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Reading and Travelling

May 28, 2013

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Having gotten back from a trip fairly recently, I’m curious: how much do people read when they travel? I’m a voracious reader at home, but when I travel I tend not to read that much. I’d far rather be chatting with friends and family or out exploring a new country, and while I always load up my ereader with ebooks, I usually find I only get to one or two. I can’t read while on a bus, or even an airplane if there’s much turbulence, so instead I listen to an audiobook. The exception is airports: I’m always quite content to spend as long as I need to on a layover or waiting for a flight. I settle into a likely chair, usually with a drink, and alternate reading and people watching and daydreaming to my heart’s content.

I realise, though, that my life is not like most people’s. When I travel, I’m not also on a vacation from work, so I have the same amount of free time I always do. I imagine other readers, who have snatch an hour or two of reading time during the workweek, might take advantage of a trip to read far more than usual.

So which camp do you fall into? Or if you work but don’t travel, do you use your vacation days as bookish retreats?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2013 10:07 am

    I read during the down time — waiting for a plane, waiting for a cab. When I’m in a new location though, I often find it hard to settle down with a book and opt to explore and take advantage of whatever the area offers.

  2. dastevensish permalink
    May 28, 2013 10:08 am

    Well, I always pack a lot of books when we’re going on a trip…but actually reading them, not so much. I always daydream that trips will finally give me big stretches of uninterrupted reading time, but of course, they never do. Like you said, there’s chatting with friends and family to be done, there’s new sights to see, the kids are still there inevitably needing something. So yeah, I dream of vacations being wonderful times for reading, but they never really are. :P

  3. May 28, 2013 10:35 am

    It depends on the type of travel. When I went to NYC a couple years ago, my “alone time” was spent doing touristy things, and my “down time” was spent visiting with friends. But when I take a weekend out of town to visit friends and family, my “alone time” and “down time” are one and the same, so I always bring a book (and end up bored and at a loss if I forget).

  4. May 28, 2013 11:16 am

    Depends on the vacation. I love reading on trains. Even though I get really ill reading in the car, trains don’t bother me for reading. Planes, too.

    I often travel alone, and I think that’s part of it. Having a book with me is a must. But I don’t read as much as I typically do at home, either.

  5. May 28, 2013 11:31 am

    It really depends on where I’m travelling. When I’m in a city, there is so much to do and see at all hours that I don’t have much time to read. On the other hand, if I’m in the country, where the focus is on daytime, outdoor activities, I find myself with lots of time to read in the evenings or on rainy days. Mostly though, I get my vacation reading in on plane rides and train trips.

  6. May 28, 2013 11:51 am

    I usually take a book and my ereader when I go on trips, but I rarely read. If I do, it’s at night before I go to sleep. I usually don’t read in public (even locally) because I can never concentrate…I keep people watching. lol

  7. zentangleation permalink
    May 28, 2013 4:59 pm

    I get to read loads on holiday, over the last couple of years I have gone to the same place – a very small village in the South of France to stay at a family friends house. As the village is very small, and there is not a huge amount to do, I live with or see a lot of the people I am staying with and I’m either there for a long strech of time or it is my fourth visit that year I have loads of reading time. This makes my holiday sound boring, but it is a beautiful location and the weather is amazing in the summer months, plus any break from teaching full time and studying for a Masters Degree at the same time just requires relaxation.

  8. May 28, 2013 5:14 pm

    The only traveling I seem to do these days is the long slog back and forth from school so not exactly vacation reading. But I do managed to finish one or two books on those long flights. I get claustrophobic on planes so losing myself in a good book is always a must.

  9. May 28, 2013 6:43 pm

    Your timing is impeccable. I’m on just such a bookish retreat/vacation day today. I’m almost finished with a book, so good day, all in all. The book is The White Lioness, the third Kurt Wallander, by Henning Mankell.

  10. May 28, 2013 8:30 pm

    I read a variable amount on various vacations. It’s very difficult to predict how much I’m going to read on any given vacation, so I always bring a ton of books. Or these days, I pack a ton of books into my ereader. A perfect vacation to me does involve a lot of lying around and reading. Even when I went to London, one of my favorite places in the world, I spent every morning in the coffee shop reading and every afternoon sightseeing.

    • May 29, 2013 11:14 am

      I always put a ton of books on my ereader too! :) You know, I think I’m going to adopt the half the day in cafe approach (I’ve been thinking of it already), just because w my illnesses, if I spend the whole day sightseeing I end up in SO much pain. My first Nook was too heavy to carry w me if I also had my camera, but now that I’ve got the new lightweight model, it’s do-able! Although knowing me, I’ll spend as much time people watching as reading. ;)

  11. May 28, 2013 9:15 pm

    Most vacations I hardly do any reading; I’m too busy catching up with people or swimming or something. But I loved the vacations where I read a lot and now that I think about it that might be a way of defining an especially rare and precious kind of trip. I read Crime and Punishment, David Copperfield, The Voyage of the Beagle, and I don’t know what else on one long, sort of aimless trip in South America. And for some reason I used to read a lot when I was at summer camp as a kid. Good times!

  12. May 29, 2013 2:46 am

    I’m lucky that I have 18 hrs of travel which equals plenty of reading time!

  13. Vanessa permalink
    May 29, 2013 4:22 am

    My husband and I enjoyed a “staycation” this past weekend and, while we had grand plans to read the days away, we only got a snippet of time in which we devoted to reading. We both frequently buy books with dreams of large batches of time in which to read and that rarely happens. I need to learn to take advantage of the smaller chunks of time throughout the day.

    • May 29, 2013 11:15 am

      I think it’s so much more difficult to read in small bits than longer chunks! I usually only open a book if I know I’ll have at least 30 minutes.

  14. May 29, 2013 6:20 am

    My long distance traveling is mostly either for work or back home so I actually tend to read a lot. I like to not spend all my time thinking about work and I usually have no idea what I’m traveling towards anyway so I usually finish a couple of books in the travel. And when I go home…yeah, I have stacks of TBR and donated books to work through.
    If I’m traveling for joy like to see a new city, I usually am active like a maniac during the day while I pack as much sightseeing as I can possibly fit in so I end up exhausted in a restaurant at the end of the day buried in a book I’ve probably picked up at a bookshop I just popped in because it looked cosy. I end up reading less than usual but still a lot compared to my companions on such trips.

  15. May 29, 2013 6:38 am

    I always overpack books for going on holiday, and will maybe finish one or two while I’m there. This is mostly because I’ve always gone on the kinds of holidays that involve a lot of walking and sightseeing and never ever just laying on a beach for a week, so I guess in that kind of situation I’d read a lot more!

  16. May 29, 2013 5:08 pm

    If I’m vacationing by myself, which I often do, I get a lot of reading done. I read on the plane and train (but not bus or car–I get sick reading there). And I read at meals or in the evening when I’ve finished all my activities for the day. I also often find gaps of time between various activities (before a play or a tour) to sit and read for a while. I’m not the sort of person who wants to go, go, go all the time when I’m on vacation. I need to find some time to sit and relax with a book so I don’t come back to work exhausted.

    If I’m vacationing with someone else, a lot of the time I’d normally devote to reading is given over to talking, which is nice too.

    • May 30, 2013 10:23 am

      I went on my first solo trip last fall & unfortunately I couldn’t carry my ereader and camera with me at the same time. But I very much wished I had that ereader during meals and cafe breaks! I’m going to have to become more like you & Jenny and accept that even if I go, go, go I still won’t see everything, so I might as well be kind to myself and pause to relax throughout each day!

  17. May 30, 2013 10:33 am

    I’m on a little trip right now! I can’t travel anywhere without a minimum of 3 paper books and a tablet stuffed with ebooks, but yeah, hardly any of it actually gets read. It’s more of a security blanket than anything else. So far I have read an Agatha Christie that I found at our host’s house, and I read a bit of my own book while riding on the BART train to and from San¬†Francisco. My brain is too tired for anything more demanding than Christie! Plus I’m usually the one driving so no reading on the road.

  18. May 30, 2013 11:37 am

    I tend to stay at home a lot we have day trips and I don’t tend to read on them I use lot my hoildays at work just be home and read .all the best stu

  19. May 30, 2013 7:42 pm

    I tend to read a lot more when I travel. I just have tons of free time, no interruptions, it’s great. I love to read on trains and plane rides. In cafes. Love it. Somehow even though I’m doing a lot of sightseeing and stuff I still manage to get more reading time.

  20. Amy C permalink
    June 2, 2013 4:37 pm

    Great question! My husband laughs at me because whenever we go on a trip (even just a short weekend away) I always pack tons of different books so I have plenty of reading options. But we have two young children, so let’s be honest, I don’t usually get much reading time in that I would like, either at home or away. With kids, vacations are not really that relaxing, but I still pack those books and hold out hope nonetheless!!

  21. aartichapati permalink
    June 2, 2013 6:41 pm

    I think for me, it really depends where I am going. For example, when I travel to India, there tends to be a good amount of downtime, so I get a lot of reading done. Similarly, if I’m doing a very active trip where I am out all day hiking or something, but can’t do much at night when the light is gone, then I do a lot of reading, too. But I don’t expect to do too much reading on my upcoming trip to Peru, for instance, where there will always be the opportunity to meander around different towns. Though maybe I’ll sit at a bar or coffee shop and read there!

  22. Jennifer permalink
    June 3, 2013 9:15 pm

    I usually really love reading when on vacation or on trips. I only just recently started listening to audiobooks. Before I started doing that I would read in the car. When I was in high school, we commuted an hour to school everyday so I got used to reading in moving vehicles. And so whenever I’m travelling and not driving, I’m reading. I don’t always read as much as I think I’m going to when I’m travelling, but I usually find myself reading something. It is even easier now that I have an iPad/ iBooks on my iPhone. I find myself opening my books up when I’m waiting in lines for food or coffee.

  23. June 17, 2013 5:04 pm

    I read a lot while travelling because it’s the perfect combination of downtime without a TV for distraction! However, actual holidays can be a bit hit and miss in terms of how much reading I do because I tend to be sightseeing and wotnot.

  24. October 10, 2013 6:51 am

    I tend not to read on vacations too. I am too engrossed in the place, and bonding with family. I do take a book for occasions when I am bored, but rarely finish it.


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