Hello, summer! For many, this year marks the official return of epic vacations after months of halted travel plans due to the pandemic. If it’s been so long since you’ve booked air travel that you don’t even know where your passport is, you may need a refresher on how to travel like a pro and common mistakes to avoid when packing.
Something else integral to an enjoyable flight? Have things to do on the airplane to pass the time. After all, you can only catch some z’s for so long. When you learn how to keep busy on a long flight overseas or even a short jaunt a few states away, the plane ride becomes something you can look forward to almost as much as the vacation itself.
Here are eight great ways to pass the time from the time you buckle up until the plane touches down:
Catch up on Movies
International flights aren’t just known for tiny pillows and dinner service; one of the greatest perks is access to in-flight entertainment – namely, dozens of shows and movies for free. Getting to binge watch movie after movie is one of the most fun things to do on a plane, and it allows you to catch up on what you might have missed in theaters or even sample foreign films you didn't know existed.
If you’re flying domestic, make sure you’ve downloaded the movies and TV shows you want to watch on your smartphone or laptop before takeoff in case your plane doesn’t have screens.
Give your smartphone a break and pass the time onboard with a good old fashioned deck of cards. Have fun playing games like Solitaire, or if you’re traveling with a friend or family member, try your hand at War or Go Fish.
Have Fun with your Travel Buddy
If you’re lucky enough to travel with a friend, you’ll be glad to pass the time with one another. Prep a playlist to share with them, play tic tac toe, share photos from your phones, plan your vacation excursions, or just spend the time chatting – but be mindful not to disturb others around you.
Bring Mini Games to Play
Travel-sized games are awesome for making time fly. Utilize the tray tables for chess, checkers, Rummicube, Scrabble, Bannangrams, and more. Or, before takeoff, download two-player games on your phones to enjoy during the flight.
Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast
Figuring out what to do on a plane is easy when you have plenty of options. Download several audiobooks or podcasts before turning your phone on airplane mode. Give yourself a variety so you have something for any mood and spend your time immersed in stories or learning something new.
Crossword and Wordsearch
Crossword puzzles, word searches, and Soduku are not only fun, but they’re also solid brain building exercises that can help you pass the time.
Read a Book
Go old school and pack a book or read one on your Kindle. Being thousands of feet in the air with or without wi-fi is a great excuse to get caught up on some reading. Grab a classic or dive into a book you picked up in the airport. Magazines are another option that will have you lost in the pages for a while.
Learn a Language
Another way to pass the time while flying is by working on your language skills — especially if you’ll need to know a few key phrases once you’ve arrived at your destination. Print out worksheets to complete during your flight, listen to podcasts in another language, download an app that gamifies learning, or practice with a bi-lingual travel buddy, if possible.