How To Entertain Yourself On A Long Bus Journey

How To Entertain Yourself

Photo courtesy of Neil Kremer.

If you’re anything like me, long bus journeys (or plane, train and subway rides) can make you really antsy. I hate wasting time and sitting still. Luckily, there are a number of entertaining and productive ways to spend your time on long bus journeys. Some of my favorite include:


As you pass the beautiful, interesting or simply foreign scenery, get inspired. Stare out your window and lose yourself in thought, letting yourself really be affected by what you’re seeing. Take your time, really letting the picture sink in. Then from there, write. Write in your journal about your experience, create a poem or song about the destination, construct a blog post, jot down your feelings about what you’re seeing, create a fictional story based on a scene outside your window, make the locals on the bus into characters in a play and just use your creativity to have fun. For a list of interesting writing prompts, click here.

Play Offline Phone Games

The probability is you won’t have Wi-Fi on your bus journey, or at least reliable Wi-Fi. If that is the case, you can still entertain yourself with a number of games that work offline. My personal favorites are Word Mole, a timed crossword-puzzle type game where you try to create words out of adjoining letters, and Fruit Ninja, where players use their finger to slice flying fruit ninja-style without letting pieces fall or touching a surprise bomb. Some other fun offline phone games include Ben Stein: It’s Trivial, Zen Pinball, Subway Surfers, Downhill Xtreme Pro and Cocoto Kart HD.

Do Work

I’m the type of person who hates wasting time. Living in New York City I’m constantly taking buses, subways and trains to get around, which means a lot of potentially wasted time. Before setting out for the station, I equip my laptop or iPhone with drafts, outlines and ideas for articles that I can work on in transit. Sometimes I’ll also download my emails so I can reply to them or at least draft them while I’m getting from place to place. See if there is any work you can get done on the bus to save you the trouble later.

How To Entertain Yourself

Photo courtesy of kpwerker.

Do A Craft

Along with writing, another way to strengthen your creativity on a long bus journey is to immerse yourself in crafting. While a bus seat isn’t the ideal place to layout palettes of paint, piles of construction paper and bundles of tools, there are some projects that require little space. A few ideas: Knit some socks, crochet an image from your trip, make your own puzzle, color, create figures from clay or edit photos.

Listen To Music

A great playlist can be a lifesaver when on a long bus journey. With my headphones on, I’m transported to a different world every three minutes, depending on the song I’m listening to. I was a dancer in high school and college, so I’ll often make up choreography and music videos in my mind to entertain myself. Otherwise, I’ll just let my thoughts wander and enjoy the sounds coming from my iPod. Before going on a long bus journey, it’s a good idea to download some new songs so you’ll have something to look forward to.

Plan Your Trip

Long bus journeys are great for giving you downtime to plan your trip. If you don’t have your itinerary planned out yet, grab a guidebook or print some blog articles, pack a highlighter and pen, and find some interesting things to do in your upcoming cities. Even if you’re the type of person who likes to travel without making plans it’s still interesting to see what experiences are available.


While the people around you may think it’s odd if you start telling yourself jokes, downloading a joke app — for example, 18,000 Cool Jokes and 20,000 Awesome Jokes — allows you to silently read thousands of hysterical jokes and entertain yourself for long periods of time. If anyone looks at you funny when you start to laugh, you can tell them a joke for a great ice breaker.

How To Entertain Yourself

Photo courtesy of Daniela Vladimirova.

Change Your Life

Long bus journeys mean you’ll have much time to think and reflect on the person you are and the life you’re living. Even wonderful people have room for improvement. Think about something you want to change in your life — your job, your relationship status, the way people perceive you, your health — and make a step-by-step plan on how you will reach your goal. Not only will this kill time, it also makes the plan more real so that you actually do it, as opposed to just thinking about it for a few moments and forgetting.

Enjoy A Complimentary Language Exchange

Of course, this will depend where you’re taking the bus; however, if you’re in a foreign country where they speak a language other than your own you could use the time to essentially have a complimentary language exchange. I did this often when traveling through South America, as I had a basic understanding of Spanish but wanted to improve my skills. I would simply start a conversation with the person next to me, telling them Spanish wasn’t my first language so they didn’t speak too quickly, or I would ask someone if they wouldn’t mind practicing with me. The truth is, most people are happy to help, especially curious locals who want to know more about you and where you come from. If you speak a language the local may be interested in learning you can also teach them a few things in return.


Make sure it’s a good book as you’ll have a lot of time to kill. If you don’t enjoy reading full books — which you can enjoy on old fashioned paper or by downloading a title on the Kindle app to save luggage space — iPhone users can save internet articles while online to their Reading List to read when offline. Moreover, the Pocket app allows you to save articles, videos and photos for both online and office reading later on.


Traveling is exhausting. No matter what you do, the constant rushing around and exploring always leaves you feeling like you didn’t get enough shut eye. Luckily, a long bus journey provides the perfect opportunity for catching up on those Zzz’s.

How To Entertain Yourself

Photo courtesy of Camera Eye Photography.

Invent Something

Another way to stretch those creativity muscles is inventing something. It may sound childish, but using the time to invent something — whether it be a cocktail, a recipe, a household appliance, an app or something else — can be entertaining and good for the mind. Think back to when you were a child and how much fun how had using your imagination. This is something we tend to lose as we get older, which is a pity because it’s from where great ideas are born. Who knows, you may stumble upon an invention that could turn into a successful business.

Write Letters To Family And Friends

In our advanced modern society correspondence between friends and family is usually done through e-mail, phone or social media. That being said, it’s hard to deny how special it is to receive a handwritten letter or postcard, especially since it’s no longer the norm. Show your loved ones they’re important to you by sending them a handwritten message about your trip.

Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are not only addictive and fun, they’re also great brain food. Studies have shown doing crossword puzzles can improve mental functioning and memory. Other benefits of doing crossword puzzles include teaching you new words, instilling patience in you, helping you to hone your problem solving skills and allowing you some down time and an escape from reality.


Not with real paint (that would be too messy!); however, the Adobe Ideas app allows you to “paint” masterpieces on your smartphone. The app has many of the same editing effects as Photoshop, and you’ll be able to save your work to continue later on.

Share your tips on how to entertain yourself on long journeys in the comments below!

Also Check Out:

Why Traveling The World Is Important To Me [Blog Inspiration]

Adult on Board: Travel Games for Grown-Ups by Jeffrey J. Wuorio [Fun Distractions]

Global Gal Travel Wallet [Travel Style]


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