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Holidays, visits to friends and family and even work are invariably broken down into a series of long, seemingly endless journeys. Whether you’re travelling by car, bus, train or boat, you’re bound to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to while away the hours in cramped conditions with a bunch of screaming kids.

When the scenery consists of concrete walls, embankments and empty fields, it’s worth knowing a few tips to make the journey more bearable.

Send Yourself to Sleep

If the rocking motion of the bus and uninspiring scenery doesn’t instantly send you into a slumber you’ll need to help things along. Pick a window seat so you can get comfy without falling into the lap of your fellow passenger and block out lights and sounds with an eye-mask and earplugs. If you can’t lug around a travel pillow take a jumper or jacket to use as a pillow, which will also come in useful when the air conditioning is put on full blast. Finally, eat a light meal before travelling or take some snacks with you, anything too heavy will make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable.

Meet New Travel Buddies

This may backfire. Your fellow passenger might launch into the dullest of conversations and have the superhuman ability to not breathe between sentences. However, after an hour of listening to a lecture on the perils of potholes you’re bound to fall asleep so it might just work out well. If you do manage to strike up a conversation with an interesting passenger, especially when travelling in a different country, you’ll while away the time without even realising, swap travelling tips and maybe even make a new friend.

Make or Take Your Own Entertainment

It’s never a good idea to rely on the on-board entertainment system unless you fancy watching endless re-runs of old sitcoms or an obscure film. Store all your books, music, films and games on an iPad and avoid lugging around an entire library of entertainment. If the bus suddenly lurches flinging you into the opposite seat or a fellow passenger sleep-punches the screen you can always get your iPad screen replaced in no time at all.

When you can’t read or look at a screen whilst travelling without feeling sick, you can always listen to an audiobook or coerce your new friends into an exciting game of word association.

Tackle those Chores

Why not use the time do be productive and tackle those things on your to-do list? Go through the photos on your camera and delete the ones you don’t want or re-organise your computer desktop and put everything into relevant files. If you’re on holiday, take this time to look through guidebooks and plan your schedule for the next few days. You can even finish those promised postcards if you’re able to write with a steady hand.

Invent the New Wheel

If you just can’t sleep, are bereft of any external entertainments and your fellow passengers are not interested in cultivating a new friendship or playing eye spy, you’ll have to use your own brain to entertain yourself.

Let the gentle rocking motion of the bus lull you into a deep thoughtful state where you can sort out life’s problems, make important decisions and maybe even come up with a new invention. You never know, you could be the next best-selling author or Nobel Prize winner. Use that trip on the number 42 bus to turn your life around.