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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Amuse Yourself on the Airplane 8.15.12

Unless you find yourself on some super short flights, chances are you are going to find yourself getting kind of bored flipping through SkyMall for the third time on your trip. That is, if your flight even has SkyMall. Or you have that same shopping addiction that Jonathan Coulton sings about. That’s definitely not going to save you any money, even if it saves your sanity. You want money left to be able to go on another vacation, so let’s look at some affordable ways to amuse yourself en route.

Solo amusements:

Low tech     
·         Bring along a good book or a few magazines. They won’t take up that much space and they will certainly keep you busy for a while, including those dreaded times when you must switch off all electronic devices.
·         Puzzle books are fun, can keep your brain active and can last for minutes or hours, depending on your attention span. I always have one of theseposh logic problem books with me, but they also have them in Sudoku, crosswords and more. They are compact and totally full of fun.

Mid tech
·         Play games on your phone on airplane mode. This may or may not take you through your whole flight unless you have some back-up battery for it.
·         Watch a movie on your laptop/netbook, catch up on homework or do some regular work that doesn’t require the interwebs (because we all know that in-flight WiFi is crazy expensive for what it is).
·         Bring your favorite handheld gaming device – I’m partial to the Nintendo DS, but I’m hoping to also get a PS Vita at some point – and a few of your favorite games. This works for kids and husbands!

High tech
·         If you read a LOT, invest in an ebook reader like the Kindle or KindleFire. I am never sure what exactly I want to read or find that I finish a book in the middle of my trip, so I can carry thousands with me, as well as magazines, graphic novels and blogs in the space of a regular paperback.
·         Watch movies, play games or journal on your iPad/iPod. These are multipurpose gadgets that pretty much do everything to keep you entertained forEVER…or until your battery runs out.

Couple/Group Amusements

Low tech
·         A good deck of cards is versatile. Play rummy, go fish or any other number of games with your travel companions. There are also:
·         Card games. My favorites are Fluxx – it’s the game with ever-changing rules! – WeDidn’t Playtest This at All – a completely ridiculous and awesome game for up to 10 – and Zigityby Cranium – a game with multiple ways to win and great for little ones, too.
·         MagicInk activity books hold a special place in my heart. When I was little, my mom and I traveled often and always bought these for our plane trips. As an adult, I still think they are fun, but probably kids will like them more than adults. Purchase them before you get to the airport and you’ll save. While you can do them alone (hence the magic ink), they are always more exciting with more, especially if you get the one that is trivia or games.

Photo Credit
Mid tech
·         Another vote goes to watching a movie on your laptop or netbook. Two to three people can watch it if it is situated in the middle. It also eliminates having to watch the crummy movie they may be playing on the overheads.

Photo Credit
High tech
·         Go head-to-head in a heated Mario Kart race or similar when you use the WiFi connectivity of two or more DSdevices. You don’t need actual WiFi, just to be close enough together for each device to detect the other.

Of course, there are a billion other ways to amuse yourself on the plane, but these are inexpensive (unless you don’t own a laptop/iPad/handheld gaming device, though they make great investments) and are easy to pack, too. We have done all these things in our travels and find them to be tried and true ways to keep from becoming bored and have also started some good conversations with other travelers.

What’s your favorite way to pass the time on the airplane?

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