A flight from New York to Bucharest is more than 8 hours, and that’s without factoring in the layover.
That’s 8 hours you’re sitting in a cramped seat next to someone you probably don’t know. Are you relying on the in-flight entertainment system to get you through? What if you don’t like the movies? What if your screen is broken? What if you have a broken headphone jack? Planning to binge watch Netflix? Not all airlines offer wifi, and some that do will still make you pay for it, even on transatlantic crossings.
The fact is that any number of things can happen that will leave you with nothing to do on a long haul flight. Here’s a list of 8 things you can do to stave off boredom.
Watch movies on your laptop or tablet
As long as you’re not flying through one of the 10 airports that are on the TSA laptop travel ban list you’ll be able to have your laptop or tablet with you. But don’t count on your streaming services. You may not have access to wifi on the plane. Put movies or television shows directly onto your device or an external hard drive before you leave.
Also, if you can get an external charger or USB charger for your device, go for it. Most planes don’t have a place for regular plugs for charging, but there are usually USB ports somewhere on the in-flight entertainment system panel. And if you can’t use that, turn on power-saver and airplane mode to stretch out your battery life.
Stock-up your e-reader
Not everyone likes to read on flights, and that’s ok, but if you do, don’t try to pack enough paperbacks to get you through your flight and vacation. Books can be heavy and take up valuable space in your carry-on.
I’m sure most people who make international trips regularly already have an e-reader, or a reader app on their laptop or tablet. But you never know how many pages you’ll get through, so stock up on books before you leave, Bookbub offers some good deals and freebies. And remember your USB charger.
Find a podcast (or 2) to love
Podcasts are great. You can download them to your smart phone, iPod, or tablet. So even if you’re traveling computer free, you still have something to listen to.
The other great thing is that there are podcasts on just about every subject, so whatever you’re interested in, odds are good you can find something you like. And if you’re not sure what you like, I’m sure you know someone who has a favorite they’re dying to share. If not, The Atlantic, Time, and DAILYTEKK all have recommendations. Just be sure to download them before you leave on your trip.
Brush up Your Language Skills
If you are lucky enough to be on a flight with wifi, you might use your travel time to brush up on some key phrases in the local language of your destination.
Duolingo is a free app that helps you learn a new language in short and easy to digest lessons. They don’t offer courses in every language, but they have a decent selection. The best part? The app is available on Android and iOS.
The problem with long flights is that you’re stuck on a flying tube for several hours. You’re bound to
develop a few kinks. Offset that by getting up and taking a walk up the aisle every hour or so.
If the airline staff isn’t thrilled with that, and with all the security concerns these days they may not be, you can always stretch in or near your seat with these handy Yoga exercises.
Strike up a conversation
Go offline for a little while and have an old fashioned conversation with the person sitting next to you, or across the aisle. You never know, you might make a travel buddy or find love.
There are a couple apps that will be launching soon that will help you meet people on your flights: Wingman and airsocial aren’t running yet, but you can sign up to be notified when they go live.
And if you’re interested in a little travel romance, Airdates goes live in a little over a month.
Plot to take over the world
This one is more fun if you’re traveling with people you know, but if the strangers you’re sitting with have a good sense of humor, go nuts. If you’re not sure how to do this don't worry, it’s very simple, you and the people you’re with come up with ways to take over the world and discuss how you’ll rule in the aftermath.
This is actually one of my favorite road trip activities.
When all else fails you can always try getting some shut eye. If this is the route you want to take, I suggest investing in some good noise canceling headphones, an eye-mask, and a comfortable neck pillow.
You can also use white noise apps, both free and paid, to help you settle in and doze off. Check out simplynoise.com for starters.