Hey there friends! I’m starting to schedule out all my travel for 2022, which got me thinking about how much time I’ll be spending in the air this year. I think long flights are totally worth it to reach some pretty incredible destinations, but when it comes to flying, most people seem to either really love it or really hate it.
For some people, a couple of hours (or more!) in the air is an opportunity to take advantage of some alone time. For others, being on a plane is endless discomfort cramped in a small seat next to strangers (or worse, relatives!).
Whichever camp you fall into, if you do a lot of traveling, hours on a plane can start to feel mundane. It’s been a little while since I’ve posted new travel tips, so I’ve rounded up my top 10 most fun things to do on a plane to give you some creative inspiration for your next flight. Fly safe!
#1: Check Out the In-Flight Entertainment
If you’re traveling on a new(ish) plane or on a long-haul flight (more than 7 hours), then you’re probably going to get more than just a couple free snacks—you’re probably going to have free access to in-flight entertainment!
Enjoying the in-flight entertainment is one of the most popular and easy things to do on a plane. Most planes are equipped with screens on the back of seats that give travelers free access to games, television shows, movies, podcasts, and even fitness classes (depending on the airline)!
Whatever mood you’re in, you’re sure to find something entertaining to enjoy. And the best part is, you don’t even have to pack anything in advance!
#2: Start a Travel Journal
I’ve mentioned before that I like to keep a travel journal to remember all my favorite adventures. If starting a travel journal always seems to fall to the bottom of your to-do list once you’re home, then the plane ride is the perfect place to start. All you need to pack is a notebook and a pen to get started recording your memories.
If you’re just starting out on your trip, you can document your experiences so far and the things you’re excited about. If you’re on your way home, record as much of your trip as you want. And remember, your travel journal can look however you want! If you’re not a writer, you can still “journal” with drawings, photos, or other mementos that will help you remember the fun of the trip.
#3: Play Games
When you’re stuck on a plane, games are a fun way to break up the hours and keep your mind engaged. These days, as long as your plane has wifi, you probably have access to tons of games right from your phone.
If you don’t have wifi or you prefer more “classic” games, then pack a sudoku or crossword book (you can find these at a lot of airport kiosks) or bring a deck of cards. Who knew that tray table was such a perfect size for a game of solitaire!
If you’re traveling with a companion, there’s always hangman or tic-tac-toe. Forgot a pad of paper? Try 20 questions or I spy!
I love using a long-haul flight to finally read that book that’s been on my nightstand for months. What better way to entertain yourself than to check out that novel all your friends have been talking about? And if reading sends you to sleep, so be it—you’ve got nowhere else to be!
If a book seems like it will take up too much space in your carry-on, you can download books ahead of time on an e-reader. If you have a library card, you can even check out ebooks from the library and download them on your e-reader.
#5: Binge the Podcast, Book Series, or TV Show You Haven’t Had Time For
These days, there’s always new and binge-worthy content being released. Whether you’ve been dying to watch Squid Game, listen to Serial, or finally read all the Harry Potter books, now is the time for guilt-free binging!
Make sure you plan ahead, since it’s not guaranteed the series you want to watch or listen to will be available in the in-flight entertainment. You might think there’s no way you’ll be able to watch an entire season of Game of Thrones, but I believe in you—so make sure you download all the episodes ahead of time so you won’t be left on the edge of your seat with hours left in your flight!
#6: Adult Coloring Book
Coloring isn’t just for kids—in fact, for many people of all ages, coloring is a meditative and relaxing activity. If you’re picturing a bunch of farm animals under a cloudless sky, think again—coloring books for adults are often filled with complex patterns or motivational quotes to engage your brain and your hands. Pack a set of colored pencils and your favorite coloring book and you’re guaranteed to have hours of enjoyment on your next flight.
#7: Make Friends
I’ve sat next to some really fascinating people on flights—I even have a friend who met their spouse on a flight! I know socializing with strangers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but in a bind, getting to know your flight attendant or making friends with the person sitting next to you can help pass the time and even build your confidence!
#8: Get Some Work Out of the Way
Nobody wants to think about work while on vacation, but if you’ve got a couple of deadlines hanging over your head (or just need to update your out of office status), then the plane ride can be an ideal time to get work out of the way before the fun really gets started.
If you work remotely and travel, then time on the plane can help you to get organized so you have more time to enjoy your destination once you arrive.
#9: Learn a Few Phrases in the Language of Your Destination
If you’re traveling internationally, it’s good to know a couple of words and phrases to help you get around. While most of us aren’t fluent in another language, the plane ride can be a good time to brush up on your high school Spanish class or read that book on Japanese phrases you brought. There are also tons of apps to help with memorization and pronounciation of a new language.
#10: Reorganize Your Bag and Phone
I don’t know about you, but by the end of a trip my carry-on is a mess of receipts, crushed snacks, and empty wrappers. I love spending a few minutes on the flight to clean out my bag; once I arrive home, it’s so much easier to unpack!
The plane ride can also be a good time to clean out your phone. Delete duplicate pictures, apps you don’t use, and those people in your contacts you can’t even remember. You’ll be surprised at how much space you have when you get rid of what you don’t need!
There’s So Much To Do On Your Next Flight
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my top 10 travel tips for things to do on a plane. If you’re traveling soon, I hope this empowers you to enjoy your flight instead of dreading it. If you’re looking for travel inspiration for 2022, I have lots of recommendations—check out my guides to Italy, the Netherlands, and Nicaragua!