Believe it or not, there will be times during your travels when you will get bored. Especially if you’re traveling on your own. It simply can’t be helped. There will be long bus journeys to kill and rainy evenings in hostels to fill. You really need something to pass the time or you will go stir crazy.
So, with the limited resources to hand while you're traveling, what can you do to fill the dead time you will inevitably encounter?
Here are some of the things I do to pass the time while I’m traveling.
1. Keep a Journal
A backpacker sitting in a corner poring over a travel journal. Is there anything more cliché? Probably not. Nonetheless, I am a strong advocate of keeping a travel journal.
Travel journals do more than just help you pass the time. They are a tangible record of your journey. What’s more, they provide a platform for all your thoughts and feelings while you’re on the road. Putting all your emotions down on paper can be highly cathartic.
They are also highly amusing (and often cringe-worthy) to read back a couple of years later. Well, mine are anyway.
2. Use Online Games to Pass the Time
If you don’t want to use your brain too much, online games are the perfect way to pass the time. Online slot machines are surprisingly effective at making time fly. They don’t require a lot of thought and yet they are highly satisfying.
If you decide to play with real money you could even end up adding to your travel fund. There are always stories on ABCnews about people who win big with slot machines. Imagine putting down a couple of dollars (or less) and hitting some crazy jackpot, like this British soldier who became an overnight multi-millionaire after betting 25p.
3. Create Something
Getting creative is a productive way to pass the time and it will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Try writing a poem or short story; creating a business plan; starting a blog; or editing some of your photos. Whatever your interests are, use your down time to explore them.
4. Get Organized
This is definitely not as fun as the first three suggestions but it is really useful. If you find yourself with a few hours to kill then why not use them to get your life in order.
You could use this time to go through all your emails or to plan the next section of your route. Future you will thank you for your hard work.
5. Read, Read, Read
I cannot stress how important reading is on your trip. This doesn’t mean you have to lug a copy of crime and punishment around with you. You could read about the history of whichever country you’re in; browse through news articles or even just pick up an airport novel.
The point of reading is not just to pass the time. It keeps your brain engaged. It is really easy to completely switch off while you’re traveling. But, if you can keep your brain stimulated while you’re on the road it will pay off in the long run.