Blogger | Teacher
As someone who has recently spent a lot of time flying across oceans, I can confidently say that one of the worst parts about being on a long flight is the painful boredom that will eventually hit. It’s hard enough having to stay in one seat for 14 hours straight but, if you’re like me and have trouble sleeping on planes, then trying to entertain yourself during a long flight can become a challenging task.
If you’re planning a trip this year and need to find new ways to pass the time during your travels, here are some fun ways to entertain yourself and help stave off the boredom until you finally reach your destination!
Bring a book (or two or three)
I think bringing a book and using the time you’re stuck on a plane to catch up on your reading is one of the most popular activities for entertaining yourself during a long flight. Sometimes life can become so incredibly busy and hectic that finding the time to read all the works on your “book bucket list” might feel impossible.
Being stuck on a plane can feel like a curse, but also consider that it’s 10+ hours where you really can’t be expected to do much but sit there. Unless you’re planning to spend money on inflight Wi-Fi, you’re essentially cut off from the rest of the world and all of the distractions that usually get in the way of your reading time. So if you know you’re going to be on a long flight soon, tucked away from the rest of the world in a mildly uncomfortable seat with no access to social media distractions, make sure to pack a good book (or two or three depending on the flight time).
Embrace the activity book
One of the most overlooked ways to find reprieve from boredom during a long flight is the beloved activity book. You know the ones – the aisles of crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and coloring books that line the shelves of bookstores everywhere. Often overlooked or ignored, activity books are a great asset to pack away in your personal carry-on in order to pass the time on an airplane.
These are also a great way to challenge and test your brain, promoting active thinking and problem-solving skills through puzzles and riddles that will make the time feel like it’s flying by! Not to mention, there are adult AND child-friendly versions, so these are a great option for when you need to keep your little one preoccupied and happy during the ride.
Binge new movies
Most airlines that handle overseas travel know that a long flight requires some form of entertainment, and therefore offer a plethora of free, inflight movies to help passengers pass the time. There are movies for everyone, ranging from family-friendly films to romance, drama, and horror flicks. On my flight from America to Japan, my friends and I watched at least three or four movies to help us pass the time.
If you can’t find a movie you like, don’t worry! The airline’s library usually offers television options for passengers who need to catch up on their favorite shows. Be warned – they usually don’t have all the episodes for every series, so you may not be able to start up where you left off. However, the television show options available are nice for those of us who just want a familiar comfort if we’re feeling a little antsy or bored on the flight.
And what’s the number one most popular way to pass the time during a long flight? Sleeping. For some people, like myself, this can be a really difficult task. No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to find a comfortable position, and oftentimes my brain is too active to allow me to get any real sleep.
However, many people find sleeping to be an incredibly easy and effective way to make a long flight pass by quickly. Sleeping helps to make hours pass in the blink of an eye, and it’s a great way to try and relax if you’re feeling a bit nervous about a flight. Not to mention, sleeping during your flight will help you feel refreshed and ready to explore when you reach your destination!
Get to know your seatmate
While this may not be the most appealing option for passengers that enjoy the quiet of traveling alone or suffer from social anxiety, getting to know your seatmate can be a great way to pass the time on a long flight. So many interesting people fly all around the world every day, and it can be a fun and gratifying experience to learn a little more about them and find out their stories.
During my flight back to America for Christmas, I spent the first three hours of my travels chatting with my two seatmates. They were both incredibly kind, interesting people, and one even knew about a few cool stores and bakeries in the area of Tokyo where I live (which I’ll be sure to check out now that I’m back home!).
Sometimes when I fly, I like to take the time simply to bask in the quiet and enjoy my own thoughts. But, every once in a while, it’s nice to share a conversation with the people around me and learn more about them. You might be surprised about what you discover!
Work on a personal project
In the same way a long flight offers an opportunity to catch up on your book bucket list, it also offers some time away from social media and other distractions for you to work on a personal project. Whether you’re an artist, writer, designer, or another form of creator, long flights mean hours freed up to concentrate on things you’ve been meaning to start for a while but haven’t had the time for yet.
You finally have the freedom and the opportunity to push all of your concentration into your craft, allowing you to put your all into one of the many, many projects that have fallen to the sidelines as life took over. The time you spend on a flight is purely yours to do with what you like – don’t miss this chance to enjoy a little you time and work on something you’ve wanted to start for a while now.
Listen to a new album or podcast
One of my absolute favorite ways to entertain myself during a long flight is listening to music. Honestly, this is simply one of my favorite pastimes, but the hours I’m stuck on a plane are a great distraction-free opportunity to catch up on albums I haven’t listened to yet or podcasts I’ve fallen behind on.
While you may be asking “But how do I listen to these albums without the internet – streaming services require Wi-Fi, don’t they?”, I promise there is a way around this conundrum. If you download the albums, podcasts, or playlists you want to listen to onto your phone before you get on the plane, most streaming services allow you to still access these pre-downloaded audios even when you’re on airplane mode.
Pre-downloaded music has been a godsend for me during long flights, so I highly recommend preparing all your music and podcasts beforehand so you can listen to them without any worries!
Do you know of other ways to pass the time during a long flight? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.