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Activities For A Longhaul Flight

Tomorrow I’m embarking on a 12 hour day flight from Hong Kong to London. Myself, Jetlag & Mayhem it’s gonna be great. We can kick back, relax, drink wine (me, not them), watch endless amounts of TV. Chat about the universe, watch some clouds and enjoy 12 hours in close quarters.


Even though at 7 and 5, my girls are easier to travel with (I give those traveling with toddlers the utmost respect), they are still a pain.  3 hours flying time, no problem. 12 hours day flight, no thanks.  A recent longhaul flight with Singapore Airlines taught me that you can’t rely on the inflight entertainment to work. Secondly, it doesn’t matter how much of a telly addict your kid are, they possibly (although some may dispute this), can’t watch TV straight for 12 hours. Which means you have to bring your A-game and an arsenal of activities with you. Plus they are both scared of the toilet and scared of being left by themselves in the seat, which means that when one of us needs to go, we all go. 

I thought it might be useful to share some of the activities I’m bringing with for my flight on Friday. If you have any more ideas that you think Jetlag & Mayhem would like, I’m all ears!

  • Books. My 7 year old is an avid reader, the 5 year old not so much.  I can’t wait for my youngest to finally crack reading a proper book as I think this will be an enlightening experience for us all.
  • My husband took the girls out on the weekend to buy them each an activity for the plane. He chose a wordsearch book for the 7 year old. She was initially reluctant but after showing her how they work, she loves it. She has also just started to do Sudoku puzzles in school so I’ve ordered a Kids Sodoku book for our return journey. He bought the 5 year old a Beanie Boo, as if she’s needs another flipping cuddly toy….  But if it keeps her quiet on the plane then it’s done the job.
  • Activity magazines are absolutely brilliant. There are lots of different brands from Princess Sophia to Peppa Pig to Mister Maker. I stock up on these in the UK and then dole them out on longhaul flights and car journeys.
  • Never underestimate the power of colouring-in. My youngest got a set of Shopkins colouring in for Christmas which she adores and my oldest has now moved on to more ‘grown up’ colouring in. I always bring a stock of felt tips and colouring pencils.
  • Usborne have a great selection of activity books, from Holiday Doodles to a Travel Games Pad. Again, I stock up in the UK as they are far cheaper than here in Hong Kong.
  • Reusable sticker books are still big in our family. Jetlag & Mayhem’s favourite are the Sticker Dolly Dressing, also by Usborne. We have been through so many of these but they keep churning out different themes. You can buy them on Amazon – we love the Ice Skaters

    Costumes Around The World



  • I also go to my local market in Wanchai, Hong Kong and buy cheap stickers that will last one journey.
  • Mosaic sticker kits are fun for age 4+. There’s a huge range on Amazon.
  • Snacks! Snacking is a great way to pass the time. I bring a mixture of healthy (pistachios, dried fruit, homemade popcorn) to not so great (Pretz, lollipops). Always pre-book your children’s meals as they will also arrive earlier and for adults, I highly recommend the Hindu vegetarian!
  • I have an old iPad (version 1!) which no longer supports any decent games. I should probably move with the times and buy a new one but we actually don’t use it that much. I do bring my laptop and load up movies on there, just in case said inflight entertainment is broken. The girls have LilGadgets headphones with a built in splitter so they can watch the laptop together. And fight.

I let them girls each bring their own backpack or wheeled suitcase. I recently bought a super cool backpack for my 7 year old from Cotton On and my 5 year old loves her wheeled Skip Hop case or Cabin Max bag.

I pack my stuff into my Cabin Max wheeled cabin bag as it’s lightweight and also has backpack straps in case I’m lugging their cases too….

For more age appropriate activities to suit your child, check out….

Toys on a plane; the under 5 roundup

10 ways to keep baby entertained on a plane

How do I keep my kids entertained on a plane?

  • Raymond


    I remember taking the long long flights to the UK as a kid. We always seemed to be on the cheapest flights which stopped absolutely everywhere on route. In a sense that made it easier, getting out here and there. But actually on the plane I just read. I guess I’m remembering being 10 or so though, younger than that I have no idea what I was doing! Annoying mum and dad I suppose.

    Haven’t taken the kids on long-haul in quite a while, but seems to me that we got on ok by having those leave at 23:30 flights and they are so dead tired (me too actually) that a lot of the time is eaten with zzzs. Then meals. This is probably the only time that I can be appreciate of having kids who eat incredibly slowly!

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