Last spring, there was to be a ban on using laptops and tablets on flights to the US from 56 routes. I heard many laments and questions about how to pass the time on long flights.
In a online group, I saw the question posed, “What do I do with my 4-year old on our 12-hour flight?”
Keeping young children busy on a long flight is a real challenge for parents. Back in the Dark Ages, pre-computer days, when I used to fly with Phillip, I always went shopping ahead of time. In the carry-on, I packed his favorite snacks, books both familiar and new, and a special grab bag of never-before-seen (or played with) items that I’d bought especially for the trip. Little items picked up at the dollar store could entertain my hyperactive child for a long time.
Granted, we never took a 12-hour flight, but I expect that a toddler would fall asleep at some point and not have to be entertained the entire time.
I could mention here that there is growing evidence that too much screen time for young children retards attention span, as well as their social and developmental skills, and fosters anxiety and depression in teens. You can draw your own conclusions.
In an online travel group, I saw this question posted, “What will you do on a 10-hour flight with no laptop or tablet?”
Many of the responders had similar suggestions to those I could think of, so I’ve compiled a list of things to do in case you’re stuck on a long flight without your electronics. It’s by no means exhaustive, but here are a few things to get you started:
1. Read a book.
2. Watch one of the in-flight movies.
3. Listen to music.
4. Color in one of those new, adult coloring books.
5. Meditate or pray.
6. Read a magazine.
7. Chat with your seat-mate, who is also searching for something to do.
8. Listen to recorded podcasts.
9. Do sudoku puzzles.
10. Drink, a lot.
13. Write in your journal.
14. Solve crosswords.
15. Play other word games.
16. Play solitaire with an actual deck of cards.
17. Listen to audiobooks.
18. Crochet (not sure that knitting needles can clear security).
20. Write an old-fashioned letter.
I’m sure you can think of other things. After all, as one person commented, “Before 2000, there were no laptops, tablets, etc., and people used to travel a lot.”
I wonder how we survived it.
*First published on iamsallyrose.com on March 24, 2017