How to pass time on the return flight?

I've got the itinerary set; hotels booked, restaurants ID'd. The flight to Europe will be no problem, but I always hate the return flight of 12 or so hours where I have to try to entertain myself. Airline movies are fine and Angry Birds is a terrific time waster, but can anyone recommend some entertainment apps just slightly more intellectual to pass the time? For what it's worth, my primary interests are historical, and I'll have been to the Benelux and France.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8502 posts

I always have a Kindle app, a Sudoku app, and a puzzle game called Unblock Me on my phone. I'm good as long as I have sometbing to read. You could also pass the time editing photos on your camera or netbook.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
5544 posts

I usually fall asleep listening to an audio book on my iPod.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

I just landed from an international flight and had the good fortune to sit next to a charming 8-yr-old. He taught me all his games on his iPad, and I taught him all my games on my iPhone. It passed several hours - brainlessly I admit - but I made a new little friend and it made the flight time pass surprisingly quickly. When I don't have such good companionship on a long flight home I read a book related to the place I've just been. It helps to keep the magic of the trip alive. Or I begin (or continue) thinking about and planning my next trip, typically jotting down notes on my iPhone.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22090 posts

Brenda, I sometimes have trouble finding ways to pass the time on long international flights, but that varies from one trip to the next. I just returned from Europe and the longest flight I took wasn't too bad this time. However, the full trip usually involves a 24-hour travel day with three flights and that tends to "wear" on me somewhat. I watched three or four movies (they had a fairly good assortment on the 8-hour flight from Paris to Toronto), had some wine with my "gourmet" airline meal which helped me to snooze a bit and visited with the flight crew in the back when I got up to stretch my legs. Overall it was a fairly easy trip, but I always find that the last hour or so seems to "drag on forever". On recent trips, I've noticed a lot more people travelling with iPads, Laptops or E-book Readers, and either watching movies or reading books. The glow of screens in the darkened cabin has been quite prominent. Electronic gadgets have provided more options to keep people entertained on long flights. Cheers!

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I have an iPad and fill it with episodes of TV shows I am trying to catch up on. It's a great luxury for me to marathon watch stuff like that. Also, KIndle, as someone mentioned, is a wonderful thing.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1347 posts

If you are at all interested in a 'scrapbook' or journaling type app - it could be a good time to go thru pictures and write down your memories of your trip while they are still fresh. I have downloaded one called NoteLedge (I have an ipad mini) which looks like a journal, except of course it's electronic. Add photos, captions, diary entries. I haven't used it much, but haven't been on a trip since I d/l it, so we'll see. I also have one (that you use offline and upload when online) called Travelpod - which is kinda like your own blog you can share with friends...again...good time to put all your fresh travel memories down. I figure it'll be great on train trips and such when reading and angry birds gets boring. :)

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1765 posts

It can be miserable, can't it? I find I'm often too sleepy to read well, and too awake to sleep. So I drift back and forth, dozing, reading, doing puzzles, dozing, and mostly being aware of being uncomfortable.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3168 posts

On my last long flight, I watched all four movies. I read a couple of magazines and browsed a book.

Posted by Marie
Northbrook, Illinois, USA
213 posts

Remember those old things called books? Pack a good one for the trip home - maybe have it wrapped so you have a little present for yourself. I am so sick of my computer, my phone and my apps that the trip home will be a great way to just enjoy a good read.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1492 posts

Sometimes I take my favorite magazines...Architectural Digest, The New Yorker, and Dwell and read them cover-to-cover. Other times I'll read an entire novel cover to cover. I just can't sleep on planes. I love TED talks...that can kill a few hours and you'll come out the other end with new ideas and inspiration to boot! They have an app you can download with hundreds of them.

Posted by Darren
Boulder, CO, USA
672 posts

Hi Brenda,
Our last two trips to Europe have involved an infant, and then a infant and Toddler, so I'm not going to give your our game plan for those two. However, Pre 2011, my wife and I would always have books (Rick's art history book is excellent to recount where you've been, or to preload on the flight over), we would watch movies, and most importantly we would create our "list" from the trip. Each of us would list our "best small town", "best big city", "best day", "best meal", etc. These have proven to be great fun to read while at home between trips. We also take the time to write out experiences/problems for the next trip (i.e. don't bring cotton socks, 1 pair of shorts is enough, etc.). Before I had the kids with me, sleep was always a biggie, too!

Posted by nancy
bethesda, md, us
212 posts

For the last several years, my husband and I have separately written down our top ten lists from the trip, and then compared and contrasted and debated!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4242 posts

Hi, Going over is much more important since I have to fall asleep to avoid the chances of jet lag, which I usually don't get. So I am more disciplined in that regard, ie, no entertainment, movies, etc. Psychologically, it's easier to take since with the wind at your back, I know the arrival will be earlier than scheduled, ca less than ten hrs. Plus, I'm looking forward to arriving. The return flight is different, totally boring, more than ten hrs. I don't care if I'm jet lagged or not upon arrival So, I don't try to sleep since I'm flying into the light. Much more likely to watch movies.

Posted by bronwen
maplewood, new jersey, usa
791 posts

Good book on tape? I use Audible. Something like The Stand or Fall of Giants? I have a handful if books that I live to reread which I go to for plane rides. Love all Ken Follet.

Posted by Karen
Sacramento, CA, USA
31 posts

If you are looking for game apps that are somewhat intellectual/time passers I love unolingo and Quell:Reflect. Both require lots of thought and strategy but are very different games. Happy flying - hope it goes quick for you! Coming home is for sure the longest most boring flight every. :) Karen