What can we learn/do on multiple long plane rides?
June 29, 2014 7:40 AM   Subscribe

We're about to take a trip with five, 5+ hour plane journeys, none of which will have decent in flight entertainment, and are looking for inspiration of things we might do/learn in that time for entertainment? We're looking for ideas beyond general reading/podcasts/movies/sleeping, particularly since we love learning new things.

We'll have laptops, iphones, kindles, paper (although laptop/phone battery life will be somewhat limited), and aren't too afraid to buy books, extra materials, etc as long as it's not too bulky. One of us is a web developer, the other a product manager, if that affects your suggestions :) Wacky/unusual suggestions welcome!
posted by latentflip to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What about crosswords? My husband and I do NYT puzzles on plane trips and during other downtime, and it's a nice way to keep the brain active and pass the time. We use the iPad app specifically for the NYT puzzle, which is somewhat less generous than it used to be (before: $17/yr for access to nearly 20 years of puzzles; now: $40/yr for a one year archive), but is still pretty nice, and of course there are lots of good free independent puzzles, as well as puzzle books.

It's not exactly a super active learning activity, but I've definitely acquired quite a bit of (semi-useless) knowledge/vocabulary over years of doing them regularly.
posted by obfuscation at 7:49 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Learn a new language.
posted by DMelanogaster at 7:57 AM on June 29, 2014

You can download all of Wikipedia and learn about whatever you want.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Make something! You could pick up knitting, crochet, or embroidery, or practice your sketching.
posted by yarntheory at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Plot and write a detective novel. Or science fiction, but something that has a lot of concrete demands, either in terms of plot or world building. My partner and I used to do this both together and separately on long trips. You can download an instruction book onto your tablets. I like this one.

Also, keep a journal of the trip, if it's at all interesting.
posted by BibiRose at 9:00 AM on June 29, 2014

25 hours seems about right to learn the basics of some portable handcraft and finish a small project--knitting, crochet, or embroidery come to mind.

Origami or balloon animals would be fun and make you immensely popular with any neighboring small fry.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yessss, if you guys at all enjoy writing you should find some good prompts (snippets of dialogue extracted from a play without any stage directions or other information is perfect for this). Then sit in your seats, write short stories around the prompt, and compare them when you're finished. Fascinating.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have taken up drawing as a hobby and am enjoying.
posted by harrietthespy at 10:33 AM on June 29, 2014

posted by The corpse in the library at 11:06 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should download the app Duolingo, it's great for learning new languages. Unfortunately it only gives you about two lesson groups available anytime you're offline, which will keep you occupied for nothing upwards of an hour, but it really is a great start for learning new languages. You can supplement with flashcards, workbooks and the like to fill up your time and also to get more actual learning done.
posted by alon at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2014

Nthing knitting. I was in a similar position in December, so I picked up a book, some needles and yarn, and now I knit socks whenever I'm on a plane. It's pleasant busy work, I can listen to podcasts while I do it, and after a couple of work trips, I've got a brand new pair of super comfy socks.
posted by conradjones at 12:14 AM on June 30, 2014

We bring Bananagrams on the plane and play a modified version of the game. The first to come up with complete words using all their tiles wins (instead of the original rules that require using all the tiles in the bag). We got a few interested/jealous fellow passengers staring at our game on our last flight to Washington.
posted by Karotz at 6:55 PM on July 1, 2014

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