Finding ways to stay entertained during a long flight that don’t revolve around watching movies or drinking alcohol is an art. Luckily after so many flights I started learning a thing or two on different activities you can o in order to have fun (and maybe even learn something new) during a long-haul flight.
The month was February 2016. One of my best friends had been living in Hawaii for a while and I was on my way from Switzerland to meet her in Honolulu. Even as an experienced flier, I had no idea what the long hours’ flight would feel like at the time.
I had to take anything less than 5 flights in order to reach my destination. Furthermore, I was not used to flying American Airlines to fully grasp just how bad some of my flights would be.
Here are a few items that I remember that contribute to a never-ending flight:
- Internal flights – NY-Dallas, Dallas-LA, LA-Honolulu – had no individual TVs (if you wanted to watch something, you had to rent a player that had limited options for movies)
- I was seated in the middle seat of a 5-seat row (horrifying)
- The ‘’food’’ was more of an unappealing snack that you had to pay for
- It was extremely cold at times, and at other, it was very warm
- Many (many) hours…
This experience was enough to traumatize me to never underestimate a flight and to always be prepared for every type of situation on-board of a plane, such as lack of food and varying cabin temperatures.
Furthermore, after all these years I’ve also been collecting tips on better ways to spend my time on an airplane and unique ways to stay entertained during a long flight, even when I don’t have any electronics with me. In fact, I’ve discovered that long flights can actually be a great opportunity to de-connect. Take some time to read a book that has been on your mind, discover a new podcast, or get artsy by grabbing a coloring book. Long-haul flights can be a great time to do things you don’t normally get to do.
Below are 8 unique things you can do to keep yourself entertained during a long flight
Table of Contents
1. Learn a New Language
This is one that I have been meaning to implement in my life for the past 2 years now (yes, shame on me). Ever since I met Cris, who is Italian, I have been meaning to learn the language. By now I understand basically everything just from hearing him talking all the time with his friends and family (don’t get too impressed, Italian is surprisingly similar to Brazilian Portuguese so it is fairly easy for me to understand it).
Furthermore, when going to a new destination it is really handy to know the basics of the local language. Even just mastering simple words such as “hello” and “thank you” can make your trip a lot easier. Moreover, if you can, try to learn how to ask for directions and understand simple replies. The locals will always be always impressed by the extra effort, so don’t be shy.
There was a flight where Cris and I had a small disagreement and I remember feeling very annoyed at him. Usually, in situations like this, I like to take some time for myself to recollect my thoughts. However, as we were inside a plane there were so many places that I could go. This meant that I had to be creative with what I could do to unwind. Luckily, I remembered that I had downloaded a meditation app that a friend has recommended me, and I thought that moment would be a good time to try it out.
It was PERFECT. When I realized, 40min had passed where I was so deep in a trance from meditating. By the time I stopped, I was in a much happier mood and had completely let go of the reason I had been upset by before.
An alternative to meditating by listening to music is to go old school and grab a coloring book like these. The detailed designs and drawings will keep you busy and entertained for hours. Moreover, you’ll be surprised by how calming this activity is.
3. Read That Book (or listen to it)
With so much technology at our hands lately, it feels like most of us have lost our reading habits. I, for one, speak for myself. I used to read so many books when I was a kid/teen. My dad was always so proud that I had inherited his love for books. However, as time went by, I realized I was reading less and less, and I can’t help but blame my darn iPhone for this.
If you can’t spare any luggage space for your reading material, try purchasing an eReader. Ever since I bought my Kindle I have been reading so many more books. I carry it everywhere I go (it is literally always inside my handbag) and I always find a moment at some point in the day to read a few pages.
Been extra busy lately and been feeling that you are behind on reading your favorite online articles? I recommend trying Pocket App, where you can save online articles to read them offline.
Catch up on all those articles that you always see in your Pinterest feed that you just don’t have time to pursue in your busy day-to-day life. This option of having shorter reading material is especially handy for layovers.
TIP: Not much into reading but still want to catch up on reading? Have you ever tried audio books? They are honestly amazing!! Sometimes I even listen to them during the gym haha. Give them a go! You will also be probably happy to know that they really help with falling asleep inside a plane.
4. Podcast Yourself
Have you ever tried Podcasts? Ever since I discovered Podcasts, I fell in love with binge listening to them. I listen to different ones depending on what my mood is. Sometimes I want to learn a new skill, so I will listen to a marking or branding one. Sometimes I want to feel motivated. Sometimes I just want to relax and listen to movie reviews.
There are thoooousands of different podcasts types to choose from. Download whatever series interests you and the time will fly by. Podcasts are also very handy for bus, boat and train trips if you get motion sickness and can’t read on the go.
Related: my favorite Podcasters for female
5. Write your thoughts
Taking time to get a pen and paper and write down your thoughts is extremely valuable. Most of the time we live life in such a rush that we don’t stop to consider how and what we are feeling. I like to write down things I am thankful for, things I have achieved (and that I still want to achieve), what I want to change in my life, etc.
Writing can give your thoughts direction and help you further understand your feelings.
6. Train Your Brain
Another great way to stay entertained during a long flight is by playing a memory game, or a crossword puzzle. You’ll be surprised by how much fun these ‘’old-school’’ activities can be. Moreover, these simple activities are great or the brain’s memory.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Did you know that air travel can dehydrate the skin and leave us looking and feeling tired? That is why being bored inside an aircraft is the perfect time to rejuvenate.
Honestly, sometimes the best thing to do is just sit back and unwind, right? So before you put that eye mask on and try to sleep, take a minute or two to pamper yourself first. If you know me at all you are probably aware of how much I LOVE skincare, so any excuse to treat my skin is welcome in my agenda.
There are plenty of on-the-go treatments that aren’t messy and that don’t have a strong scent—making them entirely appropriate for a little spa time at 25,000 feet.
Fiber face masks can be both be easily applied and discarded. Spa gloves deliver silky smooth skin with zero mess. A quick de-puffing eye mask combats that dreadful jet bloat and allows you to get off the plane looking your best.
8. Be Productive
Finally, my last tip to keep you entertained during a long flight is to try and be productive with your time.
Why not finish that blog post you’ve been working on for the past few weeks? Or that long email that you’ve been meaning to answer? Take the seemingly useless hours inside a plane and turn them into gold by being productive. This way you can have more time for yourself once you reach your destination.
This is also useful for the last-minute planner who did not take time to study the destination before jumping on the plane. Why not grab a travel guide at the bookstore and plan your trip during the flight?
As an example, check out the best things to see and do in your destination by using the Lonely Planet guides app, or estimate how much money you’ll spend each day with Budget Your Trip. It is also useful to keep in mind to do minor tasks, such as deleting duplicate photos on your phone or camera so you have plenty of space to capture your memories.
Alternatively, if you’re already on the journey back home, why not spend some time sorting through your photos, editing them and uploading them to social media?
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