Attempting to survive any long haul flight is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are 18 entertainment tips to make your flight more enjoyable.
Sleeping is my absolute favorite activity to partake in on long plane rides. It gives you time to catch up on some lost Z’s before your trip starts in earnest or pass out in exhaustion on the way home. Depending on where you are sitting, there are various sleeping positions you can employ. My personal favorites include sleeping on the window, or if I have the middle/aisle seat, the food tray in front of me is an excellent head rest.
Reading is my #1 go-to activity after sleeping. Let’s face it, a hard as you try, you can only sleep so many hours on a 12-hour flight. With all of that extra time, I will read anything and everything.
Paperbacks VS eBooks
I have always been a huge fan of bound books. I was/still am an avid reader and eReaders weren’t a thing in the 90’s, making my now-huge personal library a necessary thing. A lot of my love for reading stems from growing up in the middle of the woods, located at the heart of isolation and solidarity.
When traveling, I usually go for a mix of bound/electronic books. What happens if your eReader dies and there is nowhere to charge it? I tend to have at least three in my carry on (I know that is a bit extreme, but I tend to read fast.) Finishing three books over a round trip flight is very feasible for me, not to mention while traveling. I also bring my tablet with me on the plane. I pay $9.99 USD a month for Kindle Unlimited and use the site Bookbub.com to find books ranging in price from free+. Generally, you never have to spend more than $1.99 on a book. Occasionally there will be some a little more expensive.
The bound books I bring are usually books I can take notes in. College made me into one of those people who aren’t afraid to personalize their books. A lot of people like to keep their books in pristine condition, but I like to annotate the book, highlighting the best, worst, and most interesting parts. My last international flight, I brought Finding Zero: A Mathematician’s Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers, The Broken Earth, and Kafka on the Shore. The books on my tablet are much different… See, the cheap/free books aren’t always Pulitzer Prize worthy. It’s also the only time I can fathom reading one of those cheesy romance novels with the two half naked people embracing on the cover. They are ridiculously fast to read and Kindle Unlimited has an unlimited (don’t hate me please) supply.
I listened to my first audiobook about 4 years ago, when backpacking across part of Europe. The book I chose was A Song of Ice and Fire. My friend and I used a 15-day bus pass to travel across all of Northern and Central Europe, meaning we spent a lot of nights on the bus. GOT definitely got me through the monotony of being on a bus for days on end. I do have to admit that I had really vivid, violent dreams due to falling asleep to the book one too many times. Today, I have over 30 copies, and recently finished Leah Remini’s Trouble Maker (10/10, would recommend)
Listening to music on the plane is a great way to pass time. It’s also an activity you can multitask with. For example, you can eat and listen to music, eat and watch a movie, eat and look out the window. The options are endless.
After recently getting a new cell phone, I repurposed my old Galaxy S4 into a music player. It has a MicroSD card, so I can fit more than enough music on my old phone. I can also lose it and not be terribly upset. It has had a very long life. I like to make playlists before trips to get excited and in the mood for wherever I am traveling. For my trip to Japan and Bali this summer, I have been listening to a lot of cultural music. It’s so different than the music I grew up with, but awesome nonetheless.
Watch a Movie/TV
Who doesn’t love flights that offer in-flight entertainment? If you can find a couple of movies or TV shows you want to watch, that can pretty much take up the whole flight. Unfortunately for me, I rarely watch movies or TV. In fact, I don’t particularly enjoy them. I only really like comedies. Anyone else not like TV or movies?
Usually, flights offer an array of films/shows for you to choose from, so you have options. If that doesn’t work or you want to come extra prepared, you can always download a couple of shows or movies that you know you will like onto your laptop/tablet/mobile. I like to come prepared with a couple of documentaries or some of my personal favorite movies (Grandma’s Boy/ Secret Life of Walter Mitty.)
This is a fun/ expensive one if not thought of beforehand. Bring some snacks on the plane and demolish them. The snacks the airline provides are never enough so come prepared. You can bring nonliquid food through security or you can buy the super expensive food they provide in the airport.
Play Games/ Apps
I am a self-professed app connoisseur. The Google Play Store was my number #1 distraction from college and biggest guilty pleasure. My friends all know of my love and some may even make fun of me for it.
Offline apps are your best friend when traveling, trust me. Sometimes you just need a break from reading/sleeping/staring blankly out the window. What better way to entertain yourself than going on a quest to conquer other villages in Polytopia, choosing your own adventure like the classic books, or attempting to rule a kingdom without pissing any faction off in Reigns. If anyone wants some app recommendations, comment below. I will give you a plethora of options. In fact, I know I am going to be doing a post about best apps to travel with soon, so stay tuned!
Obviously, I like to write; otherwise, there would be no Pepper’s Passport Travels. Flights give an interesting atmosphere to write in. Sometimes it’s the easiest to be creative when in an unfamiliar atmosphere. It’s fun to imagine the lives of other passengers and use that as a writing prompt. You can write about your anticipations and desires for the trip or start a travel diary. Have a couple of drinks, and maybe write some airplane haikus:
The plane air is stale
Crying babies everywhere
Are we almost there?
Listen to Podcasts
Comedians, mysteries, storytelling, the options are endless.
Chances are you are sitting next to a stranger on the plane. If you want to pass some time on the flight, why not talk to them? Generally, it’s not my favorite thing. I would definitely say that I am an introvert, and the plane ride for me is a time to gather my feelings and thoughts before I start my trip, or inversely unwind and prepare myself for the realities of home after a trip.
Gaze Out the Window
Watch out the window or be like me and look at the map on the monitor for periods on end. Enjoy the unique aerial views the flight provides. The textures, colors, and beauty are definitely mesmerizing.
Maybe don’t get out your entire DSLR camera, but use your mobile to capture those aerial views or take ridiculous selfies to pass the time.
Coloring has become mainstream again these last couple of years so you can find amazing adult coloring books nearly anywhere. I like to bring coloring pencils, and usually only a few for the ease of traveling. It’s a super therapeutic and fun activity to do while listening to music.
Inspiration is all around you! Why not draw or sketch what you see. Replicate what you see out the window onto a piece of paper.
Crosswords, word puzzles, math puzzles, Sudoku, word searches… the options are endless. You can print them out, download an app, buy a book. Literally, puzzles are everywhere and a fun way to pass the time.
Window Shop the Sky Mall Magazine
There are some weird products for sale in the Sky Mall mags. Take up some time by perusing the pages and pick the weirdest, coolest, most ridiculous things you can find.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
I know this doesn’t necessarily pertain to entertainment, but believe me, when I say, nothing is worse than wearing uncomfortable clothes for 10+ hours. Do you really want a perma-wedgie from those too-tight jeans? I didn’t think so.
Comment below with how you survive any long haul flight!