The number one question I’ve been asked since I got home from my TopDeck tour of Turkey has been “wasn’t the travelling boring?”. Well I’m not going to lie and say that a coach is my road trip vehicle of choice, but coach travel is an incredibly popular option for many and is becoming even more mainstream, and so it cannot be overlooked.
On the week-long tour I took there were a couple days where we spent a lot of time on the bus. The day we travelled from Konya to Fethiye, for example, we were on the bus for eight hours. EIGHT hours. An entire working day. Generally speaking, the other days we had an hour then a touristy stop, then 15 minutes and another sightseeing stop. On the long days there were great stops to keep us interested (and fed!) – for example on the day I mentioned with the eight hours on the road, there was a one hour stop by the most beautiful lake I’ve seen for a while, and a three hour stop for us to enjoy some Gorge walking. But for some even an hour on a bus can be boring, and can lead to becoming very tired and a bit fed up.
The fact is the TopDeck coach was a really fantastic way to see Turkey and I can definitely see why people book coach tours. They aren’t just for older or retired people either, companies like TopDeck make coach travel fun and perfect for young people wanting to see the world. They are hassle free, enable you to see a whole load of places without doing any driving, include all your accommodation so there’s no need to worry about where you’ll sleep, and probably most importantly come with a guide who can bring the scenery and places you visit to life through their knowledge of the area.
From Europe to Asia, the view as we crossed the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.
But more of my opinion of TopDeck and this particular tour another time. For now, I thought I’d share my tips for passing the time on a bus (or plane, or train, or car – anywhere you are a passenger really)… feel free to add yours in the comments section.
Chat to fellow passengers, ask loads of questions about their travelling and be prepared to be jealous. There were loads of very seasoned travellers on my tour who made me wish I’d taken a gap year to travel, or at least started with the whole travelling thing a lot earlier in life. I am making up for it now though! It was really interesting to hear what other people did for a living, what their life plans were, something about their home and family – all inspiring stuff.
Introducing our room mates, a silly game really but a great way to get to know each other and start lots of conversations.
Study the guide book. I always find that in order to make the most of my travels I need to have an idea of the main features of the places I’m visiting, so always have a guide book or a few blogs to read and learn from. Don’t forget your Tour Guide too; we chatted for hours with Alex about towns, tourist attractions, food, culture and politics – definitely the best way to learn about where we were.
Eat snacks. I brought snacks with me and also stocked up on biscuits, fruit and sweets from markets when we stopped. A pack of biscuits cost me around one lira (20-25p!!) so snacking was very easy. I also discovered Watermelon Haribo, how good are they?! Our guide Alex also bought us some traditional Turkish sweet treats to try out.
25p for a packet of biscuits. Ok!
Listen to your favourite music. I haven’t listened to whole albums for ages but my playlists broke with the introduction of Apple Music (ugh) so I reverted to albums. And it was awesome. I put my headphones in, relaxed and looked out of the window with Bon Jovi, Queen, Muse, Ash and Diana Krall (to name just a few) in my ears. I could add watch movies or play games here too; although I didn’t end up doing either I was prepared with a number of films and games on my iPad just in case.
Read. Most people had books on the go. I finally finished Chris Hadfield’s book (started at new year, very poor show really), and it was really nice having time just to sit and read without any kind of interruption. I know I should read more but I very rarely sit and do it.
Write! I wrote a kind of journal to help me tell my family about my trip and also make my Turkey inspired blog posts a lot easier to put together when I got home. It’s so easy to forget what you’ve seen, heard and learnt (and I learnt so much), so write it down. Pen and paper or electronic it doesn’t matter, just keep making notes and you’ll be very thankful.
Writing my journal.
Edit video or photos. iPads and laptops are great productive devices you can make use of on the move. There were a number of us looking through our images, backing them up and getting them ready to share the second we found wifi. I even managed to edit one video using iMovie while on the coach, which I then had ready for Splodz Blogz TV as soon as I got home.
Sleep. Nap. Shut your eyes. Travel is tiring so keep a scarf or pillow or hoodie in your day pack (or just leave one on your seat so it’s always there), and make the most of the time trundling along the roads in between stops. Especially when you have an early start.
Awesome view from the coach, somewhere near Konya in Turkey.
Look out of the window. Don’t forget that the most beautiful things you will see while travelling might be right outside the window, so make sure you look once in a while.
Going on a long journey as a passenger? Share your boredom busting travel tips in the comments below.
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Thank you SO MUCH to TopDeck for inviting me to join them on the tour. TopDeck covered my flights and the tour itself in return for coverage here on Splodz Blogz, and I covered all other expenses (including food, entrance fees and excursions) myself. I definitely recommend this kind of travel to anyone who wants to explore somewhere new without any hassle. Take a look at the TopDeck website for the full range of tours available.