5 Ways to Combat Travel Boredom

published: October 2014

5 Ways to Combat Travel Boredom

A guest post by Holly Mantle

The problem with travelling is, it’s a nice idea but you often find yourself at 10am, sitting in y-fronts on a springy camp bed mattress wondering what on earth you can possibly do to distract yourself from the brain crushing hangover that is about to erupt. Something that doesn’t involve combining hangover +oppressive heat in a combo that will send you straight back to the bar for a slice of recovery pie is usually best.

The tourist information office, with its few lifeless pamphlets fluttering around, stained with wine and sand, doesn’t inspire many feelings of adventure. Neither do ‘things to do lists’ found on the net. So where to turn to when it’s looking like another DVD day in the hotel/hostel’s half-hearted attempt at a social space, whose sofas’ dignity have definitely been downgraded on previous party nights?

First of all, don’t forget that you can’t expect any one place or thing to bring you boundless joy on a plate. Historical monuments are great and all, but they’re hardly laugh-a-minute, are they? The same goes for whale watching, museums and other things you feel like you ‘have to do’ when you’re away. What makes the holiday fun is the things you bring to these places.

bored in a hostel

So here are some ideas for things to do to liven up those boring days:

1) If you have other people with you, play the dice game.

You decide on six different ideas; they have to be a bit whacky, they don’t have to relate to any place in particular and they have to be thought up on the spot. Whether it’s crab-hunting on a rocky beach or finding the weirdest cuisine sold in the local market – you have to write the ideas down, roll a dice, and go ahead with the choice the dice picks.

2) Flip a Coin

If you’re not sure where to spend the day – go for a wonder and let things come to you as you explore the town. Get a coin, decide which side = left and which side = right, flip 5 or 6 times, then record the results. This will then give you a set of directions to take, and you can see what the new surroundings inspire when you get there. (Probably the nearest greasy café, but still, at least you went outside).

3) Do something good.

If you are able to speak to any residents of the town or city where you’re staying, ask about local soup kitchens, schools where they need English lessons, orphanages or farms where extra hands are welcome. It may seem like straight-up madness to offer to work whilst on holiday, but you’ll definitely meet new people, remember the experience for the good feeling it brings and possibly learn something new. All for free!

4) The phrase book game

This is mostly an evening game, as you’ll probably need wine for extra confidence, and drinking during the day time can’t socially be condoned on the internet without a backlash. If you have at least one friend (or friend-for-the-moment you met last night) and are bored with the same old evenings of sipping watered down beers in beach-front bars, one option is to bring out your battered, forgotten phrase book. Flip it to a random page, choose the most controversial or potentially embarrassing sentence, and pass it to your friend, who then has to use this phrase within the next 5 minutes. With a human. And with a grave, dead-pan face. This one usually produces some very memorable incidents, particularly if the phrase in question requests something specific that will make the surrounding public dive into stranger-rescue mode.

5) 60 Minute Lock-In Drinking Game

If you’re looking for a really, really low budget, low-culture game that provides absolutely no sense of appreciation of your surroundings or the fact you’re in a foreign country at all, there’s one drinking game that should, at the very least, give you a good story. This lock-in based game involves parting ways, going into respective bedrooms, and drinking a whole bottle of wine within one hour, without engaging with the outside world. Once the 60 minutes are up, you can reconvene and the night can begin. This way, there is little need for expensive bar-based drinking, and you can be sure that your lowered-inhibition self will lead you somewhere interesting!

people in a hostel

These are not necessarily the most normal, or fellow-traveller-friendly games, but they might at least brighten up a few hours you would have otherwise spent on Facebook, in your bedroom, avoiding people and paradise.