We’ve spent most of the past year cooped up inside, attached to our phones and computers. Now that travel is picking up again, we can’t wait to get on a train, bus, flight or ferry and soak in the sights and sounds in person.
Each mode has its own unique charm, but how can you enjoy the ride without checking your phone every two minutes? We’ve listed some suggestions that will help you travel with intention and ease, because as you probably know by now, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
PS. While some routes literally force you to unplug, as Wi-Fi is unavailable, we suggest switching to airplane mode for these tips so that you can sit back and truly enjoy the ride. Don’t worry about tickets, they work even when you’re offline when you use the Omio app!
Trains are for tales
Trains are the perfect mode to catch up on the latest novel or potboiler. Is there anything cosier than stowing your luggage in the overhead compartment, making yourself comfortable, and opening a page-turning book as the ever-changing scenery passes by? While having a book on your phone or mobile device might be convenient, there’s nothing quite like having an actual hardcover or paperback in your hands. That smell of freshly printed paper is almost heady. Pack a few of your favourites or a new release for a truly sensory experience.
Depending on the duration of your train journey, you can finish a short classic such as Voltaire’s “Candide” (or at least a few short stories by Edgar Allan Poe or Jhumpa Lahiri) and disembark with a sense of accomplishment without once glancing at a screen. Another rewarding yet relaxing train activity is opening your sketchbook to unleash your creativity. If you’re travelling with others, a deck of cards makes for superb onboard entertainment.
Buses are for broadcasts
Books and coaches are not necessarily a match made in literary heaven as many travellers experience motion sickness (not to mention, bus seats have little wiggle room to relax). Podcasts, on the other hand, are ideal bus companions. Yes, we know they’re a digital format but you don’t need WiFi to listen. Before “unplugging,” make sure you’ve downloaded some episodes. If you like comedy, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” is a great podcast to while away the time. If true crime is more you bag, opt for “Casefile,” an Aussie podcast that covers lesser-known tragic events.
Put on your headphones and escape the confines of the bus with a language-learning podcast. Credit: Shutterstock
If you’ve finished all your favourite non-travel podcasts, nerd out by choosing one that is about the destination you’re heading to or download a language podcast to help you learn a few phrases before your arrival.
Flights are for films
Apart from an actual movie theatre, flights are perhaps the best opportunity we have to watch a film uninterrupted from beginning to end. Many airlines have monitors on seat backs so let the small screen hypnotise you as you snuggle up with your favourite blanket from home and your fluffiest socks. If you have your own device, download one of these wanderlust-inspiring movies to get you in the mood for sightseeing.
Many airlines have media centres on seat backs that offer a variety of movies. Credit: Shutterstock
If it’s a long-haul flight, make sure to stay healthy while onboard. Stretch as much as you can, drink lots of water and treat yourself to some spa therapy in the form of creams and lotions. Another great pastime when flying is journaling. So fill your notebook with plans or impressions about your destination.
Ferries are for photography
Whether you’re heading out on an overnight ferry or on a five-minute crossing, there’s always a sense of adventure when entering the deck of a large boat and breathing in the salty sea air. Depending on how long your ride is, this is a great time to get out your Polaroid or disposable camera for a lil photo sesh to remember your journey. It can be a relief not focusing on the gram but hey, if the roll turns out great you can always post it later!
Ferries are the best mode for detoxing from your phone. Grab a manual camera and head out onto the deck for awe-inspiring views. Credit: Shutterstock
The water view is also the perfect backdrop for meditation or simple breathing exercises to put you in a more mindful and relaxed state. Happy travels!