Being bored on a flight can be a real drag. When you’re stuck in one spot for hours on end, and there’s nothing to do, you can quickly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and trapped.
To pass the time, it helps to bring along things like books, magazines, and even a laptop or tablet for movies and games.
If you don’t have any of those available, you can also try talking to your seatmate (if they seem conversational), or even just taking the time to look out the window and appreciate the sights.
There are always ways to make the most of a boring flight, and hopefully it can be an opportunity to relax and recharge. So let’s go over some options to help you plan for your next long flight!
Option 1: Read something entertaining!
Bringing reading materials on a plane is a great way to stay entertained during a flight.
The best books to read on a plane are ones that can be easily put down and picked up again. Short stories, nonfiction books, and books with plenty of visuals are great options.
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, magazines, graphic novels, and newspapers are also great ways to pass the time. These types of reading material are even available digitally these days!
The easiest formats of book to bring on a plane are paperback books, e-readers, and audio books. Paperback books are easy to carry and don’t take up much space, while e-readers allow you to store multiple books on one device.
Lastly, audio books allow you to relax and listen to a story without having to focus too much on the words. You can get them from a subscription service like Audible, but also many public libraries offer audio books as a digital loan! This is a great cost-effective way to add to your reading repertoire.
Option 2: Play a game!
Playing video games on a long flight can be a great way to pass the time.
Puzzle games, such as Sudoku, are often a great choice because they don’t require too much attention and can be easily played in small spaces. They’re ideal to play while listening to a podcast or audiobook to keep your hands and brain busy while you listen.
Other great options for plane travel include strategy games, as they can be paused and picked up at any time, as well as card games like UNO, which are lightweight and require minimal space. Just be sure to avoid anything with tiny pieces that could be easily lost during unexpected turbulence.
For console or device gaming, handheld gaming systems such as the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation Vita are usually the best option since they are designed for portability and can be easily held in your hand. Make sure to bring your charger with you!
To make the most out of your gaming experience, make sure to pack a pair of headphones so you don’t disturb other passengers (or simply turn the volume of your game off). Also, avoid any sort of physical or digital game that requires a lot of movement or a loud vocal component (so no dancing games, unless you’re ready for a lot of glares from other passengers!)
Option 3: Listen to music or a podcast!
Listening to music or podcasts on a plane can be a great way to pass the time and enjoy the journey.
To make the most of your experience, it’s important to choose the right apps, headphones, and strategies. If you’re already a podcast listener then you probably have your preferences, but here are a few suggestions in case this is a new kind of media for you.
When it comes to apps, you may want to consider ones that allow you to store music and podcasts offline so that you don’t have to rely on an internet connection. Popular options include Apple Music and Spotify. Most airplane wi-fi systems don’t allow streaming, so having your podcasts and music downloaded to your device ahead of time will save you from any disappointment.
For headphones, noise-canceling headphones can be a great option as they reduce external noise and help you focus on the music or podcast. If you only have earbuds, pulling a hat down over your ears can be helpful for muffling extra sound (and can help you sleep, too).
It can also be helpful to create a playlist or podcast list prior to your flight so that you have a variety of music or podcasts ready to go. I like to download episodes of my favourite regular podcasts, a few new ones, and also some meditation or visualization tracks, which really help me if I get anxious on the flight.
Option 4: Watch a movie or TV show!
One of the best strategies for watching movies or TV shows on a long flight is to pick the type of content that will keep you entertained for hours.
If you’re interested in comedy, look for a series that has plenty of episodes so you can watch multiple episodes during the flight. If you prefer drama, pick a longer movie that you can watch all the way through. Consider the length of your flight and how much of it you’re going to want to spend staring at a screen (instead of, say, sleeping).
Additionally, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks to stay comfortable while watching. I’ve got a list of the best healthy plane snacks here!
For a more comfortable experience, consider bringing a neck pillow and a blanket to create a makeshift bed. You can also bring earbuds or noise-canceling headphones to keep the sound of the plane out and the sound of your show in.
Finally, if you’re traveling with a companion, take advantage of the opportunity to watch a show together and have a conversation about it afterwards. You could even pick up a headphone splitter (or each take an earbud) if sharing a video device.
Option 5: Make a friend!
Talking to the person seated beside you on a plane can be a great way to make a friend or just pass the time during a long flight.
To try and make friends with your seatmate, start off by introducing yourself and asking the other person about themselves. Ask about their interests, career, or travel plans.
However, a lot of people like to be left alone during their flight, and dread being sat beside someone chatty. It’s important to be respectful of boundaries and look for clues that someone might prefer to be left alone.
If they seem uninterested in conversation, or try to get back to wearing their headphones or reading their book, leave them be and focus on your own activities.
If conversation is flowing, some good topics to talk about include hobbies, books, music, and travel experiences. Avoid discussing topics that may be too personal or controversial, such as politics or religion – I can’t imagine much worse than being trapped on a plane with someone you’re ready to argue with!
Option 6: Practice meditation!
As I mentioned before, I love plane meditation to help with my anxiety. Meditating on an airplane can be a great way to reduce stress, clear your mind, and enjoy a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of the flight.
A few strategies for meditating in your plane seat include finding a comfortable position, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath. Body scan meditations can be particularly helpful to focus your attention inwards instead of to your surroundings.
You can also listen to calming music or guided meditations to help you relax and enter a meditative state. Meditation podcasts can offer guided experiences, and ambient music can help dull the sounds of the airplane and other passengers.
To make meditating on a plane more enjoyable, try bringing along a few of your favorite items to make the experience more comfortable. This can include a travel pillow, eye mask, ear plugs, and a cozy sweater.
Additionally, you can practice mindful eating to enhance the experience. Eating slowly and mindfully can help bring you into the present moment and create a more meaningful and enjoyable experience.
Option 7: Do a skincare routine!
Doing your skincare routine on a plane doesn’t have to be a challenge, and can serve the dual purpose of passing the time and helping you feel fresh for your destination.
There are plenty of products you can use while sitting in your seat that will leave your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. Look for facial mists, sheet masks, and hydrating serums that can be used without taking up too much space.
For more intensive treatments, like exfoliation, try using facial wipes that can be easily disposed of. Avoid using products that require water such as cleansers or masks that need to be removed with water – these can be too messy for the confines of a plane.
Bring along some facial oil or moisturizer and apply it before and after your flight to keep your skin nourished and hydrated. Just avoid hogging the airplane bathroom too much for your skincare routine – focus on things you can do from your seat.
Option 8: Work on a writing project!
Writing on an airplane can be a great way to pass the time!
Whether you’re jotting down ideas for a project, writing a story, or keeping a travel journal, there are lots of things you can write to keep yourself entertained during a flight.
Many people prefer to write on their phones because it’s lightweight and easy to carry, plus you can store your writing electronically for future use. However, if you’re looking for a more traditional writing experience, you can always bring a notebook or a laptop.
Depending on the length of your flight, you can also bring along a book and a pen to do some creative writing exercises or just to make notes and annotations.
No matter what you choose to write, it’s a great way to make the most of your time in the air! I love brainstorming blog post topics and also making lists of things I want to do in my destination city, cross-referencing a paper guidebook.
From watching movies and listening to music to playing games and reading books, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained during a long flight.
With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can make your flight more enjoyable and fun. I hope this list has been inspiring and has given you some ideas of what to do to get through your long flight.