Entertain Yourself on the Road

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Find the IPA!

Traveling is fun.  You get to see new places, maybe meet new people, enjoy a different setting, go hiking in nature or walking  a new city, see amazing vistas, and otherwise have a variety of wonderful experiences. Nonetheless, sometimes there is idle time, or you get into a rut, or you’re in the car for 6 hours at a stretch trying to cross the United States.

Once you’ve been to a few hundred breweries or wineries, coming up with some way to keep things fun and new helps make sure you get the most out of your experience.  Here are some ideas of fun things we’ve done on the road which you may enjoy as well.

  1. Work Date.  Both of us enjoy Doing Things, including writing and researching and studying.  We will often arrange Work Dates, where we dedicate a time at a pub with our laptops to do some work.  This may or may not be work associated with our paying jobs. We’ll often do this once a week, particularly if we’re somewhere for a few weeks, such as when I am doing a locum in a cool town.
  2. Spot the IPA.  This one we made up and is kind of tongue-in-cheek.  We noticed that our brewery tasting flights routinely had 1-2 (more like 3-4 these days) tasters which still had beer in them at the end of our tasting.  Not surprisingly, these were often IPAs. It was fun to take a picture of the flight and say “spot the IPA”.
  3. Read.  One of our favorite trips in recent years was going to Donegal, the northwestern portion of Ireland.  We settled in to Kee’s Hotel in Stranorlar for a week or so. Each day, we went on a driving adventure around Donegal, then got back to Kee’s in the afternoon and settled in to the pub with a book.  It was an extremely pleasant way to spend our time.
  4. Audiobooks. This is best for those long driving days. We typically choose one or two audiobooks at the start of the trip, trying to match the length of the book[s] to the amount of time we think we’ll spend in the car. It’s a great way to keep your mind occupied as you watch the scenery go by.
  5. Watch a Show.  “You’re actually going to travel across the world and then watch TV?!?”  Look, I’m not suggesting you hole up in your hostel for days on end watching the tube, but eventually it will get dark outside and you have to figure out how to spend your time.  We don’t spend a lot of time doing this, but we’ll often take a DVD series with us on the road and watch an episode now and then. It creates another nice memory and connection with the trip for us.
  6. Actual Games.  Many people enjoy card games and board games and bring them on the road to enjoy during down times.  We personally enjoy Exploding Kittens, Dixit, and Betrayal at House on the Hill. Other good ones we like are Sushi Go, Love Letter, and Cards Against Humanity.  Throw out your deck of cards and Monopoly sets- there are so many better options in this day and age.
  7. Brewery Bingo.  We’ll have to do a separate post about this, but we have a bingo card for breweries which you can fill up as you explore a particularly brewery-dense town.  You can make up your own version!

These are some ways we’ve come up with to entertain ourselves during our travels.  What ways do you use to keep yourself entertained?

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