Whether it be a short trip or a long journey, there are many ways to pass time. Sometimes it is by doing nothing at all. Take the opportunity of not having to drive or concentrate on the road and check out of reality for a while to explore your own thoughts and get lost in the limitless bounds of imagination. While this is a great way to soothe your soul, you can’t do this forever, so here are a few ideas on ways to keep yourself and others entertained whilst travelling.
1. Watch T.V – there is usually an onboard television with appropriately classified movies that will be played throughout the journey. If that’s not for you, or if you have your own, it’s a good idea to come prepared with your favourite pre-loaded movies, series or cartoons along with a set of headphones. Don’t rely on streaming or trying to download on the move as internet coverage can be an issue.
2. Write a travel journal – The best part of travelling is the experience. The worst thing about travelling is forgetting some of even all of your experience as time goes on, so writing it down helps strengthen your memories and when you read them back, reminisce about your time on the road and bring a smile to your face. Bonus points if you are clever enough to illustrate!
3. Play a game – Whether it be a downloaded game on your device, a crossword puzzle or sudoku book, brain teasers or travel game, it’s always fun to play a game. There are plenty for solo’s or those with travel partners. You can always use a game to make a new friend on the coach. “excuse me – what’s a 5-letter word for a teacher on wheels? It begins with C. (I will give you a hint – its coach 😊
4. Have a chat - Talking of new friends, why not strike up a conversation with your seat buddy or isle neighbour? Use a little time to ask how they are and maybe where they are heading to. They could possibly have a few recommendations for you along your way. Most times, you will always find something in common to chat about but always read the room (or in this case the coach) and if it seems they would prefer not to talk, then maybe a friendly smile will do.
5. Read a book – or a blog! If you don’t often get the time to focus on a book or to read that blog that has been sitting in your reading file for ages, use your travel time wisely! Second hand shops are a great resource for a cheap read and most towns still have the good old book exchange, so you can pick up a paperback in one town, and exchange it in another!
6. Snack – my personal favourite pastime. You will be surprised at how satisfying it is to be able to sit and have a snack with the time to actually enjoy what you are eating. With our busy lifestyles these days, eating is a chore and some days done on the run or at a desk in front of a keyboard. Make your snacks healthy and consider those around you. Steer away from smelly and strong-smelling foods like tuna and eggs as it may trigger those who suffer from travel sickness. Consider your rubbish and use the bins provided. It’s a better option to take it with you at your next comfort stop or when you are departing the coach at your final destination.
7. Plan a trip – There is no better time to be researching your next destination or even plan your next adventure! Use the information you have learned from chatting with the locals along your travels, or from the recommendations from the new friends you made on the coach to make a wish list or itinerary. There is always something new to see and experience, even when visiting the same place more than once.
8. Listen to a podcast – or an audio book. There are many apps and sites that allow you to download podcasts and there are so many genre’s available, that you could leave your earbuds in for a week and not run out of them. Audio books are also great. Join the public library and use their resources which can be extensive and at a minimal cost if not free! Take the opportunity to learn a new language, all by audio!
9. Get some work done – If you are travelling for business, are a time poor student or need to catch up on some work, bring along your USB charger to keep the device charged and use your time to really focus on the task at hand. Get a start on that report, write an essay or an email. It’s best to focus on tasks that can be done offline as internet is usually intermittent when travelling regionally so if you write an email, save it as a draft and send it when you can.
10. Have a snooze – what is it about being in a moving vehicle that makes us soooo sleepy? Put in some earplugs and pop on a sleep mask. Coach drivers are familiar with navigating traffic, changing road conditions and even the odd uninvited cow, emu or kangaroo so you can ‘rest’ assured and sleep easy knowing your safety on the road is top priority.
11. Draw what you see – even if you’re not good, you can only get better right? Choose your artform and grab that sketch pad. You can even grab a cheap journal and jot down your thoughts along with some of the amazing scenery you will see on your journey, especially in Western Australia!
12. Write a letter or a post card – with technology the way it is today, who doesn’t get excited when a letter or postcard arrives in the mail. Well, maybe not the window kind if you receive bills that way, but the nice keeping in touch kind. Postcards are designed for a quick note, so unless you have lots to talk about, they are a great idea! Prepaid envelopes are easy to get and won’t weigh you down or if you need a stamp, they are easily purchased at all towns along the way.
13. Play cards – UNO, Solitaire or Spider – yes, actual playing cards. You’ll be surprised at how bringing out a pack of cards lightens a mood. Whiling away the time is easy when you are focussed on getting all of those suits in order. It’s also a great ice breaker if you are in a room of people you do not know. Who can resist telling someone, “you missed the 8 of hearts”? Extra points if you know any magic tricks!
14. Do a craft – sew, knit, crochet or stitch – If you don’t already know, download some YouTube tutorials and teach yourself! Practice what you learn along the way. Materials are light and take up little space. If you get a project done, such as a little blanket or quilt and have no room to take it with you, pop it in the post to a loved one or gift it to the local second-hand store at the next town.
15. Lego – are you ever too old? We should never get too old to build things. It helps with dexterity, problem solving, logic and creativity. They are just a few of the benefits to clamping some little coloured bricks together. Buy them second hand or at garage sales and once done, either on sell them or donate. Maybe take a photo of your work of art first though.
Coach travel should never be tedious or boring. With a little planning, it can either be time used to complete a task or to take some well needed rest. Either way, its time well spent.
Courtesy Sharon Graham