Business Travel 101: Entertainment To Go

31 August 2016
Read Time: 3.7 mins

Words by Renae Spinks

Business travel might sound like non-stop fun and glamour to first timers, but you’ll quickly discover that when it’s not end-to-end meetings, it’s spending a good chunk of time by yourself. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained on the go – whether that’s on the plane, in your hotel or out and about. Here’s a list of some tried and true boredom-busters.


A woman reads a book while travelling on a plane.
Picture: Getty Images

It may be old-school but you’ll never be lonely if you have a book. Whether it’s great business reads for your long-haul flight, high romance or the latest travel guide, you can escape to another world while you’re, well, travelling the world. My favourite thing to do when I travel is to pick up a novel or memoir set in my next destination. Memorable reads have included Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of A Lion for Toronto, and Goethe’s Italian Journey for Italy.

Want something with pictures? Pick up a magazine at the airport, or bury your head in the in-flight mag. Despite the demise of print news media, magazines of all strains seem to be flourishing, and browsing the newsstands at the airport or checking out the local flavour in magazines when you land passes the time quite nicely.


A man writes in his journal.
Picture: Getty Images

While we’re being all old-school, pick up a quill – I mean pen – and experience the sensation of nib on paper. You might fill the time journalling your innermost thoughts or writing your next great novel. Or why not write an honest-to-goodness letter or postcard to a friend or family member? They’ll love receiving something in the mail besides bills, and might even return the favour.

Words not your forte? Pick up the colouring pencils and try your hand at the burgeoning array of adult colouring books that can be found in newsagencies and bookstores the world over. With everything from mandalas to flowers to filthy swear words to decorate, you’re bound to find something to colour your world.

In the air: In-Flight Entertainment – Who Does It Best?

Good to know: Where Are We With In-Flight WiFi?



A young businessman listens to a podcast.
Picture: Getty Images

Music soothes the soul, stirs the blood and taps the foot. Travelling affords you the time to really sit and listen to music, and not just relegate it to background noise. You know what music you like, but can I turn your attention to Teju Cole, the writer, art historian and photographer, who among other things writes beautifully about music, and whose eclectic tastes range from classical to jazz, pop, rock, rap, 1960s Nigerian bands, and much more music from around the world. You’ll hear something new, I promise.

Can’t find a tune to tickle your fancy? Turn the dial, figuratively speaking, to a podcast instead. Old favourite This American Life is often the most popular podcast in the US, presenting journalism-style shows on themed episodes, with sometimes some comedy thrown in. I was always a fan of The State We’re In (TSWI), which featured first-person stories about the world and how we treat each other. While it’s no longer airing, you can access the archives online. And if you just want a bit of a giggle, you can’t go past Hamish & Andy’s podcast.


A young woman watches movies on her laptop in bed.
Picture: Getty Images

Uninspired by the in-flight entertainment? There are probably about a million genres and a squillion actual movies and TV shows (approximate numbers) to download on to your laptop or device. If you’re having trouble making a decision, check out our pick of movies for business travellers. Hint: It ranges from classics to comedies and docos. The movie world’s your oyster.

Or download your favourite game – whether it’s Angry Birds, Brisbane-created Fruit Ninja, or the dreaded Pokemon Go, you’ll have feathers flying, juice squirting and Aerodactyls running for cover in no time. It’s a pocketful of fun.


Picture: Getty Images

Where are you headed? Make an effort to pick up some of the local lingo. Learning a language is a great way to pass the time, and you’ll at least keep your fellow travellers entertained as you try to sound out the words for “one beer, please”. There are heaps of apps available – Duolingo is highly rated – so get practising. In fact, there are plenty of apps to learn new things – why not pick a stargazing app so you can make like explorers of old; or even an app dedicated to art or bird-watching?

Or browse your way through the many TED Talks videos online devoted to spreading ideas that are worth spreading. They range in duration and cover topics from science to business to global issues in more than 100 languages. You might be only three minutes away from inspiration.



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