We all know that traveling can be a fun adventure, and that’s especially true when you’re traveling by yourself. However, that doesn’t mean that every moment of your journey will be fun. Part of the satisfaction of undertaking a trip by yourself is that it’s a challenge. One of the more difficult things you’ll have to contend with is boredom or isolation, which can affect even the most seasoned of travelers. After all, we all have to deal with long layovers or moments when we’re too tired to explore around town.
There are plenty of ways to beat boredom when traveling, however. We’ll run through some tried and tested methods for ensuring that boredom is always far from your mind when adventuring.
Bring a Book
The classic way to stay entertained when you’re traveling. There’ll be moments when you have nothing to do but wait for your flight or your bus to show up or anything else. In those moments, your book can fill the gap. Pick a book that’ll actually enjoy reading, rather than one that you feel you “should” read. A 900-page classic will only go unread — and it’ll weigh down your luggage for no good reason, too.
Load Up Some Games
Of course, there’s only so much reading you can do. Plus, some environments just aren’t conducive to reading. In those moments, turn to games. Since you’ll be traveling by yourself, you’ll be looking for single-player games, though it is recommended to pack a deck of cards just in case you meet other people while traveling. Solitaire is a good single-person game that’ll keep you entertained for a couple of hours, but keep in mind that it’s best to play on your device (you’re unlikely to have the space you need when in an airport). There are also plenty of fun arcade-style smartphone games that you can download, too.
Pack Your Camera
You’ll have your smartphone with you, which means you’ll have a good camera. However, it can be worthwhile packing a digital or analog camera with you on your adventures, too. That leads to more focused photograph-taking, which can be ideal when you’re feeling a little bored. There’s always going to be an interesting subject near you that’s worth capturing. You’ll find that, once boredom strikes, you can look at your everyday surroundings from a different perspective. Plus, if you use a classic camera film roll, then you’ll have all those photos to look forward to when you’re back home and finally get them developed.
Be OK Striking Up Conversations
We said that traveling by yourself is a little comfortable, but that’s absolutely fine — you should step a little outside of your comfort zone when you’re exploring the world. One way to beat boredom and enrich your traveling experience is to be OK with striking up conversations with people around you. It takes a bit of courage to say hello to someone, but in all likelihood, you’ll find that they’re receptive to conversation. The chat could last for just a few minutes or you could become best friends, but you won’t know until you open your mouth. If nothing else, you’ll have the satisfaction of having done something that you wouldn’t normally do.
Bring a Journal
We think journaling is one of the best ways to document a travel adventure. When you’re back home, you’ll find that memories slowly fade away and that it’s only the standout moments that you retain. But if you can journal, then you’ll have a solid document that outlines what you did, your thoughts and feelings, impressions, and much more to look back on. Plus, it’s the perfect thing to do when you have half an hour before your train departs. It takes a little bit of discipline to commit to journaling each day, but it’s one of those things that nobody regrets doing. Think of decades down the line: how nice would it be to be able to read all about your adventures from the perspective of someone who was living at the time?
You’ll find that sometimes just observing the world can be rewarding. When we’re traveling, we very often move from one sight to the next. We’re always moving forward or living in the moment. And that’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that you can miss a lot. When you have some downtime, consider just sitting there and observing the world — you can learn a lot about a culture just by watching how its people go about their day. Indeed, this is one of the joys of traveling by yourself. When you’re with someone else, you’ll be talking or at least somewhat conscious that they’re there. When you’re by yourself, you can just lose yourself in observation for a while — you never know what insights might come your way!
Join a Tour
It can take a lot of energy to explore a region all by yourself. Sometimes, it can be nice to just outsource the organization by joining a tour. And this won’t just allow you to soak up all the attractions, but it’ll also allow you to meet other travelers, many of whom will also be traveling by themselves. Alternatively you could join activity based groups, such as mountain biking, which will allow you to meet like-minded travelers.
It can be nice to stay in hotels, since they’re generally nicer than hostels. However, they can also be pretty lonely — you’ll be unlikely to meet anyone if you’re staying in a hotel room all by yourself. If you stay in a hostel, you’ll find a whole bunch of people willing to talk and hang out. Many hostels offer single occupancy rooms, too, so you can have the luxury of a hotel while still enjoying the social factor of a hostel.
Mix it Up
Finally, if you’re really bored when you’re traveling, then consider heading somewhere else. The place that really ignites your soul might just be a short train ride away!