What to Do on a Long Flight ?

Dreading your upcoming long haul flight? Conquer boredom with our ultimate guide to in-flight entertainment. From movies and games to catching up on work or sleep, we've got ideas for every type of traveler. Learn how to make the most of your journey and arrive feeling refreshed and ready to explore!

Isabella Ramirez

3/26/202413 min read

Long flights can be daunting, but with the right activities, they can also be an opportunity to relax and enjoy some uninterrupted time. Here are some tips on what to do on a long flight:

1. Clear Your Phone Memory

Before you set off on your much-anticipated vacation, it's essential to get your phone ready for all the incredible moments you're about to capture. One handy tip is to clear your phone's memory of old photos and files. This not only frees up space for all the new pictures and videos you'll take but also helps your device run smoother. While on your flight, consider organizing your apps and deleting any that you no longer use. You can also transfer files to an external hard drive as a backup.

Once you're on the way back home with a phone full of memories, take some time to sort through your photos. Delete duplicates and blurry shots, and maybe even create albums for different parts of your trip. Jot down your thoughts and feelings about the places you visited while they're still fresh in your mind. This way, you'll have a beautifully curated collection of memories that are easy to look back on and share with others.

2. Plan Your Trip or Get Some Work Done

If you haven't detailed your itinerary yet, now is the perfect opportunity to do so. Utilize this time effectively to research and meticulously plan out activities for your upcoming destination. Whether it's exploring local attractions, dining at recommended eateries, or finding the best routes for travel, thorough preparation will enhance your experience.

If you're traveling for business purposes, this is an ideal moment to prepare for upcoming meetings or to catch up on emails. Being proactive will ensure you're well-prepared and ahead of the game, allowing for a more productive and stress-free trip.

3. Dive Into a Book or E-Book

Do you have a stack of "to-be-read" books? A long haul flight is the perfect opportunity to dive in! Even if bulky physical books aren't ideal for travel, the Kindle app lets you download countless ebooks. So take a moment to explore a story that interests you, and let the pages—or screen—whisk you away on a journey of discovery.

4. Binge-Watch Movies or TV Shows

Whether you're flying across the country or internationally, long flights can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on your favorite movies or TV series. Many airlines offer a variety of in-flight entertainment options, so you can enjoy a selection of the latest releases and classic films right from your seat. If you prefer to curate your own viewing experience, consider downloading movies or TV shows onto your device before your trip. This way, you're guaranteed to have access to your preferred media, ensuring a more enjoyable and personalized flight experience. Remember to bring headphones and ensure your device is fully charged or bring a portable charger for an uninterrupted binge-watching session.

5. Tune Into Music

Listening to music is a fantastic way to pass the time on a long flight. It's not only relaxing but can also be a great opportunity to catch up on new albums or rediscover old favorites. Here's a list of tips for enjoying music during your journey:

  • Create a playlist beforehand. This way, you won't have to fumble around with your device during the flight.

  • Consider noise-cancelling headphones. They can help block out the engine noise and chatter, making your listening experience more enjoyable.

  • Charge your device fully before the flight or bring a portable charger.

  • Explore different genres. A long flight can be the perfect time to expand your musical horizons.

  • If you're using a streaming service, make sure to download your playlists as you might not have Wi-Fi access.

6. Listen to Podcasts/Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a fantastic option for people who prefer listening or find reading tiring. Podcasts are another great way to learn and explore interesting topics. If you're looking for audiobooks or podcasts, Audible is a treasure trove of audiobooks to spark your imagination.

Here are the top 5 audio books:

6. Engage Your Mind with Puzzles or Games

Engaging your mind during a long flight can transform a tedious journey into an entertaining experience. One of the best ways to do this is by bringing along mini travel games. These compact diversions are not only fun but also a great way to stimulate your brain and pass the time. Whether you're traveling solo or with companions, there's a wide variety of puzzles and games that can fit easily into your carry-on. From classic card games to innovative puzzle apps, there's something for everyone. So next time you're preparing for a long haul, remember to pack a small game or two – it might just be the highlight of your trip!

Here are 5 popular mini travel games you can buy on Amazon that are perfect for playing on a flight:

  • SmartGames Asteroid Escape: This is a single-player puzzle game that's great for challenging yourself on a flight. The game comes with a portable board and several puzzle pieces. There are 60 challenges included, ranging from beginner to expert.

  • Mindware Travel Qwirkle Board Game: This strategy game is a fun way to test your logic and vocabulary skills. It's similar to Scrabble but uses colored tiles instead of letters. The travel version is compact and comes with a folding board and tile holder.

  • The Purple Cow Magnetic Secret Code Board Game: This is a fun and challenging game for two players. The travel version is compact and comes with a magnetic board and playing pieces.

  • Magnetic Travel Snakes & Ladders: This is a travel-sized version of the classic Snakes and Ladders game. It's a fun and easy game of luck for kids and adults alike. The magnetic board and pieces mean you won't have to worry about them getting lost during your flight.

  • Magnetic Travel Tic Tac Toe - Includes 4 in a Row Game Too: This is a two-in-one magnetic travel game that includes the classic games of tic-tac-toe and four in a row. The small, portable size makes it perfect for travel, and the magnetic pieces mean you won't have to worry about them getting lost.

7. Learn a language

When you're gearing up for an international trip, one of the best things you can do during a long flight is to dive into the language of your destination. It's not just about passing time; it's about enriching your travel experience. Imagine being able to order your coffee just the way you like it, ask for directions without fumbling with a translation app, or even make a new friend in a local park—all in the local tongue. Learning key phrases or diving into a basic conversation course can transform your trip from good to great. Plus, it's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the culture and show respect for the people and their customs. So, next time you find yourself counting down the hours on a plane, consider opening up a language app or flipping through a phrasebook. Your future self will thank you when you land.

8. Do some coloring

Taking up coloring during a long flight can be an excellent way to pass the time and relax. Whether you're a seasoned artist or just looking for a way to unwind, bringing along a coloring book and some color pencils or markers can make those hours in the air fly by. Not only does coloring help alleviate boredom, but it can also reduce travel anxiety and stress. It's an activity that requires minimal setup and can be done comfortably from your seat. Plus, with the variety of coloring apps available, you don't even need to pack physical books or pencils; your tablet or smartphone can serve as your canvas. So next time you're preparing for a long haul, consider adding some color to your flight routine.

9. Play cards

When you're embarking on a long flight, one of the best ways to pass the time is to play cards. It's a fantastic way to engage with fellow travelers or even just to challenge yourself with a game of solitaire. Card games are not only entertaining but also incredibly versatile, offering something for everyone, whether it's a classic game of poker, a strategic round of bridge, or a family-friendly game of Go Fish. Plus, playing cards can help improve your concentration and relieve the boredom that often comes with long-haul travel. So next time you're packing for a lengthy journey, don't forget to slip a deck of cards into your carry-on!

10. Surf the internet

Surfing the internet on a long flight is now a reality! Airlines are increasingly offering in-flight Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to stay connected even while above the clouds. This service is perfect for those who need to stay on top of work emails, scroll through social media, or even start planning their next trip while en route to their current one. With speeds and connectivity constantly improving, in-flight internet is becoming more than just a novelty—it's a valuable tool for making long journeys more productive and enjoyable.

11. Do a bit duty free shopping

Taking advantage of duty-free shopping during a long flight can be a smart move for travelers looking to save money. Airports often offer a wide range of products, from luxury goods to everyday items, all tax-free. This means you can purchase gifts, souvenirs, or even personal treats at a lower cost than you would find in regular stores. Whether you're looking for a new fragrance, a fancy watch, or some fine chocolate, doing a bit of shopping while you're in the air can be both convenient and economical. Plus, it's a great way to pass the time on those lengthy flights.

12. Keep drinking water

When embarking on a long flight, it's crucial to stay hydrated. The air inside the cabin can be very dry, and dehydration can lead to jet lag and fatigue. To ensure you have access to water whenever you need it, bring your own water bottle. This way, you can refill it throughout the journey, avoiding the need to wait for service from the flight attendants. Not only is this more convenient, but it's also a more sustainable option than relying on single-use plastic cups. Plus, having your own bottle means you can keep track of how much water you're drinking and make sure you're getting enough. So next time you're packing for a long flight, remember to include a refillable water bottle in your carry-on essentials.

13. Sync Your Sleep

When embarking on a long-haul flight, adjusting your sleep schedule can be a game-changer for arriving refreshed and jet-lag free. Syncing your sleep with your destination's time zone before you even board the plane can help immensely. Start by gradually shifting your bedtime a few days prior to your flight. If you're heading east, go to bed an hour earlier each night; if west, an hour later. On the plane, try to sleep if it's nighttime at your destination or stay awake if it's daytime. Use eye masks and earplugs to block out cabin lights and noise. By aligning your body's internal clock with your future time zone, you'll adapt more quickly to the local schedule, making the most of your trip from day one.

14. Stretch and Stroll

When embarking on a lengthy flight, it's crucial to pay attention to your body's needs. Sitting in one position for an extended period can hinder blood flow, leading to discomfort or even health issues like deep vein thrombosis. To prevent this, make it a habit to stretch your limbs regularly and take short walks down the aisle. This simple practice keeps the blood circulating properly, ensuring you stay comfortable and healthy throughout your journey. Plus, it's a great way to break the monotony of a long haul and keep your energy levels up.

A well-prepared traveler is a happy traveler. Charge your devices, pack essentials like headphones, and don't forget a neck pillow for added comfort.

Tips for Surviving Long Flights

  • Wear compression socks

    When embarking on a long-haul flight, it's a smart move to slip on a pair of flight socks. These specialized socks are designed to support circulation in your legs, reducing the risk of swelling or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). For frequent flyers and those prone to circulatory issues, flight socks can be a game-changer, ensuring comfort and health at high altitudes. Plus, they come in various styles and compression levels to suit individual needs.

  • Pack snacks

    When embarking on a lengthy flight, it's a savvy move to pack some snacks. This simple step can make your journey more enjoyable and help you avoid the often expensive and less healthy options available on the plane or at the airport. Bringing your own food ensures you have something to nibble on when hunger strikes, and it's also a great way to pass the time. From granola bars and trail mix to fresh fruit and sandwiches, there's a plethora of options that are both travel-friendly and satisfying.

  • Wear a Comfortable Outfit and Dress Layered

    When packing for a long flight, one of the best strategies to stay comfortable is to dress in layers. This approach allows you to easily adjust to varying temperatures, whether you're dealing with the chilly air conditioning of the airport or the stuffy cabin of the airplane. Starting with a breathable base layer that wicks away moisture will keep you feeling fresh. Add a cozy middle layer, like a fleece or sweater, that you can remove if you get too warm.

  • If you have plane ears

    If you're someone who suffers from ear pain due to changes in cabin pressure. If you're someone who frequently experiences this, consider giving Alpine FlyFit Earplugs a try. These earplugs are specifically designed for pressure relief, making your air travel experience much more comfortable. They work by regulating the pressure on your eardrums caused by altitude changes, so you can say goodbye to that annoying plane ear pain. Plus, they're a breeze to use – just pop them in before takeoff and enjoy a more relaxed flight. Whether you're a frequent flyer or planning your first long journey, Alpine FlyFit Earplugs are a travel essential worth considering.

  • Noise-canceling headphones

    When embarking on a long flight, one of the smartest moves you can make is to pack a pair of Noise-Canceling Headphones. These ingenious devices work by creating sound waves that are the exact opposite of the noise around you, effectively canceling it out. This means you can enjoy a peaceful journey, free from the constant hum of the airplane engines or the chatter of fellow passengers. Not only do they help you relax and possibly get some sleep, but they also allow you to enjoy your music or movies without having to crank up the volume. For frequent flyers, investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones is a game-changer for ensuring a more enjoyable and serene travel experience.

  • Bring leg lifter for long flight

    Leg lift is a simple device can make a world of difference by allowing you to elevate your legs, promoting better circulation and reducing swelling. It's especially useful for those who are prone to leg discomfort or swelling during flights. Plus, it's a small and lightweight solution that won't add bulk to your carry-on luggage.

  • Bring a travel pillow

    When preparing for a long flight, one item that can significantly improve your comfort is a travel pillow. These handy accessories provide much-needed neck support, allowing you to rest and possibly even sleep while sitting upright. Not only do they prevent the dreaded head-bobbing but also reduce the risk of waking up with a stiff neck. With a variety of designs and materials available, you can find one that suits your preferences and makes those lengthy hours in the air more bearable. Remember, comfort can make all the difference on a long journey, so don't overlook this small but mighty travel companion.

What’s the best seat to book for a long flight?

When it comes to booking the best seat for a long flight, there are several factors to consider to ensure your journey is as comfortable as possible. An aisle seat will give you easy access to the bathroom and the cabin aisle, allowing you to stretch your legs without disturbing other passengers. On the other hand, a window seat can provide you with a solid surface to lean on and possibly better sleep, along with stunning views during takeoff and landing. For those who prioritize legroom, exit row seats or bulkhead seats offer additional space but come with some restrictions and responsibilities. It's also worth considering the proximity to the lavatories or galley, as these areas can be noisy and high-traffic. Ultimately, the best seat is one that caters to your personal comfort preferences and needs during a long haul in the skies.

Things for Kids to Do on a Plane

Looking for ways to keep your kids entertained on a long flight? Here's a list of fun and engaging activities that can make the time fly by. Start with classic travel games like 'I Spy' or '20 Questions' to get their minds working. Don't forget to pack coloring books and crayons for a creative outlet. Interactive apps and audiobooks can also be a lifesaver, providing both education and entertainment. Encourage them to document the journey in a travel journal, which can be a great keepsake for years to come. Lastly, small toys and puzzles can be great for hands-on fun. Just remember to balance screen time with other activities to keep things varied and interesting!

Long Flights Essential Packing List

When gearing up for a long flight, it's crucial to pack smartly to ensure a comfortable journey. Your essential packing list should include items that cater to all your travel needs. Start with the basics:

- Noise-cancelling headphones: Block out the plane's engine hum and chatter.
- Travel pillow: Get some rest without the neck cramps.
- Entertainment: Load up your devices with books, movies, or games.
- Snacks: Keep hunger at bay with some healthy nibbles.
- Water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the flight.
- Skincare items: Combat the dry cabin air with moisturizer and lip balm.

- For hygiene, pack travel-sized hand sanitizer, face wipes, and a toothbrush.
- Compression socks: Reduce the risk of DVT and keep your feet comfy.
- Documents: Keep your passport, tickets, and travel insurance handy.
- Chargers and adapters: Ensure all your devices stay powered up.
- A change of clothes: Freshen up after hours in the air. so pack cozy socks and a lightweight sweater to combat the chilly cabin air.

This list isn't exhaustive but covers the basics for most travelers. Adjust according to your personal needs and flight duration!