The Random Writings of Rachel: How to Entertain Yourself on a Long Solo Airplane Trip

How to Entertain Yourself on a Long Solo Airplane Trip

Clearly, I was not traveling alone when I was sleeping through a 12 hr layover in Hong Kong Airport. But I've made plenty a halfway-round-the-world trip on my own (usually, the transit time from Michigan to Malaysia is 25-36 hours). Mostly, such trips suck. However, they can be made better.

1. Food. I've always found food to be very entertaining, plus, airplane meals are so yucky that I refuse to eat them, so packing granola bars and cookies and crackers and candy in my backpack offers a great source of entertainment, as well as enough 'nutrition' so that you won't faint on your 16 hour flight.

2. Music. The in-flight radio stations are good enough entertainment to last you for as long as it takes them to play the ten song rotation that each station may offer.

3. SkyMall. Of course! This is one of the things I look forward to most when flying in a plane in America. I love flying Asia-based airlines, but their in-flight catalogs are more about expensive perfumes than they are about weird inventions. Peruse the SkyMall catalog carefully. Be amazed at the marvelous inventions that mankind has created. Think deep philosophical thoughts about whether the listed prices are a fair exchange for the supposed convenience such inventions would bring to your life.

4. Activity Books for Big Kids. A book of 398 crossword puzzles will keep me busy for a while. Others might choose Sudoku. Also, I just recently discovered activity books that let you play hangman by yourself with scratch-off keys to let you know if you picked the right letter or not. I think that sounds awesome. Here's one, for example.

5. Work. Don't let all those hours go to waste! Get our your notebook or laptop and start writing a blog post or your next great novel. Time is money, ya'll.

6. Walk Around the Airplane. The airplanes that you take on these dozen-hour flights are huge. Get up and go exploring when the seatbelt sign is off. With all the stewardesses and other passengers blocking aisles, it will take at least five minutes for you to make it around all the interesting aisles and back to your seat.

7. Plan your next vacation. So, you might be coming home from vacation, but that doesn't mean you can't use that notebook to start creating a schedule of where you'd like go to next, when, and what you want to do when you get there!

8. Sleep. Time your amount of sleeping perfectly so that you don't experience jet lag when you arrive. (and when you figure out the scientific formula to accomplish that, let me know.)

Honestly, I kind of thought that this last solo trip might kill me. Three out of my four planes arrived late and had me rushing through immigration and customs and security lines, not even sure I would make it to my next flight. Oh yeah--before this trip, I hadn't experienced the new body scanners. Hint: don't wear jeans with buttons on the back pockets and if you wear a stainless steel ring, you might want to put it in your purse before going through the scanners. I kept getting pulled over to get my hands swiped and my butt patted down. 

It was the candy, the crossword puzzles, and the thought of seeing Angel again that helped me survive.

What are your essentials for solo travel?

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21 comments:

  1. one time i got frisked because i had too many bobby pins in my hair.

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  2. O_O I never fly and now I am doubly reminded that I never want to. No thanks.

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  3. The sensors pick up those buttons on jeans?! Uh oh! Good tips... I'm with you in the snacks department... my favorite part of traveling is that I get to pack food I wouldn't ordinarily have around the house ;)

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  4. Good tips! Haha. I want to go overseas so badly...I've never been on one of those GIANT planes and I'm dying to see what they're all about!

    And I agree. Airplane food is generally gross and way overpriced.

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  5. I just flew on a plane for the first time this summer when we went to Disney World in Florida. I did NOT like flying. haha. it was extremely bad and i'm pretty sure if I didn't have Melody with me it would've been a little more enjoyable. haha.

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  6. Great tips! Sometimes it can seem hard to entertain yourself on a flight, but these are great :)

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  7. I actually kind of love travelling by myself. I flew back from Ethiopia (36hrs) on my own and something about it was awesome. Yeah, I guess I'm strange. ;-)

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  8. Good tips....and for security screening - don't wear shirts with metal buttons (also learnt that one the hard way)...

    PS visiting via Travel Tuesday

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  9. Books, music and people watching are my top 3!

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  10. I am such an ornery traveller. I hate airports, lines, the plane seats, I'm a baby. I need lots of entertainment on any flight. iPads are a great invention because I shove everything on there! Games, movies, music, strategy games, writing, it's all there.. except food. Which is a must.

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  11. I've only ever traveled one time alone so I really don't have any go-to type of entertainment. I always end up on the flight that has serious issues so I run through the airport.

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  12. Hahaha, sleep is my favorite one, for sure! I also enjoy journaling or reading. What I like most about your list are the various forms of entertainment... on a long trip, you've gotta switch it up for sure! :)

    --Erika
    http://www.chimerikal.com

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  13. My travel essential...solo or not...is Dramamine or some sort of motion sickness medicine. So most often I can't help but sleep :p

    On the occasions that I can't sleep though, I listen to music and crochet. I'm also a fan of crosswords. They can keep me busy from the time I get to the airport to the time I land!!

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  14. I've never shopped on SkyMall...I think I'm missin' out!

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  15. I always sleep on planes, because I get so bored. It doesn't matter if I watch tv, listen to music, read a book, or bring my iPad. I just hate being confined to the same space for x hours lol

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  16. I love that you added number seven about planning your next vacation. It is not one I normally see on lists for this and it is such a great idea! Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for #TravelTuesday and I hope to see you again next week!

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  17. Skymall is the BEST. So completely bizarre and overpriced. I think I might need to do a blog post on my Skymall findings the next time I fly.

    The only way I survive those long flights is with a book or two. I will sit and read for hours. And as for food, I can't fly without Chex Mix and Skittles. I rarely eat them any other time, but I crave them as soon as I set foot in the airport. It's the weirdest thing.

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  18. International travel is the best because you get your own TV and can watch all the movies you haven't seen, and they're edited! I watched SO many movies on the approx 192323 hours it took to get home from Cambodia. Also, a charged phone or ipod with music you actually like makes a huge difference. I totally agree about the snacks!

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