With dozens of flights now clocking in at 16 hours, 17 hours, and even approaching 18 hours, a savvy traveler knows to think ahead when it comes to entertainment and passing the time. But there are only so many movies you can possibly watch before even that gets boring. Even wining, dining, and napping it off becomes a repetitive hassle after a while.
To help make your next long-haul flight more bearable, here are 6 creative ways to pass the time while you’re up in the air.
Get ready for your destination.
Read through your guidebook — even the boring chapters about where to find the pharmacies and post office! — so you’re ready to hit the ground running. Pre-flight, you can also download an app to help you learn the basics of a new language. Just a few basic phrases will help enhance your trip, and even if you don’t speak the language perfectly, most people appreciate visitors’ efforts to communicate.
Some of the best (free) language-learning apps for travelers include Duolingo, Babbel, and TripLingo. No need to carry around those cheap, old-fashioned, oft-mistaken phrasebooks.
Open your mind to something new.
We all get stuck in a rut from time to time. Why not change that up when you’re looking to pass time in-flight? At the airport kiosk, grab some magazines and newspapers that you’ve never read before. Checking out new writers and subjects is a great way to return from a trip with a fresh perspective — and to kill a few hours when you’re in transit.
Create your own spa service.
Celebrities are famous for applying elaborate face masks when they travel. I guess they’re trying to protect their skin from the dry recycled air on commercial flights? No reason you can’t do the same. Why not give yourself the star treatment?
Grab some free samples from the duty-free section of the airport and stash them in your bag. Early in the flight (before the bathrooms have been too well used), apply some luxury face cream, use a fancy hand scrub, and cover your feet with thick lotion and heavy socks. Finish up by asking the staff for some herbal tea! You’ll arrive well-hydrated and with silky soft skin, having easily passed some of the time.
Plus you’ll feel like an Academy Award winner.
Mine the in-flight magazine for sneaky tips.
Did you know that most in-flight magazines have a map section toward the back that covers their carrier’s most commonly used airports? A quick flip through the back pages can help you save time and frustrations on the ground. Most such publications also carry details about ongoing airline contests. Maybe it’s taking a great “over the wing” photo or perhaps it’s telling management why the staff on your flight were great. Chances are, there’s a contest going on, with some pretty swanky prizes up for grabs! Why not pass the time by preparing your own entry? After all, someone has to win!
Clear your to-do list.
You don’t need WiFi to make massive progress on your to-do list. And you might not even need a computer! You have a seat and a mini desk — go to work! Make a grocery list and a meal plan for when you return home. Generate a list of new priorities for the interns at work. Start brainstorming Christmas gift ideas. Draft emails that you can send upon landing and finally make the notations you’ve been putting off on that boring report. It’s not exactly glamorous, but it passes the time. Ironically, it also saves you time when you arrive at your destination or back home.
Get some rest and relaxation.
Nothing can make the time on an airplane drag quite like trying to force yourself go to sleep when it’s just not on the cards. Instead of trying to sleep on a schedule, focus instead on rest and relaxation. Put on your eyeshades, get out your earplugs, and commit to a 30-minute rest segment. You can meditate, listen to an audiobook, mentally work your way through a lingering problem, or try out a new playlist. Whatever you do, don’t think about sleep! Instead, let your focus be on rejuvenation. If you drift off, great. If not, you’ve killed some time and cleared your worries. After all, isn’t travel all about having a great time? Enjoy every moment of the journey!
We hope these tips will help you get through your next lengthy flight. What do you do to pass time in transit? Do you have a secret strategy? Let us know. Happy trails!