2015 was a year of crazy traveling for me and as someone who does not particularly enjoy being on a plane, I always make sure to bring anything and everything I can think of to distract myself during these flights. Unfortunately for me, sleeping is usually not in the cards so I do my best to keep myself entertained, yet relaxed, so I'm not too jet lagged when I arrive! Since I've developed quite a few strategies to endure long flights - I thought I'd share some of my favorite on-a-plane-self-distraction techniques!
1. Write in a Journal
If you're someone like me who regularly loves to journal, reflecting and writing in a journal is a lovely way to pass time. If journaling isn't a part of your regular routine or if you're looking for additional inspiration, there are fantastic lists of journal prompts out there that can help jumpstart your creative thinking!
2. Doodle or Color
I'm not the best artist in the world, but it's something that I want to continue to improve on. In my everyday life, it can be hard to find times where I can sit down and practice drawing but being on a plane really forces me to focus on things I can do with just pen and paper! Recently, I've been practicing zentangles - a fun form of creative, pattern doodling.
I am obsessed with podcasts. I listen to them nonstop all the time - in the shower, in the car, at work - literally all the time! The great thing about podcasts is the sheer variety of content that is available today - everything from educational language learning podcasts, to not-safe-for-work comedy podcasts - there's bound to be something that strikes your fancy. My personal favorites? Ted Radio Hour & Hidden Brain (both educational and entertaining!).
Okay, yes, audiobooks are kind of along the same line as podcasts but I think what people don't realize is that there are ways to get free audiobooks that you can listen to from your local library! I use an awesome app called Overdrive which allows me to download audiobooks from my library back home directly onto my iPhone. While the selection of audiobooks is still pretty limited in comparison to in-house library books, you really can't beat being able to download free audiobooks straight to your phone.
I love playing time management games so when it's time to hop on a plane, I re-download all of my favorites and try to replay the entire series during the course of my flight! If you're a crazy planner like me, you might enjoy time management games from the "dash" series like Diner Dash and Cooking Dash. Another one of my favorite games - which is a little less stressful to play - is Flow. Plus: if I need to double distract myself, I play games and listen to podcasts at the same time. The multitasking capabilities of our technology nowadays are endless :)
6. Binge TV Shows
This is probably the most common plane entertainment method because who doesn't love a good TV binge if you're already confined to a seat anyway? I have a running list of TV shows that I've been meaning to start watching and I find that starting these shows on a plane is a great way to really get into a show. Since I'm confined to a seat for hours anyway, I can really focus on the plot and get to know the characters without getting distracted. My most recent plane binge was Season 1 of Girls - I'm officially hooked!
If you can really get into a good book, reading is definitely one of the easiest ways to make time pass on a plane. For me, I find that checking out fantasy fiction books helps pass the time more quickly since these plots tend to draw you in and keep you engrossed for longer. Magazines are also great for reading on planes since they are usually quick, but fascinating reads that you can easily toss and not have to haul around with you during your travels.
For me, having puzzles like Sudoku or a Rubik's Cube (mini one I like to bring!) on hand are also an awesome way to keep my mind occupied. Puzzles can easily suck you in as you're trying to figure things out and before you know it, half an hour has passed! While it's nice to have puzzle games on my phone, I find that it can be very therapeutic to have physical puzzle books I can work through. I have a couple of Sudoku books like this one that are easy to carry around and toss when I'm finished!
If you do not already own a portable external battery, get one! These little buggers are very affordable, super easy to carry around, and easily give your phone an extra 1.5-2 charges - and when another charge of your phone means 5 more hours of TV you can watch on a plane, this becomes invaluable! I have this cute little lipstick size battery that has been an absolute life saver when I'm on the go.
Sitting for hours on a cramped plane doesn't have to be painful if you find the best ways to entertain yourself and make the most of your time! What are your strategies for surviving long plane rides? I'd love to hear your thoughts!