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Whether you are getting ready for a day trip, an overnight car trip, or a long airplane ride, it makes sense to spend some time planning ways to stay busy and keep boredom at bay while you are traveling. If you are a passenger on a trip that takes several hours, you may find yourself stuck with nothing to do except stare out the window or scroll social media for hours. Even drivers can enjoy some (safe) diversions while traveling. Use your time more productively and in a more interesting way by employing some of these strategies to stay busy and make memories while traveling:

Play Travel Games

If you are traveling with other people, road trip games like “I Spy,” 20 Questions, or the license plate game can be an entertaining and engaging way to pass the time. These games are classics that can help you get to know your family or traveling companions better while also helping you to avoid boredom and be social. For airplane rides, you can play games like Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman on paper or use mobile apps for digital versions. These quieter games are great options to help pass the time when you are traveling with a companion or alone.

Solve Puzzles

If you find puzzles entertaining, consider bringing along a puzzle book or downloading puzzle apps on your phone or tablet. Diverting puzzles such as crosswords, Sudoku, word searches, or brain teasers can keep your mind engaged and entertained. These are good activities that can help to pass the time while you are on an airplane or car ride, especially if you aren’t traveling as a group or the scenery isn’t interesting.

Listen to Audiobooks or Podcasts

One of the best ways to pass the time while traveling is by listening to audiobooks or podcasts. This is something that can be done even if you are traveling alone or if you are the driver, making it a great option for nearly all traveling situations. Plan ahead and download audiobooks or podcasts in advance so you won’t have to worry about not having service. You can easily find free or paid versions of podcasts and audiobooks online in a huge variety of genres, and most can be downloaded on your phone or other mobile devices for easy access, keeping your place in the book, and portability. This can be a great way to relax and pass the time while traveling.

Enjoy Music

Before you leave, create playlists of your favorite songs or podcasts to listen to while traveling. Music can help set the mood and make the journey more enjoyable, and having a good road-tripping playlist is one of the joys of traveling, especially if you are driving through scenic or beautiful areas such as national parks. It’s a good idea to create more than one playlist so you will have something for different moods or when you get tired of the same songs. One fun idea for car trips with a family or group is to have everyone in your vehicle add a few songs to the playlist so there will be plenty of variety and everyone will get a chance to hear their own selections.

Watch Movies or TV Shows

This is one good option that applies especially to airplane trips or car trips where you are stuck in the backseat alone. Load up your portable device such as a laptop, tablet, or phone with movies or TV shows you’ve been meaning to watch. This can be a great way to catch up on your favorite series or discover new movies during the journey. Make sure to bring earphones or earbuds so you can listen without disturbing others.

Read Books or Magazines

One time-tested enjoyable activity for travelers is reading while riding in a car or airplane. Carry a book or e-reader with you and enjoy the chance to catch up on books or magazines you have been meaning to read. Choose genres and topics that you enjoy, opt for light and easy-to-read materials, or use the opportunity to get in some deeper reading that you have a hard time fitting into your ordinary busy schedule. If you suffer from motion sickness, try audiobooks and headphones instead of reading, or take motion sickness pills before leaving.

Engage in Travel Journaling

Travel journaling is a beloved way of recording travel experiences while also passing the time. Document your journey by keeping a journal in a notebook, sketchpad, or dedicated travel journal. Use the time you spend traveling between sites and cities to write about your experiences, observations, or reflections during the trip. Not only is this a creative outlet but it is also a way to capture memories and will become a loved memento of the journey.

Play Card Games or Board Games

Bring along a deck of cards or a compact travel version of your favorite board game. Games like magnetic chess, playing cards, or other travel versions can be enjoyed with fellow travelers and can also be a way to pass the time in the airport, during downtime in hotel rooms, and if you need a break from touring and activities for a few hours. Small portable games can often fit in backpacks or pockets without adding too much extra weight and are handy to have along in a variety of travel situations, from rainy days on camping trips to long lines at amusement parks.

Engage in Creative Activities

If you enjoy artistic or creative endeavors, consider bringing materials with you on your drive in case inspiration strikes. Materials such as a sketchbook and pencils, coloring books, a small set of markers, or even portable painting sets are lightweight and easy to bring on car or plane trips. Not only will you be able to pass the time and get creative, but the finished product can often serve as a memento of your travels, especially if you doodle or sketch travel-inspired pictures of locations you have been or things you have done.

Strike Up Conversations

Don’t forget to be social when you are traveling. If you’re traveling with friends, family, or even fellow passengers you don’t know, strike up conversations to pass the time. You can engage in discussions, share stories, or play conversation games like “Would You Rather?” This is not only a good way to pass the time, but it’s also an excellent way to make new friends or deepen your relationships and learn more about people you already know.


There are many different ways to enjoy the time while you are traveling on car or airplane trips. The hours you spend traveling can be an enjoyable extension of your journey if you plan ahead, pack a few extra items, and make a bit of an effort. These traveling diversions can not only help you to pass the time, but they can also provide education, deepen relationships, and create lasting memories.