Travelling is great for so many reasons. It gives us the ability to discover more about the world, explore other cultures, and even learn about ourselves. Trying new dishes, getting out into nature, and speaking a foreign language can all help us get a new perspective on life.
When you’re out on the road for a long time, embarking on a long-haul flight, or relaxing in your hotel, you want some other forms of entertainment.
In years gone by, that meant paying for an extensive in-flight or hotel movie, carrying a heavy book with you, or buying a “travel” game with smaller playing pieces and a carry case.
Today though, you don’t have to endure these inconveniences. Just pull out your smartphone or tablet and you have all the entertainment you need. Here are some of the best ways to use your phone for entertainment while travelling.
Reading is one of the most popular pastimes among travellers. Head to a beach, park or pool and you’ll almost certainly find someone relaxing in the sun while reading a book. You’ll also be sure to find people on trains and planes reading too.
Books can be bulky and heavy though, so if you’re travelling light you won’t want to be weighed down by your latest piece of fiction.
Since you already have your smartphone and/or tablet with you, why not use it as an e-reader instead. Both Android and iOS have default apps for reading books, while plenty of third party options, including Amazon’s Kindle app, are also available.
You’ll find many ebooks are available for free, including classics that are out of copyright like War and Peace, Dracula, and The Great Gatsby. You can often find newer ones for free for limited periods as part of promotions.
Playing games while travelling is a common activity that predates the use of smartphones. In years gone by you’d regularly see people playing cards or a travel version of popular board games.
Smartphones make this easier and more convenient. Just like with books, you don’t need to carry extra things with you.
Mobile gaming also opens up many new options, with a much wider variety of titles to choose from and the ability to play online with others.
For example, driving games like Need for Speed: No Limits and first-person shooters like Call of Duty: Mobile are available on both iOS and Android and offer a console-like experience on the go.
If you’re in a foreign country, you’ll often find only a handful of English-speaking TV channels will be available in your room. Of them, almost all of them will be news channels like the BBC World Service and Bloomberg.
Some hotels offer on-demand movies, but these are usually charged extra.
Thankfully, travellers now have another option thanks to their mobile devices. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video can be accessed from mobile devices either using your mobile data or the hotel’s WiFi. Some services even let you download movies and TV shows to your device to watch offline.
Through these services, you’ll have access to the latest and greatest films and boxsets, including their own originals like Money Heist and The Grand Tour.
Many people enjoy listening to music to help them relax. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can do this through your smartphone.
The first is to purchase and download music from iTunes or the Google Play Store. Individual songs usually cost around $0.99, but the price varies from region to region. Once they’re downloaded, you can play them as much as you like, including while you’re not connected to the internet.
The second option is to use a streaming service like Spotify or Pandora. These companies work in a similar way to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, giving you a library of tracks that you can stream over the internet.
They offer free subscriptions but if you pay for a premium version, you’ll be able to download tracks to listen to offline as well.