A long flight can be very boring. Anything over 3 hours can easily turn into a drawn out long and boring experience, especially when you are flying alone. Mid-to-long haul flights don't have to be a nightmare, they can be productive and fun. My suggestion is to get creative. Use your time wisely. Personally, I can sleep anywhere but I know many people can't and struggle to sleep on the plane. These boredom busters will have you looking forward to long flights and help you be prepared to use your time wisely.
The best advice I ever got from a travel buddy was during a very long train ride. I started complaining and she just simply said "learn to daydream" I have taken that with me for years.
The beauty of technology makes long haul flights so much more bearable. Be prepared beforehand. Have your entertainment sorted before boarding the flight. Remember to power up your devices and perhaps even power up your portable chargers if the flight is that long. Here are some key suggestions on what and where to download preflight:
Download some great Podcasts
Download and stock up on your favourite podcast. Use this time to be entertained and to learn something new. Some of my favourite travel Podcast include:
Download from Netflix beforehand
Using budget airlines means unless you pay for it, you won't have entertainment in that tempting looking screen ahead of you. If you are smart about it you can download movies and your favourite tv series on your phone, tablet or laptop and enjoy catching up on your favourite episodes.
Explore New Music
What a great way to discover new music. Download it the night before so you can build up the anticipation. You’ll either love or hate it. Use gnoosic to find new music. It asks for 3 types of bands/artists you like and then suggests a new artist to discover.
Download your favourite music
If the above sounds like too much organisation, just download your favourite playlists from spotify (premium) and listen to music on the plane. It sure beats hearing nothing and you can pair it with some of the below suggestions.
Download a game app
You know all those horribly addictive games on your phone that waste so much of your time. Well, now you can waste all the time in the world. Candy Crush for hours. "Tetris-ify" your entire plane ride. Nobody can judge you!
When all else fails, the pen and paper really can't. I am not too organised so sometimes I forget to charge my electronics, this is when the pen and paper come in handy!
Use this time to catch up on writing. You don't need to be a blogger to enjoy this space. Write about your last trip, keep a travel journal. These are things that can't be bought - the memories - and you don't want to forget them.
Write down your goals
Write down your future goals, use the SMART goals technic (specific, measurable, accountable, realistic and time-based.). Break it down into years, months and days. Be specific about how you are going to achieve them, tell the world! (when you get off the plane).
Letter to yourself
Write a letter to yourself. Write all the things you are proud of, all the things you want to learn and do and what you love and wish to improve on yourself. This is a great self-actualisation project. It is different from your goals, but they do go wonderfuly hand in hand.
Write an inflight meal review
This is just a bit of fun and more likley it will come about when you have hit a certain boredom level. But it can be a great exercise in creativity and a nice fun way to keep boredom light hearted.
Generally this does require another player. If I am travelling with someone we normally keep the rule that only words or memories from the trip can be used. Keeps it themed and makes the memories of the trip last a little longer.
Quotes from the last trip
There is always some fantastic moments and memories made during travel trips. This is a good way to kill time and live through those memories. A great way to remember the fantastic moments and conversations that you had during your last trip and get you excited for this trip or feel okay about going home.
Primetime to get your reading done. I tend to carry a kindle so my bags don't get bulked down with books. I like to travel light. But each to their own. With a paperback, you can never run out of battery and when someone takes an interest in talking to you, its easier to break the ice with a paperback than a kindle - but hey, each to their own. Here are my go-to reading suggestions:
Personal development book
Take this time to work on you! Read a self-help book or personal development book. I personally can recommend:
48 laws of power: this is great for personal development, making sure people in your life are not putting the power over you and learning about history at the same time.
Read a book about the country you are travelling in.
This is your perfect time to catch up on reading. We have a “before you travel” section which gives book recommendations based on the country you are travelling to. Get that out before you go.
I LOVE audiobooks. It means I don't have to carry anything but my smart phone. It also helps with certain books as some as just too long to read. I am particular about my audio books and here are some I found works so well on audiable:
Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. It may sounds boring, but it is very fascinating, just best explained on audiobook.
Atlas Shrugged - This book is LONG! but amazing! Listening in Audiobook will make you feel like it is an old school radio show. I wouldn't recommend it any other way.
Organise your budget
You might as well know what you are in for when travelling. Take that pen and paper, write down your expected costs, things you are happy to spend on and some you are not. This way you can program into your head how your budget will be and avoid giving in to unplanned splurges. And it's fun to think about your trip. If you are returning from your trip, then perhaps its time to think about saving for the next one.
Plan your trip
This is where a guide book can come in handy, or simply save all of your favourite blog posts to pocket, which is an offline library for web articles. I always recommend wiki travel and If you go over to our resources page you can find other great information sites, think a lonely planet and more.
Learn a language
This is the perfect time to dust off your language skills on the country you are going to. You can check out our article on apps to learn languages to choose which app would suit your learning style. Or check out our resources page under learning languages.
Work on your abs
I'm not saying you should get down and start crunching for 5 hours left of the plane ride. But you could try these brilliant desk exercises to work some muscles.
- Calf muscle toning: Give your calf muscles a work out by raising your legs up on the very tips of your toes while remaining seated. Your calf muscles should start to burn after a few seconds
- Clenches: The beauty of this exercise is that you aren’t getting up and no one knows that you are secretly fitting in a workout. Clench your buttocks and hold for ten seconds.
- Crunches: Move to the edge of your seat and lean back on the backrest. Then lift your straightened legs a few inches above the ground and raise your back a few inches off the backrest. Feel the burn in your abdominal muscles and hold for ten seconds.
- Leg Lifts: Starting with both feet flat on the floor, do leg lifts, starting first with the right leg and then the left. Lift each leg until it touches the underside of your desk.
Write down questions to things you don’t know:
Play the philosopher. Go, on, get a little crazy. Write down questions to things you just don't know. Write as many as possible and when you are back on wifi you can search for the answers.
Organise your bag (try to have the seat to yourself)
Granted this only works if you have the space to do it.