Trains offer a relatively comfortable, cheap and environmentally friendly way of transport all around the world. Still, long train journeys can get tedious. Here are a few ways to fight the dullness.

Something about train traveling fascinates me. Maybe it’s the idea how you lock yourself out of the outside world for multiple hours. You sit, loll and walk around in this weird chain of wheeled rooms. Without a Wi-Fi, the only means of wasting time are those that you’ve packed with you. And although you cannot go outside, you still get great, slowly changing views from the windows.

Bread, bananas and other snacks spread on a train table in a sleeper car.

Preparing a meal with Petri and Aleksi who traveled with me from Ukraine to Moldova and Romania.

Pepperoni or mettwurst sausage and cheese spread on white bread.

If you eat meat, sausages are the perfect food for train journeys: they contain lots of energy and because of the salt, they don’t spoil too quickly in room temperatures.

Of course, train traveling won’t be enjoyable if you don’t make them so. Here are a few general tips for preparing: First of all, pack plenty of food. Take a book to read (or preferably, Amazon Kindle). Charge your mobile phone beforehand, so you won’t need to worry about the battery draining out before arrival. Download some good music or podcasts to your mobile device.

Reading Amazon Kindle Paperwhite when traveling on a sleeper car of a train. A good way to waste time during long train journeys.

Amazon Kindle e-reader, the one thing I wouldn’t want to travel without. I recommend that you don’t put just deeply philosophical classics on your reader. When you want time to go faster, light reads come in handy.

Once you’ve boarded the train, it’s useful to have many activities to make the ride more enjoyable. For me, variety is the key. I have plenty of things to do and when I get bored of one thing, I switch to another.

I make time run faster by having plenty of different activities that I do during the trip.If I have a table with comfortable writing position available, I may do some writing or photo editing for the blog. I read a book and once I get bored of it, I may just close my eyes let my thoughts wander in a half-awake state of consciousness. Sometimes I do some Mindfulness meditation exercises.

A tourist sleeping on the lower berth of a sleeper car of a train in Eastern Euroe.

How to waste time during long train journeys? Those who get sleep easily don’t need to worry too much about it.

Switching the track gauge width on the border of Ukraine and Moldova.

To make your trip a lot less stressful, schedule your arrival so that delays won’t ruin all your plans. Delays are very common, so it’s better to learn to live with them.

And then there are the minor but time-consuming tasks that I can do with a slow pace: I polish my shoes, go through my backpack and look for stuff to throw away. And while I’m searching through my backpack, I might as well do some reorganizing.

A night shot from the window of a train in Eastern Europe.

If you want to sleep during the trip, pack earplugs. You never know how loud the other passengers can be.

Of course, you don’t need to spend time just by yourself. You can chat with other passengers. Even a language barrier won’t stop chitchatting about very basic topics (“Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” “Are you studying, working or doing something else?”). It’s very likely that someone will pull out their tablet or smartphone and show you pictures of their family and vacations. And that someone might as well be you, if you want to do it.

If you’re traveling with friends, you’ll have even more ways to make the ride more fun. If you pack a board game or playing cards with you, hours will just disappear!

Romanian countryside from the window of a train.

And remember to enjoy the scenery!