Bus travel is certainly not as glamorous as other forms of transport, and it is rare you get the all singing all dancing entertainment you find on many long distance plane journeys. Keeping your mind busy, and boredom at bay, on these long journeys you sometimes have to be a bit more creative.
- Write a postcard home
When was the last time you wrote to your parents, partner, best friend or even your pet dog? If you are anything like me you will have bought postcards earlier in your trip and stuffed them in your bag ready to write them at some point later, which usually ends up being on the plane home. If postcards aren’t your thing then think about writing a letter or recording your adventures in a journal for you to reflect back on in the future.
- Make a friend
Everyone has that one story when something went wrong on a bus trip, whether it was simple as an accident causing tailbacks for hours or a bull elephant decided to stare down the bus from the middle of the road. These incidents bring together a vehicle full of strangers, unified in the same frustrating, hot, sticky, delayed (and sometimes frightening) experiences together.
- Take fully charged a laptop or tablet
I always take my laptop, but when I travel I am always writing (exclusively for you). I find that this is a great time to get my head down without any distractions. Equally, when I am tired of writing I love to make a mini-fort out of a jumper and the back of my seat, block out the light and settle down to watch a good film, with headphones in of course. If you are travelling with a friend then get some headphone splitters and watch together. Make sure you download a few movies or TV series ahead of time to ensure you are not reliant on mobile data.
- Read a book
If you have read my earlier article you may be surprised to see that this has made it to the list. Being stuck on a coach for hours is one of those occasions that it is actually great to have a book with you. While away the hours immersed in a world inside your own mind, and no doubt when you finally look up from your book you will be at your destination. Just stop if you start feeling car sick!
- Enjoy the scenery
Ok so maybe you aren’t out exploring the country in person, but you can still see a lot of it whilst looking out the window. Some journeys in Asia and Africa cross remote regions and you can get a small taste of rural countryside life. These routes also offer some stunning scenery, from narrow mountain passes to great plains and stunning coastlines. Keeping your attention inside the bus may mean you miss out on what is going on around you.
- Take up a hobby
There are times in your life that you wish you had listened to your grandma as she tried to teach you to knit, 5 hours into a bus journey is one of those times. Crafts like this are a great way to amuse yourself on a long trip. If knitting isn’t your thing then hand make some greetings cards (or thank you cards if you are couch surfing), learn origami or write a poem or short story. Doing something creative is often something that is missed when you are so busy exploring the world.
- Reflect on your life
Travelling is a great chance to get away from the everyday and evaluate your life. Think about what you really love about your life and what you can do to improve the things you are not so keen on. Time to explore your own brain can be really positive, but make sure you don’t dwell on the things you can’t change.
- Plan your next trip
Ok, so maybe I am a little insane, but I love planning. I have literally lists for everything. But perhaps my favourite thing to plan is where I am travelling to next. Whether
it is scouring a guide book to see what to do in the next town I am headed to, or planning a dream ‘one day’ journey to a far flung remote island to try to prevent the post-travel blues.
- Healthy snacks, eating regularly and drinking plenty
This is something that is often overlooked on long journeys. We stock up on comfort food like salty potato chips and sweets to snack throughout the journey and keep us amused. However, you are far better off packing healthy alternatives such as fruit and a salad, eating regularly and ensuring you drink plenty of water. Whilst it is ok to have a couple of treats on standby, make sure this is not your main travel diet. Eating regularly will also break up your journey and give you something to look forward to.
- Learn a new language
If you are travelling in a country where your native language is not spoken then it always makes such a difference to at least be able to say a few basic phrases. Use the empty time to practise the basics, and maybe learn a bit more. If you are travelling with friends then make a competition out of who can put together the most complicated sentences – although be careful not offend people around you. Native speakers that are also travelling may even join in, helping you learn the language whilst also practising a different language for them. Win. Win!
- Take a nap
There is nothing more tiring than travelling, so why not make the most of the time you have sitting around and catch up on those zzz’s. Fashion a jumper into a pillow and try to get comfy.
- Catch up with friends
If you are going to catch up with friends make sure you are doing it using a messaging service rather than chatting out loud. There is nothing more annoying at 2am than some girl in the middle of the bus effectively talking to herself, gossiping and giggling whilst everyone around is trying to get some sleep in the most uncomfortable seat they have ever sat on.
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