If you’re new to the world of travel, you’re about to discover something unfortunate. International flights suck. Whether it’s your first or tenth overseas trip, you’re gonna need some long haul flight essentials.

Some people underestimate how boring, frustrating and plain awful long haul flights are. Not only are you stuck in a cramped and uncomfortable chair that’s way too small for most humans, you also run the risk of being seated near an annoying fellow passenger. I’m talking about those people who kick the seat in front of them, and the ones who think it’s okay to have loud conversations with someone from across the aisle.

Those people are not fun to travel with. So in order to make the best of a potentially more than likely bad situation, you’ll need to be prepared. We’ve come up with 13 of the best long haul flight essentials, no matter your age.

13 Long Haul Flight Essentials to Stay Entertained

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1. Read a book

If you love to read, doing so on a long haul flight is one of the best ways to stay entertained. Whether you prefer to go the modern route and bring along your Kindle, filled with an endless amount of ebooks to read.

Or stay true to your classic self and pack your favourite real life book. There are plenty of options out there for the avid readers. A Kindle is the perfect option for someone who wants to travel light, but still have plenty of ways to stay entertained while flying.

2. Watch a movie or TV show

Watching a movie or your favourite TV show is the perfect way to stay entertained on a long flight. Most international airlines provide TV’s on the backs of each seat, for passengers to watch a small collection of movies and TV shows selected by that airline.

But if you would prefer to choose your own movie, bring along your laptop, tablet or even smartphone! Purchase and download a few of your favourite movies or TV shows before you leave for the airport, and you’ll have plenty of entertainment for your flight!

3. Organise your life

Getting some organising done is one of my favourite things to do on a long flight. If you’re traveling to your destination, you could plan out the first couple of days of your trip. If you’re on the way home, you could make a list of the things you need to do to settle back into a normal routine.

4. Edit travel photos

This is a great idea for anyone who is active on social media and documents their travels on a platform such as Instagram. I don’t do this as often as I should, but spending an hour or two on a long haul flights editing photos, is a great way for a blogger or photographer to get things done!

Even if you aren’t active on social media, it’s still nice to have edited photos to look back on. Maybe you could print them out and put them in a photo album, or put some of your favourites in pretty picture frames!

5. Use a gaming console

There are so many gaming consoles available that are perfect travel entertainment ideas. From the new and growingly popular Nintendo Switch, to the more classic Nintendo DS. If you’re more of a PlayStation person, check out the Playstation Portable (PSP) and the Sony PlayStation Vita.

Both are great options for gamers, and will keep you entertained for hours on long flights. Most games can be downloaded digitally these days, which makes it even easier to travel with a portable gaming console.

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6. Play travel sized games

If you’re traveling with children, travel sized board games are one of the best things to do on long flights, and are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained for hours. You can find magnetic game sets with favourites like Checkers and Tic-Tac-Toe, Uno and even travel sized Yahtzee!

There’s definitely something for everyone, both kids and adults alike. Keep a collection in your house and have your kids choose their favourite to pack for the plane!

10. Listen to music

These days, most of us probably just listen to music on our phones. Whether you have an Apple or Android phone, they’re all very similar and do pretty much the same thing. Before leaving for the airport, purchase and download some new music to your phone, and don’t forget to pack your favourite pair of headphones!

Throwback or classic songs are also great for travel. These generally bring back memories from a particular time in your life, which could put you in a better mood and help you to forget that you’re stuck on a plane for hours on end.

11. Write or journal

Writing is another one of my favourite things to do on a long flight. Since I’m a travel blogger, I usually start or continue a new post while on flights or traveling by train. If you have a journal on your phone, tablet or laptop, use this time to do some writing. It’s a great way to combat anxiety if you’re afraid of flying, and can help to calm nerves.

You could also go the old fashioned route and start a pen and paper journal. Purchase a blank or lined notebook or journal and start writing about your day. This is a great way to record your travels, because you can even stick any tickets, boarding passes or travel mementoes inside!

12. Draw or colour in

Colouring books aren’t just for kids anymore – there are actual colouring books made for adults! I had one a while back, and although I didn’t actually use it on any flights, it was super relaxing. There are a ton of different varieties to choose from, for children and adults of all ages.

Note: Don’t forget to bring along some coloured pencils in a convenient travel case, too.

13. If all else fails, sleep (or drink)

I personally can’t sleep on planes. I’ve tried many times, in almost every position. Yes, I was probably that annoying kid who used to kick the back of your seat while you were trying to watch a movie. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve realised it isn’t actually socially acceptable to do this.

So instead, I’ve either accepted defeat and realised I’m never going to sleep anyway, so why bother trying; or drank my way to sleep in free (included) alcoholic beverages. Both options have their perks, but I generally choose the second. Now, I’m not one to promote unnecessary drinking, but if you’re of legal age to do so, and it will help you to forget you’re stuck on a plane for the next 10 hours, why not?


So there you have it, 13 of the best long haul flight essentials to stay entertained. Flying for the first time can be nerve-wracking, so why not combat those nerves with some fun travel entertainment options! As long as it’s travel sized, doesn’t make a lot of noise and is safe to take on an aircraft, you can pack almost anything for some fun flight entertainment. Happy flying!


Did you like the sound of anything on this list? Tell us in the comments below what two of your favourite travel entertainment ideas were! If you are a regular flyer, be sure to tell us what your go-to things to do on long flights are! 

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!