Boredom is your number one enemy as a backpacker, or at least a close second after thieves. Chances are at some point, you will be stuck in your hostel for an extended period of time, whether it be due to the lack of funds, being sick, no work or other. If you don’t have the proper coping mechanisms and a plan to keep entertained, it will feel like an eternity that you are stuck in the hostel. Everyone’s reasons will differ for being stuck in the hostel but in general, the following should apply to all. With the right plan and being prepared however, you can survive your extended downtime in the hostel.
The best way to stay entertained and fight boredom is to socialise with your fellow backpackers, plain and simple. Some people may find this more difficult than others and if you are one of those people that are used to sitting in a corner and waiting for people to come to you, it’s time to change your ways. Most travellers you will encounter are extremely friendly and probably are in the same place as you, fighting off boredom. So get up and talking to people. The best way to break the ice is to introduce yourself, ask where they are from and what they are doing. From there, just go with the flow and before you know it, you’ll have a new friend to help keep you entertained.
If making friends isn’t your forte or you are sick of people (and at some point this will happen), it is important to have a backup plan. I own a massive movie and TV series collection and for those times that I don’t feel like dealing with people or no one is around, I usually switch to that as my entertainment method. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good movie/TV series collection on your computer or tablet to fight off boredom. I bought a Western Digital My Passport 1 TB Hard Drive that was self powered pretty cheap and compatible with my laptop and table which holds everything I need and I have a ton of room to spare. Before you leave home, I highly recommend you stock up on anything you may want to watch, love to watch or even think you may want to watch. It’s well worth it. How I Met Your Mother has kept me entertained for hours and after 3 months, I am just finishing season 7.
Starting a blog is also quite common I have noticed. Not only does it keep your mind occupied but you can record your journey as well for those who are missing out back home. There are many free sites on the internet that allow you to self publish your blog and even upload photos. I would highly recommend WordPress which also powers my website as well. I used to not be one for writing blogs and in a sense I still hate writing about myself, but I found helping my fellow backpackers gives me some incentive to write. Even if you don’t want to write about your travels, write about something. You’d be amazed at how quickly the time flies when you are writing.
Finally, explore. You are in a foreign land and it is easy to quickly forget that. Chances are there are a million free things to do no matter where you are that are extremely close to your hostel. Even if it is just for a few hours, go on a bush walk or explore the city, you don’t necessarily need to spend any money either. If you are unsure of where to visit, head down to your hostels reception as they will usually have ideas. Fortunate to have money? Do something you usually wouldn’t do back home, go bungee jumping, skydiving or learn to surf, the first two are expensive but you can get away cheap learning to surf via trial and error.
There’s always something that you can find to entertain yourself by, you just need to look in the right places. Obviously these are simple examples so use your imagination. Bounce ideas off your fellow backpackers or get a group together to go do things. This can be harder if you are in a non-party hostel but chances are, you will find people that want to go out (as for that group of Germans that stay together only speaking deutsche, infiltrate and break them apart, it’s easily done.). Fighting boredom can be accomplished, you just need a little motivation and creativity. In some cases, just do what you might do back home with your downtime.