10 Apps To Help Pass The Time On Long Journeys

Backpacking my way through South America, I spent many hours – sometimes entire days – making my way from city to city via bus. Whether you’re taking a bus, plane or train, here are 10 great apps that work offline to help you pass the time.


Kindle makes it easy to stay up-to-date with your favorite books, especially when it can be hard to find novels in your spoken language abroad. Just download the app, shop when you have Wi-Fi and then enjoy the books even when you’re without Internet connection. There are over 1,000 books in the Kindle store, as well as hundreds of newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs. You can also sample the first few pages of books before buying, to decide if it’s worth the purchase.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Free.Pocket

Formerly called Read It Later, Pocket allows you to save articles, images, videos and other online media to read later, whether you’re on or offline. This allows for hours of entertainment via various media forms, and can help make the time go by very quickly when spending hours on a bus, train or plane.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. Free.

Spotify Premium

A music-listening app, Spotify allows you to stream and listen to thousands of songs, and even listen to your favorite playlists when you’re offline. Simply switch “Available Offline” to the “on” position for any playlists you’d like to listen to when you don’t have an Internet connection. Offline users can also sync playlists containing any songs from Spotify’s selection to their smartphone, with the ability to sync tracks on up to three computers or smartphones at the same time.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. $9.99 per month.

World Travel Guide Offline Deluxe

World Travel Guide Offline Deluxe is an app that is specially suited for travelers. It allows users to browse information for over 20,000 travel destinations around the world through travel guides, itineraries, language guides and more. Best of all, it can be enjoyed while offline on a bus, plane or train. Research a current destination, or learn more about a place on your bucket list.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The first 50 pages are free. After that, you can purchase unlimited pages at a low cost. Android users can download a similar app by clicking here.

Word Mole

I’m obsessed with Word Mole on long journeys. Not only is it fun, but it exercises the mind. It’s kind of like Boggle in the sense that you need to make words with adjacent letters in order to gain points. However, with Word Mole you’re making words in a garden plot. If you use letters that aren’t touching any other letters, you’ll get a big hole on the board. Because the game is timed and requires some critical thinking, it’s also a good way to get some brain exercise in while killing time.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Blackberry. $0.99.


Watching movies is one of the easiest and most entertaining ways to pass the time. Unfortunately, even when a film is showed on public transportation, it is rare that it’s a flick that everyone will enjoy – if it’s even in a language you understand. Flixster allows travelers to browse their Flixster Collections page, a free application where you can browse movies and shows from various sources. If the movie you want to watch offline is compatible, you’ll be able to watch it without an Internet connection.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Free.

Ben Stein: It’s Trivial

The Ben Stein: It’s Trivial app is one of my favorites, as you can spend hours going through over 1,000 trivia questions in the categories of pop culture, sports, natural wonders and random Steinage. The game starts off easy and gets harder as you progress. Furthermore, answers are timed, adding an element of adrenaline. There’s also a bit of comedy, as the game includes quips and wry comments by Stein.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $2.99.

Adobe Ideas

For art-lovers, Adobe Ideas allows users to “paint” masterpieces on their smartphones. You’ll be able to sketch using vector-based drawing tools, use an eyedropper to color with precision and work with 10 drawing layers. It’s also got some of the same features as Photoshop, for example, drawing over a photograph. Moreover, you can email your creative pieces to work on them again later.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $9.99.

Fruit Ninja

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Fruit Ninja. It’s perfect for times when you don’t feel like thinking too hard, but want to pass the time. The object of the game is to chop as many pieces of flying fruit as possible by sliding your finger over the phone screen without hitting any spontaneous bombs. Certain fruits are extra points, as is slicing multiple fruits at the same time. It’s simple, but seriously addicting.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $0.99.

18,000 Cool Jokes

This app is extremely entertaining, especially on long journeys. You won’t need an Internet connection to laugh your way through 18,000 Cool Jokes, which includes numerous categories, like blondes, bar, dirty jokes, at work, business, foreigners, yo mama, military, travel and many more. You can also browse the top jokes of the day, week and month. To give you an idea, here is one of the cute – and PG – travel jokes from the app: “What steps should you take if you see a dangerous animal on your travels? Very large ones.”

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $0.99.