The long-haul flight is the part of a vacation that few people look forward to. You are forced to remain in the same seat for interminable hours, sharing recycled air and toilets, enduring the company of complete strangers – long-haul flights do not have much going for them. In fact, their only saving grace is that they get you to where you want to be. Here are some tips to help you pass the time during a long journey to your vacation destination.
The backpack vacation
If you are embarking on a backpacking journey, chances are you will have to endure several long journeys, perhaps on an airplane, but perhaps also on trains and buses, particularly if your destination country covers a large area, such as India.
Sleep is, of course, an option for a long journey. This is an advantage on board an airplane because most of the time, all that can be seen out of the window are clouds. However, traveling on a bus and especially a train can be a different matter. Fall asleep on road-based transport and you may be missing out on some of the sights of the country you are in.
If you do want to get some sleep on a long journey, it can be helpful to pack a few aids. These can include an eye mask to block out sunlight or overhead lights, earplugs to block out the noise of the cabin, and an inflatable neck pillow to stop you waking up with a crick in your neck.
Looking out of the window is not going to occupy you for eight hours or more, so you will need some other form of entertainment. A long journey is a perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading. As you want to travel as light as possible, you will not want to pack huge numbers of paperback novels, so invest in an eReader that can hold hundreds, even thousands of the books you want to read. Bear in mind, however, that some trains may not have power outlets for you to recharge electronic devices, so have some printed material, such as a newspaper or magazine, as a backup. If you do not own an eReader, download an eBook app to your smartphone.
If you are on a long-haul flight, you could always pass the time by settling down to watch a few of the movies that the airline provides for your entertainment. While you may not consider there to be much choice as to which movie to watch, you may find that by watching a film you would not usually be interested in opens you up to new genres. However, if you take your laptop or notebook with you inside the plane, you could use this to watch films of your own choice that you have previously downloaded. Just remember to take a pair of compatible headphones with you so that you do not disturb your fellow travelers.
You could also pass the time by engaging in some work. For a writer, for example, a long journey is perfect for transforming the kernel of an idea into a workable first draft. It is similar for an artist. By the time they leave the plane, an artist could have some new additions for the portfolio.
If you are on a long-haul flight or train journey to go on vacation, you may feel you want to leave work far behind you. Fortunately, modern technology can more than answer our need for entertainment on the move.
Most people these days own either a smartphone or a tablet computer, which can provide hours of fun with games. Many come pre-loaded with games, but you can also download games relatively cheaply; however, avoid filling up your phone or tablet with games that you will not play. If you enjoy solving puzzles, then download murder mysteries, quest-type games, word or math puzzles. Puzzle-solving games have the advantage of taking a long time to complete, so are ideal for long journeys. If shoot ’em up games are more your thing, then download some of the best crime-related games. As with watching movies on your laptop, remember to use headphones so as not to annoy your neighbors.
Games are not your only choice of entertainment with a smartphone or tablet. You could also spend your time indulging in gambling, which may win you a little money. Cards have long been a favorite pastime for many, and you can play rummy online, or poker or bridge. You can choose to play against the computer or against other real-life players. Online gambling can be very engaging, and you are sure to lose a few hours of otherwise boring travel enjoying yourself with games of skill.
Alternatively, you could use the journey time to increase your knowledge. Are you traveling to a country with a language different to yours? If so, why not use the time to brush up on your language skills with phrase books downloaded to your eReader or smartphone, or by using a language-training app?
Do not neglect your body
You may be exercising your mind with these various forms of entertainment, but what about your body? You may not be able to start doing star jumps in the aisle of the plane or train, but it is important for your health that you get up and stretch your legs at least every couple of hours. This will help to keep your blood flowing and may prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). A trip to the bathroom will do this, but you could also take a few walks up and down the aisle.
A long journey can be a very tedious part of your vacation, but there are ways you can make good use of the time. View the journey as an opportunity to improve your mind or indulge in a new experience and you should find the time passes much more quickly.