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Things to do on a long flight

Things to do on a long flight

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.

Things to do on a long flight

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!

Things to do on a long flight

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!

Travel Journalling

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.

Things to do on a long flight

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.

Who can forget the best seller “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Light-hearted but self help all at the same time makes for some easy reading.

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.

You can get a free trial from Amazon and if you pick books that are more pricey, then the free credit practically makes the subscription free.

Things to do on a long flight

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.

Things to do on a long flight

Snap Pictures 

This really only works on the window seat, otherwise it is slightly creepy. Snap some cloud photos of what you can see. They also make great textures for backgrounds of photos.

Edit photos

I find this to be a great time to relax, jump on photoshop and start editing your photos.

Make a cartoon flip book 

I have not done this since I was a kid in school and was bored by whatever my teacher was preaching about. Make a little cartoon flip book of whatever you wish. I suggest using a post it not pad or small but thick note book.

Edit videos

Go pros are cool, there is no doubt about that. Holiday videos are awesome! But its the editing to make it suck. The time-consuming act that you never get around to. Well just like you photos now you can save time and save space on your computer by sizing up and deleting crap from your videos

Learn to draw

Pick up an adult learn to draw book and zone out to learning a new and cool skill.

You Can Draw in 30 Days:

Colouring in for adults

Colouring books for adults are super theraputic. Here are some of my favourites:

Travel Between the Lines Adult Coloring Book: Inspirational Coloring for Globetrotters and Daydreamers

Travel Between the Lines Coloring Mexico: An Adult Coloring Book for Globetrotters and Daydreamers

The Amazing World Of Horses: Adult Coloring Book

Mandala Coloring Book: World’s Most Beautiful Mandalas for Stress Relief and Relaxation

And why not invest in some good colours with tints etc:


Knitting, origami, a hobby of some sort

it can be knitting or perhaps origami. Whatever it be, its a hobby.

Puzzle book

Take a crossword or find a word puzzle. Perhaps even a find a word puzzle in a different language. I personally love suduku (on phone or puzzle book)

Things to do on a long flight


Design your perfect day

This is a fun little exercise and it only needs imagination, a pen and paper. You can even design how your perfect day might look on holidays or as you are coming back. Think of things you have been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to. Think of things that are slightly out of your comfort zone but you want to get them done. Talk yourself into them all through mind map and plane bordem

Think of things you need to improve in life and mind map how you can do them

Make your bucket list:

This is different to the perfect day as it is long term desires. 

Shapes in clouds

Spend some time letting your imagination go wild. make shapes and images at the clouds


I know this sounds silly but it is possible. Take this time to do some meditation.

Invent reasons why passengers are on the flight

The couple on your left are most certainly leaving Canada on a drug deal. That bag they keep so close to them is just too dam close for my liking. The air hostess, well she is on this flight to chase after a long lost lover… in fact, she isn’t even an air hsotess!… you get where this is going.

Things to do on a long flight


Annoy your neighbour

What better way to make a friend. You are both sat there doing nothing, you might as well get to know each other. Of course, access this one and gauge your vibe as to whether your neighbour likes to talk on the plane or not. 


I always carry a pack of cards with me or a small mini-game like this mini connect 4. Both things don’t take up any space but they are great fun and a cool ice breaker. A pack of cards is perfect as it is something you can do solo as well. Who doesn’t love Solitaire

Write postcards

Catch up on sending your loved ones postcards, write the postcards on the plane and send them when you get to your destination.


Now I’m not condoning this, but I kind of am. Listen in on your fellow passengers

Talk with cabin crew

Pre-write messages

Write messages to send when you get wifi


Things to do on a long flight

The reading, music, movies and writing is gone…. there is only so much of this you can take! Here are a few things you can do that might save your sanity.

Find typos in magazines or books: There is always something around you to read. It could be the inflight magazine, a newspaper, book or even the packets your food comes from. Put on your attention to detail hat and find those typos. There is always one, somewhere.

Make your own Cocktails – Amazon sells these super cute and stylish carry-on cocktail packets.

Get drunk 

Go on! Just have that extra gin and tonic! Who’s judging…. Besides, it keeps the boredom at bay and lets the imagination run loose. It may give you some dutch courage to talk to your neighbour. Or it may just send  you to sleep. Win Win!

Take time when eating

Take your time when you are eating. Enjoy your main part of the meal slowly and save the snacks for later as a bit of a reward. On some good airlines like emirates, I find I end up with too much food anyway.

Organising your check-in luggage right!

Carry what you need. Pack it organised. This will make you feel more prepared and you wont miss something important. The best way to stay organised would be to use packing cubes as well as a cord roll or go one even better and get the ProCase Travel Gear Organizer Electronics Accessories


Find the cheapest flights

Hands down, my favourite way to find flights is through Skyscanner. However there are many other cheap flight websites like secret flight. You can visit a whole array of website son our ultimate travel resources page under “transport” and “flight” (there is over 22 resources) so you can certainly find your favourite.


  1. Roslie says:

    These are excellent tips and efficient ways to pass the time on long flights. Reading and podcasting are my go-to when flying. Thanks for sharing!

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