The holidays are finally upon us (yay!), which means that a lot of us are about to do a lot of traveling over the next few weeks.
Whether you’re traveling by car, by plane, or by train, it’s easy to write off those hours spent moving about the country as wasted or mind-numbing boring, but they can actually be quite the opposite if you make a little effort.
Here are a few things to spend your travel time on this holiday season that will make it a little more productive and enjoyable.
1. Read a book that will teach you something.
One easy way to make your travel time a little better spent is by reading a book that will teach you something new.
No Stephen Hawking’s Theory of Everything here (unless that’s your cup of tea) because the holidays are a vacation time after all. Instead, try Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner to learn how economics affects literally everything around us.
Or try On Writing by Stephen King if writing a novel, a successful blog, or a personal essay, is among your goals.
If history is more of your thing, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen is a great look at the pieces of history we don’t always learn in school.
Whatever your interests are, I promise that there is a good book out there that will teach you something new!
2. Listen to a podcast.
If reading makes you carsick, or if traveling makes you nervous, then podcasts are another great way to learn something, stay occupied, and will help you relax.
Stuff You Should Know has hundreds of engaging episodes about all sorts of different things—from living underground in Bejing to action figures.
The Nerdist covers more generally “nerdy” topics and has great interviews with people like Drew Carey and Andy Samberg.
Stuff You Missed in History Class is from the same parent company as Stuff You Should Know, but focuses on historical events like the orphan train and the Attica Correctional Facility.
Finally, This American Life has some of the best and most well written human-interest stories out there today.
3. Develop a new skill.
Another great way to spend your travel time is by learning a new skill.
Obviously, this one can be a little limited by the fact that you’re traveling, but there are still plenty of new hobbies you can develop that will grow your brain and bring some added richness to your life.
Like knitting, filling in that new adult coloring book you picked up, or completing Sudoku’s or crossword puzzles.
Travel time gives you a great excuse to finally finish that chapter of the novel you’ve been working on, or to catch your journal up to speed.
Keep these things in mind and take the time now to prepare yourself for a much more creative, fulfilling travel season, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to the six connecting flights it will take you to get home this year.