6 Ways to Keep Yourself Entertained on a Plane (That DON’T Involve Tapping Your Boyfriend on the Shoulder Asking “Are We There Yet?”)

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I fucking love flying. Air travel makes me ridiculously happy. There’s some mix of “I’m going somewhere exciting or new or just somewhere ELSE” that makes it magical. And at the end of the trip it’s all: “I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight!”

You can get almost anywhere in less than a day. At least anywhere I’ve been. Which is awesome. I’ve only flown on my own a few times, but Brian and I have been trying to travel somewhere twice a year for the last few years. Florida in the dead of winter and some place else in the summer or fall. It’s a good system. When we fly, I try to make it as easy to get on the plane as humanly possible. I used to try to bring an emergency set of everything in my carry on – toiletries, clean underwear, an outfit, etc. But now? I’m VERY selective as to what I bring on board. Of course, we almost always fly Southwest – where bags (two per person) fly free, so it’s pretty easy to check everything (including that empty suitcase to fill with seashells, wine, Christmas ornaments or other souvenir crap on the way back).

But even packing super light (did I ever tell you how much the TSA hates me? They MANHANDLED my cheese. Probably because of my letter to TSA.), I need to make sure that I have enough valid ways to entertain myself without bothering Brian TOO much. Because he does not love flying as much as I do. Something about people and lines and crowds or something.

Here are just a few ways that you can occupy your time on the flight.

6 Ways

How to entertain yourself on a plane full of people without being a jerk…mostly


I mean…this one’s a given. But when you’re packing light, I highly recommend an e-reader. I was always against them until Brian insisted on buying me one. And I haven’t looked back. I can take FIFTY books on a plane with me…and my bag weighs less than it would with a single regular book. It’s fucking magical. Just be cautious, because the funnier the book, the more you’re likely to become a jerk and irritate all the people on the plane.

Watch a movie

In addition to the possibility of an in-flight movie…If you have some sort of tool that allows you to copy your DVDs to memory cards or tablets (I think that iTunes sells your favorite movies and TV shows too, but since I’m not really an Apple girl, I’ll have to assume maybe?), you can plan in advance and bring about a movie or two that you want to watch (I’ve watched Bridget Jones even though Helen Fielding is dead to me and some other beloved favorites). Just for the love of all things – WEAR EARBUDS.

Watch TV

Along the same lines as watching a movie, you can catch the newest released season on DVD of your favorite show (This last trip, Brian and I used an ear bud splitter to watch Person of Interest because we were binge watching to catch up to the current season). If you have Wi-Fi on the plane, you can Netflix Kimmy Schmidt or Grey’s Anatomy or Hulu Plus your current shows. Some flights even offer free (or paid) in-flight TV. Again, headphones are a necessity.

Play games

Whether you bring one of those fancy handheld gaming consoles (I haven’t had one since I got my Sega Game Gear in 1991), you carry on your travel version of Scrabble in order to whip your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife’s ass, or you pay for the Wi-Fi to play some games on your phone (Hello Simpson’s Tapped Out, I’m looking at you…), you can keep yourself entertained and occupied while enjoying that competitive thing you’ve got going for you. Of course, if you have the sound on while you’re playing these games, someone is going jump across the seat and wring your neck or throw your device. I’m just saying. I’ve thought about it. Several times. Turn the notification sounds off. No one wants to hear you rocking out to the Candy Crush greatest hits.


I don’t know about you, but I love a good snack pack. Brian and I have an excellent flying/packing system. I carry…well…almost nothing in my purse (a few bandaids, necessary drugs like Midol, Dramamine, Gas-X, Zantac, Pepto, and Sudafed to help us survive the airport time and 2-5 hour plane ride, and my travel pillow). And Brian carries the power cords, backup batteries and snacks in his backpack. It’s a really good system. I recommend trying it. So snacking is a great way to kill time. If you travel during dinner time and bring a meal on board, that’s a good 10-20 minutes of snacking depending on how fast you eat and what you grabbed at the airport. You could also play with your food – you know get like some animal crackers and play with them Ben Affleck style. Just remember if you’re sitting next to strangers that you don’t need to share. Especially when it comes to your crumbs. Be kind, my friends. Be kind.

Social Media/Blog/Internet Time Suck

You can live blog about the crazy lady on the plane or the kid that keeps kicking you…or continuously share on Facebook pictures of your kid’s first flight or humblebrag on Instagram how you can’t wait to be somewhere warm. People eat that shit up. You’ll have fun and so will I. Get lost down the internet rabbit hole and you’ll be at your destination in no time. Just you know…don’t BE the crazy lady or the mom that doesn’t tell her kid to stop kicking (you totally get full points for trying. I won’t judge. I was kicked on a plane once. They mom tried to keep the little guy at bay, but he fell asleep and apparently kicks in his sleep. She apologized several times and kept trying to move him. The effort was acknowledged and I was fine…albeit a little bruised.)

Okay blog friends, your turn. What do YOU do to occupy yourself when you travel? Even if you don’t fly – how do you keep yourself entertained on the train or in the car?


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10 Responses

  1. Love this list! I read on the plane mostly, but I love to write as well! If all else fails, then sleeping’s the way to go!

  2. Sounds you have this travel thing down!

    I want to hear more about this travel pillow. I always land wherever I’m going all crimped up and in need of a chiropractor. Clearly, I need a Very Special Pillow.

    1. Oh dude! Before we went to Disney a few years ago, I found one of those neck pillows with memory foam instead of those stupid plastic beads. And it’s pink. It goes fucking everywhere with me. When we aren’t travelling on a plane, it lives in the car so I can fall asleep whenever we’re on our way home from somewhere. (I’m like a little kid. I can fall asleep cinema a 10 minute car ride.)

  3. I’m not a lover of the actual plane portion of traveling. Being stuck in one spot for 8-9 hours is basically my version of hell. And I’ve learned that under no circumstances can I sleep on a plane, so overseas flights that go overnight and arrive in the morning? Yeah they basically result in me being awake for close to 48 hours because I cannot sleep. EVER.

    I also get a bitchin’ headache during takeoff and landing.

    That being said, I’m good at occupying my time so yes to reading, movies, word puzzles all the things!

  4. Crocheting is an excellent way to burn time while you’re waiting or flying. Also, if you have an annoyingly chatty seatmate you can pretend to be very focused on stitches instead of chatting them 🙂

  5. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but here it goes. I friggin sleep, and I hate to sleep in front of people. Something about the lull of the plane puts me right the eff out. And I’m the ugliest sleeper ever. Open mouth. Tongue hanging out. Drool. All of if. In college I went from having the worse insomnia to becoming narcoleptic, and there are way too many pictures of me sleeping in weird places, so I know first hand how ugly it is. Which is why I hate falling asleep on a plane. I constantly do that abrupt wake up thing where you jump and then look around to see if anyone caught it. Someone always does. I don’t know why I fall asleep every single time, but I do. Granted, I take a blanket in my carry on because I always find airplanes unreasonably cold or hot but never comfortable, so I wear little clothes and carry a blanket so that I’m prepared for both.

    To combat ugly sleep, I upload as many books as I think I’ll need so that I will have plenty of fictional characters to entertain me for the duration of my flight.

    My husband won a trip to Bora Bora a few years ago. That was a long friggin flight. So what if I read all three Fifty shades books on the plane? And a trilogy about a motorcycle gang.

    1. My best friends in college called it that badger face. I was the sole proprietor of the badger face and they made fun of me WHEREVER I fell asleep. And I do that crazy wakeup thing too. It scares the crap out of Brian.

      I don’t usually fall asleep on planes, but if I’m super exhausted, I will. I’m more likely to do it on the way home rather than the way there. I have weird narcoleptic tendencies until I’m on a plane going somewhere exciting!

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