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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Filling Your Time on the Plane

I know a lot of people dread plane rides and packing for one. In my last post I talked about what to wear on the plane and now I’d like to talk about how to enjoy flying, even in your cramped economy seat, when you aren’t sleeping, because that’s not always easy or an option. (See that jet lag post I wrote.) When you have hours ahead of you where you’re basically stuck in a seat, how do you keep yourself entertained? I bring a range of things, because I almost always travel with my husband, but a lot of times he likes to sleep and I’m on my own.

Games – I love games. I bring several different kinds – ones for just me and ones to play with others. I have a favorite game that I take with me everywhere, even when I’m not traveling. Fluxx is a game that never gets old, because the rules change as you play, as well as the way to win. Through goal, action and rule cards you try to beat your fellow players and outwit them so they don’t win. A typical game lasts about 10-15 minutes, but we have played with six people and played for an hour. Unfortunately, you can really only play with three people, tops, on the plane, because you need to be near each other and have the use of seat trays. There are several different versions and I have four or five and they are all fun.

A deck of cards can go a long way, as well as regular travel games everyone likes: Connect Four, Battleship (though those little pieces hurt your fingers), Guess Who and more. If you have kids, you might like Zigity. It’s a fantastic game from the makers of Cranium that asks players to spell, add, complete a picture and match objects. The cards are plastic coated, so they are pretty much child-proof. Spills and spit wipe right off!

For individual gaming, we bring handheld games (Nintendo DS) and the iPad mini, because it is a multipurpose gadget. I also like Pocket Posh range of notebook games and often carry one of logic problems around with me. They have ones for Sudoku, crosswords, acrostics, word find and just about any other paper game you love, in a convenient pocket-sized book.

Books – I’m a reader. I’m almost always in the middle of a book. I find it a great way to pass the time on the plane and to relax in the evening on my trip. Of course, books can take up a lot of space in your carry-on that you need for, I don’t know, clothes probably. Also, when you finish in the middle of your trip, you have two problems: 1. You need another book. 2. You’re stuck with a book you might want to keep taking up valuable packing room. This is where ebooks come in really handy. Your tablet (or phone) not only lets you play games on it, but you can download the Kindle app on it and take a bunch of books in a little package. If you’re traveling with another book reader, like I do, I also bring my Kindle, because even the two together are still pretty slim and smaller than two books.
Don't take this many :)  |  photo credit

Magazines – I don’t always want to put forth the effort of reading chapter after chapter on the plane. Sometimes I just want to stare at pictures or read the latest celebrity news. This is when I turn to magazines. I always pack two-three in my carry-on. Yes, I know I can also get these on my tablet, which is a great option and space-saver, but I like turning pages and actual paper. Since I’m not carrying around copies of Vogue and Cosmo, an Entertainment Weekly and People takes up a lot less room and can slip into the outside pocket of my carry-on. And when I’m finished with them, I can leave them for the flight attendants or next traveler, making it an even better deal, because other people are reading them, too.

Movies – Sometimes your flight is long enough to have movies on the overhead. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to have your own screen in your seatback. If there’s neither, then you can always load some videos on your phone, tablet or laptop to amuse yourself with. Just make sure to bring your headphones, so you aren’t disturbing others.

Ideas jotted down in Evernote
Work – While not as fun as some other options, work may need to get done. As a blogger, inspiration can strike anywhere, so I need to jot ideas down when I think of them. I have Evernote on all my devices, so I can make notes and also work on blog posts wherever I am. I keep my editorial calendar and articles in the works for clients in Dropbox, which I also have on all my devices, so I can access anything important I need anywhere I go and share files as needed. This is a good place to store copies of your important documents, passport and credit cards, in case you lose them or find them gone missing at any time during your travels. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them.

There’s never a shortage of things to do or bring on the plane with you. Always remember a bottle of water and some snacks, just in case, because flying’s much better when you aren’t hungry or dehydrated.

How do you amuse yourself (and your spouse/family/child) on the plane?

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