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Tips for avoiding boredom long flights/ layovers?


May 6th, 2016, 09:39 AM
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Tips for avoiding boredom long flights/ layovers?

In a couple days I'll be going on the longest flight I've ever been on. It's a 10 hour flight, a 9 hour layover, a 12 hour flight, an hour and a half layover, and then I think another 2 hour flight to reach my destination. Does anyone have any tips for avoiding boredom during that time? I don't sleep well on flights, nor can I read books during flights because it gives me airsickness. Also, my 9 hour layover is in Heathrow airport (and I can't leave the airport to visit London, for reasons I won't get into), so does anyone have any tips for making a layover more bearable?

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May 6th, 2016, 11:43 AM
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On your 9 hour layover get a room at one of the nearby hotels - go here for a list: http://www.heathrow-airport-guide.co.uk/hotels.html

If you can't read on your flights use the "in-flight" entertainment system to watch movies, documentaries & pre-recorded tv shows or listen to music & lectures. Some systems even have video games you can play.
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May 6th, 2016, 01:29 PM
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If you can't leave Heathrow, then you can you even stay in one of the nearby hotels? Happily, there's a Yotel inside Terminal 4 on the ground floor of Arrivals, but it is outside security.

You'll likely have a lot of options for video. Does that also make you airsick? You'll want to sleep on your London layover, so I don't think boredom will be a problem there. But if you can't watch video, then I think you'll be bored indeed on the two long legs.

If you don't sleep well on planes, I'd strongly advise getting a prescription for a sleep aid like Ambien or Lunesta (and one can even help when you get to the layover and are overtired). I don't sleep a full hour with either, but for a low dose I definitely conk out for 5 or 6 hours. A non-prescription-drug option is melatonin, but it doesn't work for everyone.

If you have motion sickness, try some Bonine, which doesn't cause drowsiness (or Dramamine non-drowsy). That might allow you to read.
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May 6th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Sorry. I mistyped. I meant to say I don't sleep for a full 8 hours with any low-dose prescription sleep aid, but I can sleep for 5 or 6 hours, which helps tremendously.

Also music. Make sure to bring a smartphone or tablet. Most airlines provide plugs on long-haul flights now so you can recharge easily.
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May 6th, 2016, 02:04 PM
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If you have to stay airside, is there a lounge at Heathrow you can get into by paying? I was able to do that once in Hong Kong, and it was well worth the cost.

While in the air, how about an audio book or two on whatever device you own? A deck of cards for solitaire? Crossword puzzle book? A journal to record your experiences or some postcards to send home just for the heck of it?

During the layover, reading should be an option.

Even if you are not a shopper, browsing the shops can be interesting. I sometimes entertain myself by trying to find something in each shop that I would like to take home if had a certain amount to spend.

I like to take some snacks: individually wrapped cheeses, good quality chocolates, a favourite biscuit. Airline meals even when good can come at odd times, and it can break the monotony to have a little snack.

If you are considering medication for sleep or airsickness, be sure to try it out at home first. Some people have adverse or paradoxical effects, and a long flight is no time to have to deal with that.

I’ve done a trip almost as long as what you describe many times, and I know from experience that despite my best plans, there is likely going to be a point in the journey that I feel like crap and wish I’d never left home. I try to remind myself that I don’t need to enjoy it, I only need to get where I am going and the way to do that is to let time pass. If boredom is the worst that happens, your trip will be worth it.
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May 6th, 2016, 02:28 PM
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is it you can't leave the airport -- or you can't enter the UK? If you can't enter the UK, all hotels are landside so you couldn't use any of them.

you could join Priority Pass - some of their lounges are airside.

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May 6th, 2016, 06:53 PM
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I can certainly enter the UK (lived there before) but I'm traveling with someone who is carrying a large amount of some important stuff that we don't trust to put in a locker.
Thanks for the tip about priority pass I'll look into that.
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May 6th, 2016, 07:20 PM
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>>we don't trust to put in a locker.<<

If it makes a difference -- there are no lockers at LHR. All are security screened Left Luggage facilities.

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May 7th, 2016, 01:29 AM
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>>I like to take some snacks: individually wrapped cheeses,<< There are strict rules about importing dairy products into the UK, I know you are staying airside so I'm not sure it applies but just in case it does, be aware of the import rules.

It would be helpful to know which terminals at LHR you'll be spending your 9 hours layover in and which airline you are travelling on. You might be able to pay to get into one of the lounges. I think the Priority Pass is a membership whereas you might be able to pay a one off fee to get into an airline lounge. You would need to check if there is a time limit for airline lounges ie can you stay 9 hours.
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May 8th, 2016, 03:46 PM
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I always read on flights, so can't imagine not being able to do that. I do get motion sickness if I try to read on a bus or metro system, but never on a plane. I thought the key thing was the visuals and if you can't see that you are moving (ie, outside the window), your body doesn't recognize it so much. IN any case, on flights to Europe, I admit I do take advantage of the entertainment system and watch several movies, stuff that isn't so crucial to have good visuals (ie, stupid rom-coms, etc, not a big spectacle film).

Otherwise, I have an MP3 player and in addition to loading music, I load a lot of podcasts as I can't listen to them all--I listen to tons of NPR Podcasts (TED talks, American Life, etc). IN fact, I can't read too well when listening as I lose the gist of the podcast. So that's something you could do just by listening to pass time.

Could you do any puzzles and not get sick? Like have a book of crossword puzzles, etc. You have to be the type that likes those, though. Some people play video games, such as some card games or something.

As far as your layover (never had one that long, wouldn't go if I had to), you can read during that, in any case. If you have any kind of tablet or computer, you can play on it for a while in the airport.

I guess these are all the obvious suggestions that we all have in one way or another. Nothing unheard of.

I really wish airports would have movie theaters in them, I think they'd make a fortune, at least the super big ones like Heathrow. Would really enjoy a real theater rather than looking at some video on a small screen.
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May 9th, 2016, 06:15 AM
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So in the end it's a pretty easy choice for you. Get a hotel room in London and sleep as much as you can, then have a meal and you'll be much more prepared for your next flight. I'd still choose the Yotel for its proximity. All the other Heathrow hotels require a ride on the bus (which has a fee) and will take you an additional 30 to 40 minutes minimum to reach after wait time. Once you consider how much time it will take to reenter the airport, you're only going to have 5 hours to sleep anyway. But for that long a layover, I would never even consider a lounge unless I had no other choices. You do.
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May 10th, 2016, 10:26 PM
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I know it's strange that I get airsickness when reading on flights, I don't understand it either. But every attempt to read on flights gives me nausea.

Podcasts are a good idea, I haven't thought about that. I don't listen to any, but I could start. I'm debating bringing crossword puzzles or my Nintendo ds, and I'm hoping that won't give me nausea.

I would definitely bring my laptop for the layover if it wasn't such a beast to carry.

I'm appreciating the ideas people are giving.
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May 11th, 2016, 02:55 AM
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Flying business class makes long travel days so much more pleasant.
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May 11th, 2016, 08:20 AM
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I suggest you try Sea Bands:

They may just be placebos, but I suffer from car sickness under certain conditions, and they stop it in its tracks. Maybe they'll work for your plane sickness? (Which I had as a child, btw!) You can find them in drugstores or on Amazon.

If you can't read and can't sleep, music, podcasts and audio books seem to be your only options...
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