It might sound silly, but in order to travel around the world, you need to be able to deal with the travel. It’s all well thinking about the wonderful places you can visit and what you will do when you get there, but first, you actually need to get there. Whether it is by plane, bus, bicycle or camel, you will need to put in some travelling hours to get the most out of any multi-stop trip. If you are visiting countries where the infrastructure is more simplistic, you might also need to add cramped/sweaty conditions to the repertoire. So here are 10 simple ways to help you get from A to B whilst keeping your sanity.
1. Make friends
You are stuck in a small confinement with people who could possibly be the most interesting people in the world. Conversely, they may just fall asleep in their chair, but there are plenty more fish in the bubble. Take a chance, and you may be regaled with stories, make new friends, learn more about the country, or even end up with invitations to visit. Get involved, have fun and you’ll find the miles fly by.
2. Take the interesting route
You need to get from A to B, and you can either go straight down the fast, boring route, or take the interesting route. If time is not on your side, then the straight route might be needed. If not, why not take the road less travelled? At worst, you will definitely not be bored. Plus, the scenery is often much better, and who wants to travel by bus when you can take an elephant, or a segway? (These options aren’t always available).
3. Catch up on your Z’s
Travel time is the best time to catch up on those much needed Z’s. The best way to do this (and to save money) is to take sleeper trains or overnight coaches. Not only do you save on accommodation, you can go to sleep and wake up at your destination fresh and ready to go. If you’re lucky, you might also be in for a surprise (On a 32hour journey from Thailand to Malaysia, my final leg was conducted from a fully reclinable sitting room armchair on a coach. I have never been able to replicate the comfiness of that journey since). Even if you are not travelling overnight, being able to have a kip while moving is always a very useful skill, as there is no boredom involved, and you can hit your destination with revitalised vigour.
4. Take a pack of cards
Universal games are universal. Need an icebreaker? Bring out your pack of cards and get the games flowing; there are always willing participants hiding in the shadows. They also take up minimal space in your backpack, leaving room for the kitchen sink, or your beloved games console.
5. Brush up your language skills
Why not get yourself some language skills while you sit? Whether it is for the country you are in, or where you are going, make the effort and it will pay dividends in the long run. People really appreciate the thought, and even basic skills in language are useful in future life.
6. Keep your eye on the scenery
Some of the best scenery can be seen while you are moving, as you get the full landscape set out before you, and the open road ahead. Sit back, and take it all in. Take a cheeky photo through the glass. Outside that window is where the real country is.
7. Get up to date
Use the time to get yourself sorted. Have a journal or blog? Get it down on paper. Need to make more travel plans? Work out where you are going next. Not spoken to your mum for six months? Think about letting her know you’re alive. Getting the admin done while you’re stuck in a moving box leaves time for more exciting things at your destination.
8. Take an old favourite
Books can be your saviour! If you have an e-reader, you are all set for any journey that is thrown at you. There is nothing like a good solid book however, and i always take one of my favourite reads to enjoy when the need takes me. The best part is most hostels have a book swap facility, where you can swap your dusty tome for something new.
9. Review it!
If you are really stuck for things to keep you occupied, why not review the journey? Other people are always looking to hear what is good on the travel circuit, and what should probably be avoided. The best time to write about your experience is while it is happening, so try your hand at being a critic and add to your humorous anecdotal repertoire. They’ll go down great at parties.
10. Stock up your music
Finally, there is nothing quite like a good travel playlist to get you in the mood to watch the distance fly by. Music is also a good talking point; i once spent five hours comparing traditional Vietnamese music with current music from the UK, and afterwards there was definitely some new music on my iPod to take onto new destinations.