While it’s great that airfare is cheaper than usual at present, this means that more people are flying right now than would normally be, which has been leading to some serious airport wait times. Couple this influx with the surges normally seen around long weekends, and we’re expecting a lot of downtime as we travel over the Fourth of July weekend. Even if you’re not braving an airport, you will likely have time to kill while road-tripping, traveling by train or getting out of town by any and all means necessary. Here, 12 creative ways to cure the resultant boredom and frustration so you don’t end up needing a vacation after your vacation.
Write Snail Mail
These days, the only things anyone ever seems to get in the mail come from either a credit card company or Amazon.com. Surprise your friends, family or significant other by penning a letter from the road—postcards are especially quaint in 2017.
If you're in the mood for something a bit more serious, use the time to write a letter to your local Congressman. This isn't as futile an effort as it may sound—read here for tips on making yourself heard.
Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, as they're known to be both calming and mentally clarifying. We love these David Bowie and Vogue offerings, or you can simply print out these Beyoncé Lemonade coloring pages.
Empty Your Inbox
This activity may not be the most fun you've ever had on vacation, but it'll lighten your mental load considerably—better enabling you to enjoy your time once you've landed. If you've got Wi-Fi, getting your inbox to zero can be one of the best uses of your travel downtime.
Tell A Story
Pick a stranger within your semi-immediate vicinity and work with your travel partners to create an entirely fictional backstory for them. One person says one line, the next picks up with the second line, and so on. If you choose to play this game, however, please ensure the stranger in question has no idea it's them you're discussing.
Listen To Someone Else Tell A Story
Reading is great and all, but trips go by much faster when TV or movies are involved. Sometimes, however, airplane TVs go out, decent programming costs an exorbitant amount and so on. For these instances, we suggest investing in a book on tape, which can be a very nice compromise between the two mediums.
Go On A Scavenger Hunt
This concept is probably the most fun when executed on a road trip—gas stations in the middle of nowhere are full of hidden and hilarious gems; however, you can easily create an airport scavenger hunt as well, so long as you have the budget for items priced at three times their value.
Break Down Your Biggest Goal
This one is a little nerdy, but you can't argue with its effectiveness as it's a well-known fact that people are more likely to achieve goals once they've broken them into small, executable tasks. Take your biggest goal for the next 12 months and break it into smaller goals. Then, chart the execution of those smaller goals onto a timeline. Afterward, have a drink as you daydream about the future rewards you'll reap.
Invent A Creative Drinking Game
If you're on an airplane, things like turbulence, crying babies and poorly executed announcements are all reasons to drink. Technically, you can play this game solo, but we think it would (maybe?) be more fun with friends.
Update Your Résumé
This might not be the craziest 30 minutes or so you've ever spent, but it's better to get this task out of the way when you have few options for more exciting ways to spend your time, right?
Learn Something New
Plan this one in advance. If you're fascinated by a certain artist or musician, buy a book about them before you hit the road by plane, train or automobile. Or if you've been wanting to learn Spanish, now is the time to plug in your headphones and have at it while watching the scenery (or clouds) go by. Again, if you have the choice between unlimited Netflix streaming and learning something new, you're always going to choose the former. Take this option-less opportunity to make the productive choice.
Write Your Travel Memoirs
Travel can result in some of the best memories of your life—if you can actually remember them. Take advantage of downtime to record what you've experienced. Try prompts like "Write about the most amazing moment of your trip so far," "List slang words you've learned" and "Share an anecdote about your interaction with locals." You can later add them into an app like Bonjournal to create a cohesive narrative.
Fidget Spin While Contemplating The Downfall Of Society
We said "creative," not "productive."