Inflight, plane

Laura Maddison from Avanti Travelcare talks about ways to pass the time faster on a long-haul flight.

It’s easy to think we might just spend overly long flights asleep, but there is so much activity on a plane all the time, even at night – not to mention flight announcements over the loudspeaker – and many people find sleep almost impossible. Needless to say, then, it’s best to fly with entertainment to hand!

A health tip first

First let’s start with one particular recommendation that’s not just to relieve boredom, but rather an important way to safeguard your health on long haul flights. Keep mobile. Every so often, at least every hour or two, take a walk up the aisle. A potential problem on long flights is the possibility of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other circulatory problems due to sitting in the same position for extended periods of time.

The human body was not designed to be so inert, so DVT is a risk for anyone, though older people, pregnant women, people who are overweight, and those with some forms of poor health are particularly vulnerable. Keeping mobile during the flight is a great habit that everyone needs to get into.

Lose the boredom

Here are 5 things you can do to make the time go faster on your flight:

#1 Take a book of crosswords or Sudoku, both readily obtainable from any good newsagent, or on the Internet if you have your tablet with you. If you are traveling with companions you might take along one or two pocket board games; chess, draughts and Chinese chequers can all be purchased in pocket form so you don’t need to worry about the pieces spilling onto the floor. And there are several games that can be played on paper (ask the flight attendant for a few sheets if you don’t have any). Five-in-a-row noughts and crosses (one game can go on almost forever if you are both good at it), along with good old battleships, are both good choices for a long haul journey.

#2 Pack a couple of magazines. If gossip or trivia is your thing, that’s fine, but make sure you take a couple of heavier, more in-depth glossies too – learning about something new will retain your interest in what you’re reading. If you’re a regular reader, a good novel will keep you occupied, too. Some have even got acquainted with the Bible on a long flight!

#3 Take a writing pad and envelopes and write letters to all those relatives and friends you keep meaning to get in touch with. You might even give your relationship with them a much-needed boost if you haven’t seen them for a long time. Post them from the country you are going to, to show you are thinking of them on your trip.

#4 Take a travel guide for the country you are visiting, and discover new places to visit while you’re there. This will keep you excited for your trip throughout your journey and you could even draft up a basic itinerary for when you arrive to make sure you don’t miss out on your must-sees.

#5 Use the time to learn something new. Do you have a hobby in mind that you would like to take up? Or maybe you’d like to get to grips with a foreign language, or read up on a field of science that interests you? A long plane flight is as good a chance as any to take along a magazine or book for some concentrated learning – who knows, you could be inspired to take it up seriously when you return home!

One suggestion sometimes made is simply to accept the flight will be a long one, and relax. Don’t keep looking at your watch to see how much longer it will be – that just makes it seem all the longer.

There are many other ways, of course, to entertain yourself and enjoy the extra leisure time the journey provides. Whatever you do to fill the hours, we hope you enjoy your holiday!

Laura Maddison is Head of Marketing at Avanti Travelcare who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.

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