Surely you’ve heard of the latest travel ban from the US + UK? If not, the latest airport security rule is that you can’t bring a tablet, eReader or laptop on board if you’re flying to the US or UK through select Middle Eastern airports, such as Dubai. The electronics ban has left many travelers in a panic when facing long haul flights of 8 or 12 hours (or even more) without their electronic device full of things to do. Have no fear, I’ve come up with a list of what to do on a long flight; 11 fun things that don’t need a large electronic device. PLUS, there 4 things you shouldn’t do that, believe it or not, some of y’all might be tempted to do.
Take advantage of your unplugged time and be one with your mind + a fresh notepad. Flesh out ideas for a new business venture, make a list of where you want to travel next, sketch out a new website wireframe. The brainstorming options are endless!
Color or draw
Pack an adult coloring book and a pack of gel pens or colored pencils and spend your flight coloring like a kid. Coloring is very calming, so this would be great for nervous flyers!
As of now, you can still bring your phone on board. Use your long flight to edit all of your trip photos with one of my favorite photo editing apps. Don’t forget a power bank to make sure your phone stays charged the entire flight.
Sometimes brainstorming can be too tedious, while journaling can be more of a release. Spend a portion of your long flight reflecting on your trip.
Listen to music
Check out the latest Beyoncé album or listen to pop hits from your childhood. If you don’t have music on your phone, check the entertainment system on your flight. Chances are high that it has a music section with a variety of musical genres.
Mind Puzzles + Crosswords
Pick up a fat edition of a puzzle book or tricky crosswords and a mechanical pencil. I’ve heard these types of activities are good for your brain.
Play a Game
Load a few games on your phone, like Minecraft or the latest incarnation of Candy Crush, and zone out for a few levels. A deck of classic playing cards bring endless game options. Or pack a travel version of your favorite childhood game, like Battleship or Connect Four.
There are these things made of paper called books, magazines + newspapers that don’t need a Kindle or iPad. Bring one from home or pop on over to the newsstand in the airport to stock up.
Pack that trusty travel pillow + a soft blanket and catch up on your zzzzs. Depending on the time zone you’re traveling to, sleeping at a strategic time can help beat jet lag. The key is to sleep only if it’s normal sleeping hours in the time zone you’re headed to.
Strike up a Conversation
If your seatmate seems up to it, strike up a conversation. You never know whether you’ll make a new friend, business contact or even meet the love of your life. Just don’t be annoying by forcing conversation on someone who clearly isn’t interested.
Watch a Movie or Show
Tap into your flight carrier’s entertainment system, which is likely well stocked with a variety of movies and tv shows both old and new. On a recent 14 hour flight, I blew through a ton of movies I had meant to see, but hadn’t had the time to catch in the movie theater. It was a nice opportunity to kick back like a couch potato for a day.
What Not to Do
So now that you have 11 great ideas on what to do with your time on a long haul flight without your laptop, Kindle or iPad, here’s a few things you shouldn’t do. Because sadly, I know some of y’all will be tempted given that you won’t have your precious electronics.
Yes, lots of flight carriers offer free booze on flights. But that doesn’t mean you should get trashed to pass the time or help yourself pass out. Gross!
Alcohol can make you dehydrated, as can flying, so piling on both is just not a good combo for your health. And this should go without saying, but you’re probably not as funny or witty as you think when you’re buzzed, so you’ll probably just make a fool of yourself too.
Groom Your Nails
Gag me. I always thought this was an unspoken rule, but clipping, filing or painting your nails on a plane is just plain gross. Not only will your nail clippings be flying all over the place (like in your seatmate’s drink), but the nail polish will stink up the cabin.
Hog the Bathroom
This happened on a recent flight. I waited nearly 30 minutes to use the bathroom because the 2 nearby my seat were both taken up by people doing who knows what. If you need to primp, either keep it super quick or do it in the terminal bathroom after you deplane.
Try to Sneak Your Device on the Plane
I agree – it’s a silly rule, but the rule is in place for everyone’s safety + protection. Hopefully it will be temporary and we can all go back to zoning out on our devices for 6, 12, 18 hours in no time.
Don’t be dumb + try to sneak your device onboard because you don’t agree with it. You’ll just end up having your device confiscated or checked (with less protection than there would be if you packed it properly in the first place) or even cause the flight to be massively delayed. Don’t be that jerk.
What are your tips for what to do on a long flight?