. If you are going solo, try to get chatting to locals – it’s amazing what you can learn from a simple conversation and they may even be able to give you some tips about your destination. It’s also a great opportunity to practice the local language if you can!
6. I always try to be a little tired before a long journey by staying up a bit later the night before. This way I can pretty much guarantee to pass a few hours by snoozing. There is also something about being on a moving vehicle which always lulls me to sleep like a baby! Make sure you have a comfy travel pillow too!
7. Take the opportunity to upload your photos and sort through them. Anyone else guilty of taking about 10 photos of the exact same thing?! You will be glad you did this as you went – it will take much longer when you get home and chances are you wont get around to it and the photos will be lost somewhere in your iCloud!
8 . You could even edit your photos as you go! I use photoshop for some special photos but 90% of mine are just edited with iphoto. It’s amazing what altering the light and contrast can do for making your photo ‘pop.’ Cropping your photo to exclude distractions or empty space will also likely improve your photo composition significantly. You don’t have to be a photography pro to make a few quick tweaks that will take your photo from ‘nice’ to ‘great!’ Keep your eyes peeled for a photo editing post on here soon!
9. Whilst photos are a great way to document your trip, often minor details are forgotten in time. Consider writing a diary, journal or even a travel blog. You can make a travel blog private if you want to keep it for friends and family only and they are super easy to set up these days with the likes of WordPress and blogspot easily accessible and free to use. I usually write my posts and brainstorm ideas on my long journeys and then upload them when I get access to wi-fi.
10. Consider bringing a laptop, iPad or notebook to download and watch films on. Also consider downloading series, documentaries and podcasts from iTunes, amazon prime or netflix! Though I suggest doing this before you leave as wifi can be very slow abroad! I always take my macbook with me – it’s feather light!
11. Consider bringing some travel games. These have helped to pass many hours! Other than your obvious pack of cards, here are a few others I have enjoyed on my current trip
- Heads up. Download it on your phone. Your friends will have to act out the word on your phone (held up to your forehead) which you have to guess. A quick nod when you are correct and the next word comes up. The best thing is that the app takes a video which you can play back and see how silly you all look miming!
- Dobble. Like good old-fashioned snap but faster and harder! Each card has multiple images on. There are a variety of ways to play but my favourite is where you have to match the images to someone!!elses cards with the goal of being the first to get rid of all of your own and increase the size of your competitors pile of cards. It can get very competitive!
- Werewolf. A card game and test of your poker face. Everyone gets assigned a card, most of which will be human or werewolf. A narrator will read out the story as the werewolves try to kill off the humans and the humans race to work out who is a werewolf before it’s too late.
- Guess the celeb. Give each other name tags for your foreheads and then ask yes or no questions to work out who you are meant to be.
- Monopoly – download on an iPad and avoid the complicated handling of fake money and the large board with the potential for missing pieces!
- Blankr. One for playing with a few drinks perhaps! Have you ever played Cards against Humanity? This is even better and is in travel size! For those who haven’t played, it is described as the party game for horrible people! You match a prompt card to a statement to create the most socially awkward, controversial, gross, rude or just plain funny statement. You will judge yourself afterwards but I have yet to meet a single person who’s played and hasn’t loved it! Just agree not to judge each other before hand and let your inner devil side out..!
12. Update your playlist. Don’t forget to do this before you leave and when you have good wi-fi! You don’t want to be stuck listening to the same 10 songs on repeat which you downloaded sometime in 2015!
13. Plan your next part of your trip. Whilst it’s great to leave some time free for spontaneity, it’s worthwhile trying to plan a few days ahead to make sure you make the most of your time, eat in the best places and don’t miss something you’d later regret! I personally do most of my planning from other travel blogs and tripadvisor but there’s also nowt wrong with a good old-fashioned guidebook – just make sure it’s a recent copy!
14. Practice the local lingo. Try to learn something new every day and use apps such as duolingo to learn the language quickly!
15. Don’t forget to soak in the view! Some of my longest trips have had the most spectacular scenery such as in the Bolivian Altiplano. Don’t get so absorbed in your conversation or book that you forget to look up and appreciate the country you are visiting!
If you found this useful, feel free to share with your friends on social media! Do you have any other boredom busting methods you can share with us?