5 things to do on a long-haul flight
Although a lot of people tend to rely on the in-flight entertainment systems, I was once on a flight where that system malfunctioned and left hundreds of passengers staring at a black screen for hours. Never again. So here are a few ideas on how to keep your eyes off the journey-tracker!
Drawing, editing, writing, colouring...
If practice makes perfect then your flight is more than enough time to get that practice in!
You could doodle in a notebook or pack your set of coloured markers! If you prefer working with textiles then pop some plastic crochet hooks or knitting needles in your hand-luggage! A few hours is the perfect amount of time to work on a few chapters of that novel, edit a YouTube video, or make a few paper cranes.
Skin-care, nail-care, hair-care, self-care...
This is you-time.
Maybe you're into meditation or stretching to relax your limbs, or keeping a diary to clear your mind. Maybe now is the time to re-write your yearly goals and dreams for the future. Maybe brushing your teeth, taking off your bra, filing your nails, and using deodorant is all you need to feel good on your journey. Since airplanes get cold and dry, feel no shame in swapping your jeans for fluffy pyjamas or socks, and slapping on a sheet mask.
Magazines, novels, comics, a phrasebook...
A gripping story can be a great distraction from the long journey ahead of you.
An e-reader is slim and portable and allows you to access a multitude of books for a fraction of the weight. Audio books work in a similar way, and give you a good reason to use noise-cancelling earphones. However, sometimes a thick tangible book just can’t be beaten. A book in always in my travel bag!
Sleeping pills, essential oils, white noise, deep breathing...
If you manage to nod off, a few minutes to a few hours could pass without you even noticing!
Although I don't condone it for long-term health reasons, I have forced myself to stay awake with coffee prior to take-off and had a few glasses of red wine to help me nod off.
To help my body adjust to the new time zone, I use an app called Twilight on my phone and a program called f.lux on my laptop to reduce the amount of blue light stimulating my brain and keeping me awake.
The worst part about sleeping on any flight is missing the food and drink carts go by. In general, the first meal tends to be within an hour after take-off, and the last meal tends to be within 3 hours before landing. If you're in an aisle seat, stick your toe into the aisle so that the refreshments cart can gently bump into it and wake you. If you're wearing earphones then removing the bud closest to the aisle allows you to hear half of what's going on around you.
Puzzles & Games
Word-searches, crosswords, cards, mazes, puns and riddles...
These brain-stimulating games keep your mind busy and active.
While the in-flight entertainment system should stock a few puzzles, there are several offline apps you could download. I myself am a sucker for Rummikub and Sudoku. However, if you go old-school with pen and paper then you don't have to worry about draining your battery, just your ink!
Hopefully I helped you find something else to do on your next long-haul flight! If you do your preparation for travel day ahead of time then you will be spoiled for choice!