Break up your Train Journey into 5 and 15-minute Chunks to Beat Boredom

Any journey has the possibility of becoming boring. There’s something about feeling trapped and unable to leave the train (if you do want to reach your destination) that can actually make a relatively short journey, let’s say from London to Leeds, feel much longer than the couple of hours it actually takes. You may even be planning to get on board the Eurostar to Paris. We envy you, but how to spend your two hours twenty minutes on it may turn out to be a bit of a challenge.

But don’t fall into the trap of only relying on the scenery to keep you entertained. Don’t rely on the person sitting next to you being interested in chitchat either – they sometimes will be, but not always. Instead, try some of our suggestions below to ensure that the journey time disappears by in handy bite-sized chunks of different activities.

Five-Minute Activities

Thanks to the fact that so many operators now offer passengers access to the internet (free or paid); there’s really no excuse to claim boredom on a journey. The Eurostar, for example, offers paid wifi on the train and free wifi at the stations. If you like your entertainment in short bursts of five minutes, try one of these quick online boredom busters.

Play a round or two of online bingo, an ideal game to play on the move as you don’t need to concentrate to play at all. Winning or losing is down to luck – or, to be precise, the random number generator that controls the game and whether the balls drawn will match the numbers on your cards. On the more popular sites, such as Sun Bingo, online bingo games are always about to start as the schedule runs around the clock. As well as many types of bingo games, there are other games to play like those offered in the chat rooms and slot games too.

Alternatively, play a puzzle game like 1010. Loosely based on Tetris, you have to position shapes in a 10×10 grid. Each time you form a complete line, the line will disappear, leaving you more space to fill with new lines. It’s the sort of puzzler that exercises your grey matter, as it’ll take some practice to avoid being in a ‘game over’ situation before you’ve spent more than a couple of minutes on it.

Sometimes it’s impossible to keep up with everyone you know on a regular basis, and it’s easy for work or day to day life to push keeping in touch further down your to-do list. Make use of your journey and take five minutes to compose an email to a friend you haven’t communicated with for a while. Tell them all your latest news, find out how they are and make a suggestion for when you might be able to meet up.

What Can You Get Done in 15 minutes?

How often do you get to reassess where you are with different goals in life in an environment where you’re unlikely to be distracted? If you’re by yourself on the train or even the plane, use the time to go through your long-term goals. We’re not talking about your to-do list for the week ahead, we’re thinking more about plans for the coming year, or the next five years. Use this time to see where you are with them. Just going through each one and noting down any changes on a notepad app will help you run a quick life-balance check – something you might not always have time for at your desk or when you get home at the end of a busy day at work.

If you’ve picked up a newspaper in the departure lounge you might flick through the headlines, but if you want to divert yourself fully for 15 minutes, try your hand at completing the crossword. The daily quick one should only take 10-15 minutes, but if you’re feeling up to a challenge, attempt the cryptic one too, which might take a lot more time. Not only will this be a way of passing the time, but it’ll give your brain a workout and might dredge up some long-forgotten vocabulary too.

How good is your French? Can you just about get by, or will you be hoping that the people you encounter on your stay in France can speak English? The journey offers the perfect opportunity to refresh your French skills. There are lots of language apps like Memrise available to download so that you can revise a few handy phrases. One teaching method that Memrise makes a lot of use of is to include words in sentences that have similar-sounding words in your native language to help reinforce the connection as you learn. As many of the resources are available offline, it means that even if the wifi is a bit iffy, you can still get some learning done. Alternatively, check your knowledge on French verb endings or word order playing some of the games on Quizlet, an online learning community that’s packed with different study sets, quizzes and games. See how much progress you can make during the journey.

Activities That Might Take Five Minutes or the Whole Flight

There’s nothing like the proximity of a seat to spark off a conversation. Sure, it’s easy enough to ignore your next-seat neighbour, but where’s the fun in that? You never know what kind of interesting person you might be sitting next to. Have a guess on what you think their life story is and see if you’re anywhere near the truth once you’ve got chatting to them.

If at any stage you want to bring the conversation to a close you can feign tiredness and say you need to have a nap before you reach your destination. Tip: if you do have things you need to get done, such as work emails, it’s best to do these before engaging your seat buddy in conversation.

A classic way to spend a plane journey is to read a ripping yarn of a novel. Of course, the more tech-savvy of you might have a stack of books downloaded onto your phone or tablet already, but there’s something nice about spending some time away from the screen and picking up a real book instead. You might only read a few pages, or you might read the whole book. It depends on how gripping the tale you’ve chosen turns out to be.

You may dread the prospect of not really having anywhere to go for two and a half hours, but as long as you have a few different ideas of how to fill the time, it can also be a great opportunity to relax and unwind, especially if you’re going on holidays. That way, you’ll be all set to have a great time once you reach your destination – be it Paris or Leeds!