Snagging some cheap tickets to a dream vacation destination is absolutely thrilling. But most travelers know that the actual plane ride isn’t anywhere near as fun. In some cases, airline flights can be downright dull. Next time you board an aircraft, you’ll want to be armed to the teeth with fun ways to pass the time. We’ve got ten of them right here.

Woman reading magazine and listening to music on airplane

  1. Listen to a podcast: Before you get to the airport (or at least, before you get up to board!), download a few podcasts or TED Talks to your mobile device or tablet. It’s a great way to learn something new or be swept away in a captivating story. Just make sure not to gasp too loudly at a plot twist and scare your neighbor.
  2. Tease your brain: Want a way to sharpen your mental skills and pass the time? Try doing a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or trivia. Even simple games on your tablet can quiz your knowledge or keep your mental reflexes sharp. For electronic quizzes and games, make sure to use your headphones and keep the sound low so you don’t disturb others.
  3. Have a snack: Some airlines — particularly those that offer discount travel options — don’t offer much in the way of snacks. Save some money and get some real nutrition by packing your own snacks at home. Feeling light-headed and grumpy while at 10,000 feet won’t be fun for anyone. Be sure to fuel up on high-protein options that don’t stink up the entire plane.
  4. Download an audiobook: You’re going to get bored quickly if you aren’t challenging or occupying yourself. A mindless magazine or drab book from the airport gift shop isn’t going to cut it. But listening to a beloved entertainer read their memoirs or a mystery writer recite their twisted tale can be just the thing to get you through your airline flights. Look for recommendations and make sure to download them before take-off.
  5. Catch some zzz’s: It may sound basic, but sleeping on a plane can be one of the best ways to kill time. That’s assuming you have a comfortable neck pillow and an eye mask. Bring these along and download some music to help you doze off during a long flight.
  6. Watch the in-flight entertainment: Again, this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking suggestion. But it’s still a very popular one. Some airlines don’t offer this option — but if you’re on board a flight that does, this can be a great way to see that new movie you missed in theaters or binge watch a brand new show. Arguably, there’s no more enjoyable way to get through a flight.
  7. Learn a new language: Whether you’re going to Germany, France, or Hong Kong, it can’t hurt to become a bit more familiar with the native language of your destination. Rather than relying on Google Translate, picking up a few choice phrases can add a lot to your experience.
  8. Fill up your coloring book: Coloring isn’t an activity that’s limited to young passengers; plenty of adults enjoy it too, thanks to its ability to provide relaxation and reduce one’s anxiety. Pick up a couple of grown-up editions and some colored pencils to keep your stress levels low and your creativity high.
  9. Start a travel journal: Whether you’re traveling a few states away or to an entirely different country, keeping a travel journal can allow you to express your feelings and commit cherished experiences to memory forever. Instead of feeling the need to post constantly on social media, you can make this trip special just for you.
  10. Pamper yourself: Airline flights actually provide a great opportunity to practice some self-care. Put on a face mask, try some meditation, do some stretching, and put on a pair of comfy slippers. Take the time to check in with yourself and assess what you need before landing.

There’s no reason airline flights need to be unbearable. With this list, the time you spend up in the air will (literally) fly by.

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