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World Traveled: The Best Ways to Keep Yourself Occupied on Long Flights

Everyone knows that the worst part about traveling is the long, exhausting plane ride to wherever your destination may be. Whether you can’t stay still because you’re overwhelmed with excitement or are utterly dreading your time in the air, it can be difficult to find ways to keep yourself entertained during your flight. If you find yourself stuck in that mid-flight stump, here are my personal favorite ways to keep busy during any flight.
1. Music
Personally, my go-to for music is Spotify Premium. While yes, you can enjoy music free without purchasing a premium package, Spotify Premium allows you to stream music offline. Not only is this great for places where you don’t have service (i.e. most parts of major airports), it allows you to listen to music while your phone is on airplane mode both on the plane itself and while you’re abroad. For its worth, Spotify Premium isn’t all that expensive with monthly packages starting at $4.99 with an .edu email address. They also offer free trials that range from 1 month to 3 depending on when you purchase a package.Apple Music offers similar streaming series to Spotify without a student discount. For $10.99 Apple Music has a larger selection than Spotify, however, offers the same streaming services as their competitor. If you’re lucky enough to have that much storage laying around in your iCloud (which I do envy you for) adding music the old-fashioned way is also a great way to be able to enjoy songs while your data/Wi-Fi is off abroad. Whether you download them through the Apple store, online downloading sites, or YouTube video converters, it’s easy to have all of the music that you enjoy sorted into one place.
2. Movies
Most international flights have an array of movies and television shows that you can choose from. From past experience, I can say that the movies are usually not too bad and include all different genres. They’re usually new releases and there’s always a wide selection of films to choose from. When it comes to television shows, they don’t have entire series similar to Netflix, however, they have a few episodes of well-known shoes (think Modern Family or Family Guy). If you aren’t interested in anything that the plane directory has to offer, it’s never a bad idea to bring your own movies. It’s easy to download your favorite movies and television shows through the Apple store and you can watch them right on your phone, tablet, or computer. Another alternative is bringing your own DVD player to play whatever you’d like. The only con is that these may weigh down your luggage or be a pain in the butt to carry. You’re also going to have to supply your own DVDs, which may deter you from taking this route.
3. Reading
Whether its catching up on some leisurely reading, getting ahead in a class, or reading through the tabloids, reading can be a great pastime on long flights. My personal favorite is buying a stack of magazines to keep my attention. But here’s a note: do not buy magazines, books, newspapers, or really anything that’s not essential at the airport. Prices are might lower at local convenience stores. So why spend extra money when it’s totally not needed? For longer flights, I’d suggest either bringing a few different books, a large stack of magazines, or a healthy mixture of both. Like most things, you may lose interest in one and will want to switch to something else. Wacky books such as books full of quotes, celebrity autobiographies, travel guides are also great things to add to your reading list.
4. Writing
The way that I’ll probably been enduring the next flight I take is through catching up on some writing. Whether it’s blogging (as in my case), homework for a class, creative writing, or your first entry in your travel journal (which I highly suggest!), long flights can be a great way for you to channel your inner writer and accomplish whatever you need to do. There are limited distractions (no social media) and the great views of cumulus and Stratus clouds could be great inspiration. If you aren’t interested in writing for any particular purpose, you can always use the time to brainstorm things like goals or bucket lists.
5. Miscellaneous Activities
The best gift that I received this holiday season was an adult coloring book. Along with that, puzzles, card games (I love Cards Against Humanity), mind games are great ways to pass time on long flights. Again, these may take up a lot of room in your backpack and/or carryon, but if they keep the flight bearable, it may be worth losing the extra space. Crafting, painting your nails, and taking time to spark a conversation with the person next to you can also be great ways to pass time.
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