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Tina Ann

Ten Ways to Survive a Long-Haul Flight


The thought of a long plane ride causes many would-be travelers to hesitate on taking that life-changing trip. This is just simply silly, my friends. It’s all in the planning. Most travelers plan their “must-do” lists of the places they are traveling to but how many of plan for the journey there?

Well, I’m here to help you. Over the many years and hundreds (if not thousands of miles) in the air, I’ve come to a happy place when it comes to flying. Come with me as I share with you my ten ways to enjoy a long-haul flight.

One: Binge Watch a Season of a New Show

My go-to mode of entertainment is one I actually look forward to: downloading and binge-watching a season of a show from Netflix, iTunes, or Amazon Prime. There are so many new shows out there but during my regular day-to-day life, I seem to find it difficult to find the time to just sit and watch a new show. So when I know I will be spending some time in the air, I download several shows (or the whole season) onto my iPad or iPhone. This is seriously how I became a super fan of Game of Thrones. To be honest though, I was somewhat embarrassed when I watched some racier scenes on the flight and I could tell my seat neighbor was watching too.  Oh well, I’ve come to a point in my life that certain things just don’t seem to embarrass me anymore.

Two: Read a Good Book

I seriously love reading! My list of “must-reads” grow exponentially so when I have a flight, I make it a point to start a new book. Most of the time, I download a copy onto my Kindle White but sometimes a friend will give me a book that they recommended. I only take paperbacks in this case since the weight of a hardback is too much.

Three: Dollar Store Score

I am a frequent shopper of the dollar store (one of my many ways to save for travel). In the book aisle, I find small paperback copies of crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and word searches. This way, in between my binge-watching and reading, I can take a break from the screen and challenge my cognitive abilities. I know many people love to take a coloring book but I find the movement of the plane ride causes me to color outside the lines and my type-A personality does not handle that well.

Four: Write a Love/Thank You Letter

I am so grateful for the people in my life and I often forget to properly thank them. Before a flight, I bring with me some pre-addressed thank you cards to fill out. Even if I am out of the country, I make it a point to mail these cards from wherever I am. Can you imagine the feeling you would get if you received a thank you card all the way from Zimbabwe?

This is also a good time for me to write love letters to my husband and children. So often, we take the ones closest to us for granted. I make it a point to tell them how much I love them on a daily basis but a hand-written note takes on a different meaning altogether. This allows us to really think about what we love about our closest family members and friends.

Five: Clean up your iPhone

If you are like me, you probably have thousands of pictures and random videos. If you don’t want to part with that random picture of your foot, back up these pictures to an external hard drive and clear up some space for those fabulous pictures you are going to take on your life-changing trip. I often take multiple shots of the same picture so I go through and find the best one, back it up, and delete the rest. You’ll thank yourself later when you go to take that once-in-a lifetime picture.

Six: Play an Insane amount of Candy Crush

If you are not into Candy Crush, try Bejeweled or whatever game your heart desires. Most long-haul flights now have USB ports to charge your phone should you drain your battery. If not, see steps two, three, or four.

Seven: Learn a New Skill

Before my last long-haul flight, I found a neat little book at Barnes and Nobles on Origami. I packed this little book and some Origami paper and perfected the swan. My dinosaur still needs work though. The little boy in the seat in front of me loved these new toys and his mother was beyond thankful. If Origami is not your idea of fun, how about learning a new language or sketching in pencil? Now, I would not suggest needlepoint or woodworking (TSA may frown of those ideas). However, there are quite a few possibilities for learning when you are forced to stay in one place for numerous hours.

Eight: Memorize those great 80’s classics

There is something magical about those 80’s greatest hits. This was the decade of Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Prince, and Michael Jackson. Whenever I hear the music, I can’t help but sing along. Now, if you are like me, you often butcher those songs with words that are not really in the originals. Before a long-haul flight, I save copies of the lyrics to my phone or iPad so when I am listening to the music, I can lip-sync to them. Remember how I said certain things don’t embarrass me anymore? This is definitely one of them. If being embarrassed does bother you, then wait till your seat neighbor is sleeping. Live is too short. Music soothes our souls so rock out!

Nine: In-Flight Entertainment

Long haul flights usually have some type of inflight entertainment so take advantage of the not-so-latest blockbuster movies. My kids love this. It seems as though before they even have their seatbelts on, they are checking out what is on the screen in the seatback in front of them. Once, my boys were disappointed when we finally landed in London after a 12-hour flight because they had a couple more movies they wanted to see.

Ten: Start a Bucket List

If you don’t already have one, this is a great time to create one. Now, this is not the place to put together your “honey-do” lists. Save that for later. Instead, focus on what it is your heart truly desires. Do you want to run a marathon? Put it down. Is volunteering in Borneo a dream of yours? Add it to the list. We are given a finite amount of time. When we create a bucket list, we remind ourselves that feeding our soul requires fulfilling our dreams.

So there you have it! Ten great ways to enjoy a long-haul flight. Do you have a great idea as well? Comment below and share your thoughts.