The art to travelling contentedly is all in the preparation. What many people fail to appreciate is the time between closing their front door and opening the hotel room. Any travel guide will tell you the journey is as much a part of your holiday travels and if you treat it like an adventure and take precautions there is no reason you shouldn’t have fun too.
To travel content you need to make allowances for your personal circumstances, groups with young children will need different preparations to an elderly couple. In the end there are some fundamental similarities in all journeys. No matter whether you are going on holiday by train, plane or in the car, if it’s for more than an hour you will need a plan.
The key to keeping sane while on the road is to see the time in short manageable blocks of time. Half an hour is good, read a magazine, watch an infomercial or look out at the planes. Anything that can help time move on is useful. After half an hour, try a new activity. This way you manage your trip in bite sized chunks. Here are some travel tips to help you prepare for the long journey ahead.
This is especially true if you have kids or are travelling alone. Keeping yourself busy will help the time pass. This is where modern electronics are a God send, iPod, portable DVD players, touchscreen phones and eReaders all assist in keeping the boredom well away. Books, puzzles and newspapers are a good way to keep your mind off the clock and departure times. Even old-fashioned games like eye spy or spot the next mini are a good way to kill half an hour.
Snacks, treats, meals and picnics are also great for filling some time. If you get through a particularly boring half hour, reward yourself with a treat, a handful of nuts or toffee. Picnics are great for whiling away a stop over at an airport, buy some bits, find a place and make yourself a snack. Remember two small snacks will help break up a seven-hour delay no end.
3) Keep Moving
A change of scenery is good, whether on a coach or sitting in the middle of the night waiting for a train. Even just turning around to look somewhere else will give you a fresh perspective. Explore your new surroundings; take a walk up the plane to the furthest toilets just to see what else is happening. If you have a particularly long wait you may even have time for a little walk around the local area, check out the sights.
4) Make Friends
Nothing unites people more easily than shared frustration and waiting around at a bus stop can provide the excellent intro to someone. Obviously you don’t want to come across as crazy and if they seem a little strange you can always make the excuse you need to check on your departure to make your getaway.
5) Break up Your Trip
If you are going to be on the road for a long time or face multiple transport changes and waiting for connections, look for breaks in the routine. Have a longer than normal stop at the service station, take the coach instead of the train. Staggering your journey with regular breaks will give you a change of view and a welcome rest, even if it’s just resting your eyes.
6) Keep Hydrated
Many modern buildings and aircraft are fitted with air-conditioning and this creates a dry atmosphere that can lead to dehydration, which will make you tired and irritable. So remember to drink water or juice on a regular basis.
7) Have a Nap
If you find yourself in a safe area try catching 20 minutes sleep. This doesn’t work for everyone but if you are one of those lucky people that can sleep anywhere for short periods, at the drop of a hat, give it a shot.
8) Avoid Clock Watching
Although you don’t want to miss your flight glancing at your watch or the departures board every ten minutes will only make time drag. Whenever you get the urge to see how long you’ve got left, try and put it off for a little longer. As the saying goes “a watched pot never boils.”
9) Plan a Trip
Get the whole family involved and plan a holiday excursion, a day out or an evening’s entertainment. It helps get everyone in the holiday mood and gives you an event to look forward to later in the week.
10) Write a Blog
Keep notes on the journey, like a ships log or a travel guide; collect mementos of the trip, tickets, receipts, or coasters, keep a photo record and write a tips blog about the trip. Your experiences may be of interest or help to fellow travellers along the way.
There are many little things you can try to keep yourself busy, whether cooped up on a bus as it travels across mid America, sat in the departure lounge of a busy airport or stood around in the middle of nowhere waiting for the breakdown service to come and repair your car. If you’ve packed a book, some pens and a note pad, your MP3 player and some treats to eat and drink, with a little imagination you can happily wile away the hours. Content in the knowledge that before long you’ll be on the ski slopes or relaxing on the beach but in the meantime you’re going to enjoy the ride.