How To Read More When You Travel–And Why You Should!

by Shelli Stein

When it comes to travel, there are all kinds of people. Some like to plan their itineraries down to the minute. Others prefer to arrive at their destination and do whatever seems like a great idea at the moment. I’m guessing, though, that most people fall somewhere in between. They definitely want to see and do those things that made them choose their destination in the first place, but leave some wiggle room for relaxing, reading time, or new discoveries. It’s good, then, to perhaps plan how to read while traveling.

As readers, there’s an added level of planning when it comes to visiting places, and for many, it comes down to “to read, or not to read?” Maybe your reply to that question is “Why do you even ask?” Or maybe you answered, “Of course I take a separate piece of luggage just for books,” Or you answered, “My e-reader is always in my bag and of course I carry two charging cords just in case”. If any of those answers even remotely seems like you when you travel, then this article and my suggestions are for you!

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How To Read While Traveling: 7 Top Tips

Schedule It

This might seem like an odd or obvious first suggestion, but I’m including it because sometimes it helps to start with the obvious. If you’re going to schedule time for food, for leisurely walking through beautiful gardens, for browsing galleries or visiting historic buildings, then why not schedule breaks for reading, too?

It isn’t a waste of your travel time to take some time to do something for yourself. Whether that’s a spa appointment at your destination, a cooking class, a wine tour, or reading time, it’s all good for you and a part of your travel experience.

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Choose Public Transportation

It can be overwhelming for some to use the public transport system at a new place, but with a bit of foresight, getting around town can earn you some reading time. Trains and buses are a great place for reading. If like me you walk a lot when you travel, that presents audiobook time. If you’re on an excursion that involves an hour or more of driving, there will be some down time, which is perfect for reading. You don’t have to be taking in the place you’re visiting every second of the day. It’s okay to retreat or withdraw for a time.

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Stop For Tea Or Coffee

Sidewalk cafes are great for people-watching. They’re also a great place for you to enjoy your beverage of choice while reading. Those little breaks in the mid-afternoon are a great time to block out the noise and just get a couple of chapters in.

The Early (book) Bird Gets The (book) Worm

Reading in the morning is a tip for getting more reading time whether at home or while traveling. If you don’t usually read in the morning, it’s worth a try. This is especially helpful for folks who are more intense with their travel and don’t like to take too many breaks during the day.

Start Reading A Book Before Your Trip

If you start a book before you set off on your trip, it will be easier to come back to when you have downtime. Rather than staring at the corner of your e-reader or paperback poking out of your bag and weighing whether you want to start a book with the 10 minutes you’re about to wait in line for a meal, you’ll already be familiar with the story and more inclined to slide right back into it.

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Choose Books/Genres That You Normally Gobble Up

Travel time isn’t usually the best time to take a challenging book. Unless part of your plan is to finally get to that book you’ve been avoiding, you might think about picking up another book in your favorite genre series. Whatever type of book engages you consistently, that’s the one I’m suggesting

Take Some Alone Time

When you travel, you are not obligated to be “having fun” and “catching the views” and “drinking in the culture” 100% of your time.

You’re also not obligated to spend 100% of your time with your travel companions. There are exceptions, but in many cases, there will be a window for you to just step away and take a time out. Don’t feel guilty! Enjoy your trip the way you want to. Find a spot in the itinerary where you can break away for a while, or bow out from an evening activity in favor of a peaceful winding-down of your evening with a good book.

Final Thoughts On How To Read While Traveling

One of my secrets to choosing what to read, especially when traveling, is Blinkist. Blinkist is a book summary service that helps you digest the key insights of books in 15 minutes or less. These summaries take the critical points from best-selling books, making them quick and easy to digest. Rather than reading a book I might not enjoy, Blinkist is the perfect tool to help me make the best reading choices!

What are your tips for how to read while traveling?

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Christian May 13, 2023 - 6:36 pm


Shelli May 13, 2023 - 7:16 pm

Thanks for “reading” and taking time to comment. I agree!

Dee May 13, 2023 - 6:45 pm

Years ago on a 2 week vacation I took over 20 books but one year we went out of the country so books too heavy each child got 5 pounds so I could get my bag checked !!

Shelli May 13, 2023 - 7:16 pm

Thanks for the laugh, Dee. I can totally relate. Being able to download library books helps my reading while out of the country, for sure. I also like bringing books when I’m outside the US and just leaving them when I’m done reading them. I wish more hotels had take one/leave one setups. I’m forever suggesting hotels create spaces for books left behind.

What to Read When Traveling: Books For Every Mood July 22, 2023 - 10:17 am

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