The travel press is full of stories about how to distract your kids on a long trip, but the potentially bored and whiny passenger in my party is always me. My solution: Jeanne’s bag of travel crap.
My severe attention deficit problems (yes, I did fall on my head as a small child) are usually sublimated under a massive workload and a busy personal life. I often long for a few minutes to relax, read and think, but the truth is that when I get a chance I’m not all that good at sitting still.
So, when a long airline trip looms ahead, I get a one-gallon zip-lock bag and start stuffing it full of little snippets of things to keep me busy. I rip articles out of magazines, print out stories from websites and tear out a few crossword puzzles and stuff them in the bag with a few pens. A good Sunday New York Times puzzle is a transcontinental challenge for me. (I mean, I fell on my head really hard.)
A good book, or a really compelling trashy one, is always a big help. But I usually can’t read one straight through, so the shorter, little distractions help a lot.
I never really had to pack a bag of distractions for the kid when she was small. In fact, she has always simply fallen asleep on planes. I have even seen her sleep through the takeoff. The husband is much the same, but I can’t really sleep on moving objects. (I can pass out on them, sometimes, but that is another matter.)
So I rely on my bag of crap. And if that’s not enough, a sombrero. Not the hat. The Kahlua and milk.