Travelers headed on longer flights tend to overestimate the amount of time they’ll spend reading and pack their carry-ons with too many books. You can easily calculate the amount of time you’ll actually get to read with the flight reading formula.

(Total flight hours – 4) + (Total layover hours/2)

  • Add up your total flight time and subtract 4 hours per flight for international trips (2 hours for domestic). The first 30 minutes of a flight is taxi, safety instructions, and takeoff. The second hour is usually when meals are served, plus 30 minutes to go to bathroom, doze off, and look out the window.
  • Cut Your Total Layover Time In Half – A 3 hour layover means that you’ll at most get only 1.5 hours to read. You’ll spend the rest of the time getting to your gate, looking for food, peeing, and boarding.
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You’re reading ability and desire will also drop off as you get closer to your destination. On your way back home double all of these numbers. Fatigue will have set in and jet lag is compounded as you return home. Take the total number of hours and divide it by the number of hours it take you to read one book.

Save space in your carry on by bringing the realistic number of books you’ll be able to read – which is usually 1.

[photo by: florian.b]