What (and how) to read while you’re travelling

What (and how) to read while you’re travelling

We can’t all be Mary Poppins; some of us have to deal with luggage restrictions. But that doesn’t mean we should miss out on glorious holiday reading.

By Sarah Taviani | 22nd December 2015

For any bookworm, there are few things more enjoyable than unwinding on holiday with a good book. Whether you’re hitting the beach or the slopes, heading home, or enduring a 13-hour international plane ride, you need reading material. And it needs to work with your baggage limits. There are a few methods that have worked wonders for me so come closer, friend, and let me teach you my ways.

1. Location, location, location

What to read on holiday
When travelling to somewhere new, I love reading books set in my destination. Walking around Chicago while reading one of the Divergent books or The Time Traveler’s Wife and being able to see the scenes in your mind is a beautiful experience. It keeps you feeling grounded and makes faraway places not seem so alien.

If you’re travelling (almost) anywhere in the US or UK, you probably have multitudes of books to choose from. If you’re travelling interstate or only a few hours away, it’s a bit of a different story. Travelling around Australia to visit family has opened my eyes to some incredible books by Australian authors that I didn’t think twice about before.

Despite having read Looking for Alibrandi in high school, and having seen the movie multiple times, it wasn’t until a recent reread that I realised Josie was living in the same suburb as my sister. Handy Goodreads lists are only a Google away, and soon you’ll be swimming in location recommendations to help you plan your reading.

2. Tackle the TBR pile

If your To-Be-Read pile is threatening to topple over and crush you to death, then use this precious time off to try and get through as much as you can. Chances are there’s a book in there that you’ve been dying to read and kept putting off for something newer, or prettier. Pick that book up. Take it with you and show it some love.

If you’ve got room in your luggage, pick a bunch of light, thin books from your TBR pile to tag along with you. It’s way easier to whip out a small book and get through a few pages when you’re in transit or waiting in horrendously long lines of tourists. Plus, you absolutely do not want to be carrying a humungous book around with you all day. It only feels heavier the longer you hold it.

3. Buy a bestseller

You want something that’s going to make the time fly. But you don’t want something so consuming that it will rob you of your much-needed rest. Leave those just-one-more-chapter readathons for weekends at home when you don’t have a jam-packed schedule. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that a 13-hour flight is the perfect time to get stuck into War and Peace. It really, really isn’t. You need a hard-backed chair for that sucker.

When travelling to somewhere new, opt for a contemporary read. Sticking to fiction that’s set in the real world and in recent times means you won’t have to pay close attention to world-building or those tongue-twisting fantasy names. With any lucky, you’ll usually find yourself with an engaging narrator to keep you company. Look for books by the likes of Graeme Simsion, Rainbow Rowell and Jojo Moyes.

If you want something a little more fast-paced, try opting for a thriller or mystery. There’s a reason that airport bookstores and newsagents are littered with the works of Gillian Flynn, James Patterson and Jeffrey Deaver. They’re page-turners you can devour with ease while (hopefully) not having the pants scared off you.

4. Keep an ear out

Audio Book

Audio books are an incredible asset for the traveller, especially when your eyes are just too exhausted to concentrate on a page. If you sign up for the Audible service, you pay only $14.95 USD per month (currently about $20.65 AUD) for two books. If you run out of reading (or listening) material then you can buy three new credits for $30. One credit = one book, which means one book = $10. No matter which book. So I highly recommend using your credits on those expensive new releases to get the best value for money.

5. Surrender to the e-reader

IF YOU JUST HISSED AT THE SCREEN AND ARE ABOUT TO LEAVE, cool your jets, man. You can pledge to read the printed word all you want but ONE DAY luggage restrictions are going to make you want to punch a bird out of the sky in rage.

I can personally vouch for the reading experience on a Kindle Paperwhite. It will take up very little room in your bag, which means you can keep it in your bag at all times and not suffer a hideous backache. The battery life can usually last around a week (depending on usage) and popping it on to charge while you sleep is a breeze.

Plus, the E-Ink technology makes the screen look like a regular page from a book. No, seriously. It really, really does. It’s not backlit so you won’t get those awful headaches from staring at a phone, tablet or laptop for too long. You have millions of books at your disposal and you may even be able to scoop up recent releases for free during promotions.

With so many classics available for free, a Kindle is the perfect way to get through the classic section of your TBR pile without having to lug the massive tomes around the world. So if you DO decide that you’re going to tackle War and Peace then use a Kindle, and godspeed.

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Article by Sarah Taviani

Sarah is a Journalist. She loves lists, stationery and dresses with pockets. Sarah frequently breaks her self-imposed book-buying ban when she’s not looking.

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