Travelling can be a transformative experience – the opportunity to discover new cultures and cuisine, bask in the awe of the world’s natural wonders, and forge lifelong friendships make it an experience that people never tire of once they’ve had a taste of it.
Yet travellers, seasoned or otherwise, know that it’s not all sunshine and roses. Travelling can be hard work, both physically and mentally. From hours spent camping out in airport lounges, to being shaken to pieces on a long-haul backcountry bus journey, the act of getting from A to B can be pretty exhausting. What’s more, not every stopover is going to be one for the ‘gram. A lot of halfway houses, hostels and remote locations have little to offer in the way of scenery or entertainment.
At such times, it can be handy to have some options to pass the time with you. While many swear by carrying a book around with them, these can often be heavy, bulky – and once you’ve read them, they can become dead weight in your backpack that could be better used on the essentials.
Fortunately, our consumer tech can give us many more options, and since you’re likely to be bringing at least a smartphone with you on your travels, it can serve as your all-purpose entertainment centre without adding any extra weight to your luggage.
As stated above, reading is great – but physical books can be tricky to bring with you. Fortunately, there are a number of exciting options for bookworms available through consumer tech. Ebooks are now very commonplace, and highly affordable.
An ebook reader, like the Amazon Kindle, gives you the option to carry hundreds of books with you, wherever you go, meaning you don’t have to compromise on the range of reading material you have at your disposal. You don’t even need a Kindle to make the most of Amazon’s ebook library, as you can download and access your library right from your phone using the Kindle app.
Another great alternative, and one that is particularly well suited to travelling, is listening to audiobooks. Audiobook platforms like Audible let you listen to any book of your choosing. This can be a great choice if where you are is too poorly lit, or loud, to read comfortably. Many people prefer audiobooks as it requires less of an investment in concentration while still letting you enjoy a gripping story or interesting nonfiction work.
Sometimes you want to take a more active role than reading or watching something can offer. In such cases, playing games can be a great alternative. Both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store have hundreds of thousands of games to explore and play, and you can often find something to tickle your fancy in the Editor’s recommended titles.
Of course, you don’t have to play alone either – there are many options for multiplayer games you can access through your tech that give you the opportunity to connect with friends back home or elsewhere in the world. PokerStars, for example, offers its own client that can be used on PCs, Macs and mobile platforms. It provides the ability to dive into a game with random players, or your besties – so if you fancy a game of Texas Hold ‘em, you can do so without even having to pack a deck.
Sometimes nothing beats a Netflix binge session – and this remains true whether you’re sat on your sofa at home, or thousands of miles away. For those wanting to keep up on their favourite shows when they’re on the move, it’s recommended to make use of a VPN.
Short for Virtual Private Network, this is a piece of software that can be used with both smartphones and PCs to bounce your IP address through an intermediary location of your choosing. In layman’s terms, this means it can let you watch UK content from anywhere in the world by tricking the likes of Netflix into thinking you’re tuning in from home.