Embarking on lengthy flights, spanning 10 hours or more, can often prove to be an endurance test, especially when confined to a limited space with minimal opportunities for movement. The potential monotony of such journeys, however, can be effectively alleviated through a myriad of engaging activities to keep both mind and body occupied. However, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained and make the time pass quickly. Here are some suggestions for things to do on a long flight.
To thwart the encroaching boredom, consider immersing yourself in a captivating novel or binge-worthy TV series, transporting your imagination beyond the confines of the cabin. Alternatively, delve into a stimulating podcast or audiobook, offering a diverse range of topics to captivate your auditory senses. For those inclined towards visual stimulation, movies and documentaries provided by the in-flight entertainment system can provide a cinematic escape.
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Before your flight, be sure to pack a few entertainment essentials in your carry-on bag to keep you occupied inflight.
Load up your smartphone, tablet, e-reader, or laptop with movies, TV shows, games, music, audiobooks, podcasts, and more. Download selections beforehand so you have plenty of options offline once in the air. Bring your headphones and chargers too. If your devices have little storage, consider getting a portable hard drive or flash drive loaded up as well.
Bring books, magazines, graphic novels – whatever reading you enjoy. This can be on paper or loaded on an e-reader. Having a variety gives you options depending on your mood.
Pack some fun analog options too like a journal and nice pen, adult coloring books and markers, crossword/sudoku/word search puzzles, playing cards, small travel games, and anything else small you find entertaining.
Most long flights these days come with seatback inflight entertainment systems or tablets loaded with movies, TV shows, games, music, audiobooks, and more. Peruse all the options and create a watch list queue for yourself. Bring your own headphones if you want something more comfortable than the airline pair.
One of the best ways to make the time pass is to simply sleep through it! Come prepared to sleep on the plane:
Utilize the inflight sleep amenities like reclining seats, leg rests, and head cushions. Try to sleep at night according to the destination time zone to avoid jet lag.
The air on planes is very dry, so it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the flight. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and generally make you feel unwell. Drink water before and frequently during the flight. You can request water refills from the flight attendants anytime. If you want flavor, bring flavor packets, electrolyte tablets, or a refillable water bottle you can fill up once past security. Staying hydrated will make you feel better on the long flight.
It’s important to get up, stretch your legs, and walk around occasionally on long flights to avoid deep vein thrombosis. Do calf raises, ankle rolls, and other simple seated stretches in your chair regularly throughout the flight. Take advantage of opportunities to walk around:
Just avoid congregating right near the bathrooms or galley area. A little movement goes a long way toward making long periods of sitting more comfortable.
Use organizers, compression cubes, pouches, and bags to keep all your inflight items neatly together and quickly accessible. Have an organized system for:
Staying organized prevents you from getting flustered rummaging around for what you need. Keep your most used flight items either in the seatback pocket or bag under the seat in front of you for easy access. Keep items not needed inflight stowed in the overhead bin.
Enjoy the inflight dining service – it makes time pass quickly! Read through the inflight menu before departure and plan what you want to order. Here are tips for enjoying meals and snacks:
Dining while flying makes the time go by quickly!
Simple exercises can be done in the seat to stimulate circulation on long flights:
Do these gently and often throughout the flight to avoid stiff joints and muscles. Just be courteous of your seatmates’ space when moving around. Simple inflight exercises go a long way toward making long periods of sitting more comfortable.
Chat with your seatmates, flight attendants, and airline staff. Be friendly and strike up interesting conversations. You’ll meet new people and learn new things, making travel more meaningful. Here are tips for enjoyable inflight socializing:
Making new connections makes long flights go by quickly and builds your communication skills.
Bring fun games and activities onboard to do alone or with others:
Playing interactive games makes time fly by!
Many airlines now offer onboard WiFi connectivity, allowing you to access the internet and stay connected inflight. If WiFi is available, consider purchasing a plan to:
Having internet access allows you to stay productive and connected inflight. Just be aware of any usage costs.
Use long flights as time for journaling, drawing, meditation, and reflection. Some ideas:
Long flights with few distractions are perfect for self-reflection!
Here are some tips to avoid dehydration and jetlag on long flights:
Staying comfortable on the long flight goes a long way toward avoiding jetlag!
Long flights are tougher when people around you are inconsiderate. Some tips for being a courteous seatmate:
Being considerate of those around you makes the whole flight more pleasant for everyone!
While long flights can be tedious, there are many things to do on a long flight. Stay comfortable, hydrated, entertained, and healthy throughout the journey. Come mentally and physically prepared with items to make the time pass quickly. Keep yourself nourished with food and water. Move around periodically. Rest when needed. Use the alone time to enjoy movies, books, games, and personal reflection. Interact with flight crew and neighbors to make new connections. Traveling can open your heart and mind when you take full advantage of the experience. Before you know it, you’ll be landing at your destination refreshed, inspired, and ready for new adventures!
Some tips for getting comfy: Stretch your legs often and take short walks. Loosen tight clothing and wear layers. Use a small inflatable pillow or neck rest. Bring a cozy blanket onboard. Listen to relaxing music or white noise. Adjust air vent to stay cool. Avoid caffeine. Stay hydrated. Use earplugs and eye mask to sleep.
Choose easily digestible foods like fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, sandwiches, yogurt. Avoid heavy greasy foods that could cause indigestion. Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol, juice, and caffeine. Eat small portions slowly throughout the flight rather than large meals.
To minimize jetlag, start adjusting to the destination time zone inflight by syncing your meals and sleep schedule. Hydrate well before, during and after the flight. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol. On arrival, expose yourself to natural sunlight and physical activity. Take short naps. Time caffeine intake to give you a boost when needed. Melatonin can help adjust to a new sleep cycle.
Try light foot and ankle exercises while seated, like flexing feet up and down, rotating ankles, and wiggling toes. Take occasional short walks in the cabin. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid crossing your legs which inhibits blood flow. Compression socks promote circulation in legs and reduce swelling. Elevating your feet can help. Notify the flight attendant if swelling is severe.
Pack engaging activities for kids like coloring books, magnet boards, reading books, small toys that don’t make noise. Load tablets with games, movies, and shows for them. Bring snacks and new foods for interest. Schedule inflight naps. Take walks together in the cabin. Chat about what you see out the window. Play simple games like I Spy. If possible, choose red eye flights when they may sleep more.