How to Read More While Traveling

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I’ve been thinking a lot about traveling lately. I traveled to Austin last month, and I’ve been tossing around the idea of a longer trip later this year. I love to travel and explore and of course, a vacation is always nice—who doesn’t want to get away now and then?

But one of the drawbacks of travel is that we are often so busy during our trip and often pack our schedules so full of events, dinners out, attractions, and shopping that we may fall a bit behind on our reading. If this happens to you, I have a few tips that I’ve gathered up over my years of traveling that may help you keep on top of your reading (at least somewhat) even while pursuing your wanderlust.

Always Carry Your Book/Reading Device

If you’re a bookworm, I probably don’t have to tell you this, because it’s likely you already do carry a book with you everywhere. But I’m going to go ahead and remind you to bring your book with you! When you’re on vacation or on a trip, it can be easy to say to yourself, well, I won’t need this book in my purse/backpack/carry on, because I’ll be busy all day—but when you end up waiting somewhere for an extensive period of time with nothing to do but stare at the wall, you will be kicking yourself wishing you had brought your book with you.

Read While Waiting

When you think about traveling or taking a vacation, the first things you probably think about are all the fun things you’ll be doing and the cool places you’ll be checking out. But a big part of many trips is…waiting. Sitting around and waiting.

We’re either waiting for our flight, we’re waiting to get off the flight, we’re waiting for a car ride to be over, we’re waiting to meet up with people. And then there are the times where you end up waiting even more due to unexpected circumstances—a delayed flight, a broken down car, a hotel room that’s not ready yet. The point is, you’ll be doing a lot of waiting. So instead of using your time waiting to complain about waiting, use it to read! If you followed tip one, you already have your book or reading device on you anyway, so use the time for something useful and enjoyable rather than staring into the void or Tweeting about how pissed off you are that there just had to be a major snowstorm on this day…of all days…

Take Advantage of Audiobooks

If you’re on a road trip and you’re the one driving, you can’t exactly take advantage of the “read while waiting to get there” tip…I mean you’re driving. Please, be safe, and don’t do crazy stuff on the road. I’ve legitimately seen people reading newspapers or eating soup while driving.

But there is something safe and useful and fun you can do while driving that will help you up on your reading: listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks can be a good way to keep up on your TBR or catch up on that novel for your book club while still getting to your destination safely.

Always Carry a Physical Book

Personally, I’m a diehard proponent of physical books—there’s really nothing like holding a book made of paper and ink and glue in your hands. The smell, the feel—don’t even get me started. But we live in a day and age where we are lucky enough to have reading materials literally at our fingertips pretty much all the time via e-readers, tablets, smartphones, laptops…you know the drill. We’re always plugged in.

But the problem with technology is that it can be a liiiiittle unreliable. Devices break, phones get dropped in water, tablets malfunction, chargers get left behind in hotel rooms (if I had a dollar for every time I did this one…), batteries run out, and there isn’t always a convenient charging location. So if you’re going to be doing a lot of waiting around, having a physical book on hand can be really helpful, because then if your battery on your device dies, or you lose your charger, or you accidentally pack your charger in your suitcase instead of your carry on or…well, basically if life happens (as it tends to do), you still have something to read, and you don’t have to give up reading if something happens to your electronics.

Something like this.

Read Before Bed

I know, I know, you’re like, what kind of amateur tip is this? Of course we’re going to read before bed! We’re bookworms! But even if reading before bed is a regular thing for you, it’s not uncommon for routine to get thrown to the wind when we’re traveling. You’ve been out seeing the sights or swimming at the beach or climbing mountains or whatever you’re doing on this particular trip all day, and then when you get to your hotel or your tent or your cabin, you fall into bed and just tune out to some TV or browse through social media on your phone before you pass out.

But don’t abandon your bedtime reading routine! It’s a great time to get some reading done, it may help you wind down for bed, and the familiarity of a bedtime routine could also help you fall asleep. If you’re tired after a long day of traveling and sightseeing, it can be tempting to just stare at your phone for a little while before drifting off, but do you really need to read another uninformed political rant from your Aunt Irma on Facebook?

Ehh, probably not.

Eh, probably not. Do yourself a favor and spend that time reading a book instead!

And finally…

Don’t Forget to Pack Any Necessary Reading Accessories

Reading accessories? Don’t you just need a book? Well, sometimes. I advise also bringing a bookmark, unless you’re one of those monsters who dog ears the pages, but that’s not what I mean by reading accessories.

When you’re at home, reading can be pretty simple and straightforward. You’ve got your books, your lamp, your blankets. But if you’re going to be on the road, it’s not always that easy. If you’re camping—like old school camping in a tent with no electricity—or sharing a room, be sure to pack a clip on reading light of some sort. If you’ll be listening to an audiobook in a car packed full of your family, you’ll probably want to remember to bring a pair of headphones.

Whatever you need to facilitate reading while traveling—make sure you bring it. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting nothing read and you’ll be pretty upset. I can’t tell you how crestfallen I was last time I went camping and totally forgot my clip on reading light. I was in the middle of nowhere with no light, no electricity, and a husband who falls asleep the second his head hits the pillow. So I ended up lying awake being pretty darn bored all because I forgot my required reading accessories. Be sure to plan ahead, even for reading, and pack accordingly!

So, what about everyone else? Do you have any tips for getting more reading done while traveling? What are your secrets? Or do you let routine go to the wind and not worry about bringing books when you travel? Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to talk. <3


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