How to Stay Entertained on a Cross-Country Flight

Traveling is fun, but getting from here to there is sometimes a little boring. You can’t wait to get where you’re going, but during the interim when you’re actually traveling, it’s up to you to entertain yourself. You could always sleep through the entire flight, but there’s nothing engaging about that. Plus, it can leave you feeling dazed and drowsy after you land. Consider a few creative options instead.

Bring a Book

Reading is one of the best ways to while away the hours. Once you get lost in a romantic journey, a thrilling adventure, or a historical epic, it’s easy to lose track of time. You might not even pay attention to the flight attendant’s announcements for snacks and meals.

Reading on a plane isn’t the same as reading in a car or on a train. While turbulence may cause occasional bouts of unsteadiness, it’s more or less smooth sailing in the friendly skies, meaning that you don’t have to deal with motion sickness. At the very least, read your book until your eyes get heavy and you drift off to sleep.

Text Your Pals

Image via Flickr by kowitz

What’s that? Texting on a plane, where they guard the Wi-Fi more heavily than the crown jewels? Absolutely — there’s no better way to entertain yourself. Chatting with your friends and loved ones make the long hours fly by. All you have to do is ask the flight crew for permission to use your smartphone above 10,000 feet.

It’s also essential to have a carrier that offers in-flight internet access. For example, T-Mobile has Gogo in-flight texting for airborne messaging, which allows you to send and receive texts from above the clouds. As more and more carriers market in-flight Wi-Fi, your choice will come down to the network. After you land, you still want a strong signal, such as T-Mobile’s 4G LTE.

Watch a Movie

Image via Flickr by juhansonin

Most airlines have in-flight movies, games, and trivia. You can usually find something to engage you for the long journey. If the selection isn’t up to par, just turn back to your airborne Wi-Fi and open up Netflix, Hulu, or another streaming app on your smartphone or tablet. That way, your flight doesn’t have to interrupt your latest binge-watch. Services such as Netflix even allow you to download movies and episodes beforehand so that you can watch them even when you don’t have service.

Play a Game

There are several ways to play games during your flight. Check out the in-flight options on your screen. Download your favorite games onto your phone or tablet as well. You can even play games on your laptop. Physical games are an option as well. Bring a deck of cards and play solitaire the old-fashioned way. If you’re traveling with someone, you can play miniature board games, card games, or trivia games. You can even create backstories about your fellow passengers.

Put Together a Plane Playlist

Before boarding, create a playlist for your cross-country adventure. Listening to music is not only soothing, but it’s also entertaining. You can’t belt out your favorite tunes, of course, but you can center yourself, calm your nerves, and pass the time lost in a world of songs that are somehow meaningful to you.

Plan Your Itinerary

What’s your destination? What do you plan to do there? You might not have had time to figure out your trip beforehand, so do it as you fly through the air. Talk to the flight attendants and your neighbors. People aren’t always talkative on long flights, but ask them about their towns and they’ll be happy to open up and share recommendations of neighborhoods to visit, restaurants to try, and sights to see. A good conversation will eat up the time surprisingly fast.

Cross-country flights seem interminable, but as long as you take care to entertain yourself, the hours will pass faster than you think. Just make sure that you’re considerate of the other passengers and the flight staff. How do you have fun on long plane trips?


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