Travelling is not always as simple as getting from A to B. Sometimes we need to go via C or D to get to where we want to go. Sometimes your trip can involve multiple flights, which can mean a long time spent in an airport. Now, if you’ve ever been in an airport you’ll know they’re not exactly the most exciting places to spend an hour…or seven.
Whether you and your travel group are waiting at the airport for a connecting flight, or you are stuck there due to a delay or cancellation, it’s vital to have things to do to keep you from going crazy. Here are some ideas on what you can do to keep you entertained during a long layover at an airport.
1. Get a head start on your itinerary
It’s almost always the case that any airport you’re travelling to has Wi-Fi or internet kiosks. If your flight is delayed or you have an extra couple of hours to kill, plan your trip ahead by looking up things you can do at your destination. Maybe it’s a sightseeing tour or a boat tour, or a trip to the city’s most famous museums, you can get a better idea of which companies offer the best prices.
2. Go on a mini shopping spree
Now, we all know shopping at the airport can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore what your particular airport has to offer. If you’re travelling back from someplace outside the country, use your leftover foreign cash to buy something you don’t have access to at home. Or if you’re feeling generous, buy a gift for someone special back home.
If you’re tight on cash or don’t have the space to take something home, window shopping is a great way to fill the time. Travel retail is such a popular market nowadays. Most airports have between 50 and 100 stores alone. Hit up the Michael Kors for cute apparel, or Brookstone for some high-tech browsing.
3. Watch a movie
If you’ve got a long layover or delay, find a spot with the best Wi-Fi and get as comfortable as you can in those airport chairs. There are so many streaming services nowadays it’s hard to keep track. Whether it be Netflix, Hulu, Apple+, etc, choose whichever one you have access to and watch that film that’s been on your movie list for ages.
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4. Try your luck at an upgrade
Airlines often offer some form of a credit on your next booking, or even an upgrade on your next trip if the flight schedule gets delayed or cancelled. The airline may even give you a voucher to stay the night at a hotel.
It never hurts to ask if there are any upgrades, and always remember to be polite yet assertive when negotiating. There are plenty of times when people cancel flights at the last minute for unexpected reasons. Why not try for the extra legroom and luxurious service in first-class or business class?
5. Search for airport amenities and activities
It is becoming increasingly more popular for airports to incorporate more amenities for passengers before or in between their flights. You never know, your airport might have crazy activities like giant slides, movie theatres, butterfly gardens,yoga rooms, and even a rooftop swimming pool.
6. Treat yourself to a massage or workout
We know how exhausting travelling can be, especially if you’re coming back from a trip jam-packed with activities. Airports have taken this into account, and they’ve implemented many options for individuals to relax and unwind. Stressed out flyers can enjoy nap pods, chair massages, yoga classes, healthy food options, and even full-service spas. So go ahead, treat yourself after a long day of travelling.
7. Discover and listen to new music or a podcast
Assuming they are equipped with Wi-Fi, being stranded at the airport is the perfect opportunity to start that new podcast your friends have been raving about. If you’re someone who complains about never having enough time to listen to educational podcasts or read a new book, now is your chance. Plug your headphones in and listen to something inspiring or out of the ordinary.
8. Be bold and make new friends
Perhaps the most intimidating option, making new friends is one of the fastest and easiest ways to waste time at the airport. Now, we know that this might seem daunting, but the worst that can happen is they say no.
Find someone sitting next to you or go up to that person in the bar and start up a conversation about where they’re from and where they’re going. If you’re feeling bold, go ahead and ask them about any career or relationship advice. Hey, you’ll probably never see them again so might as well lay it all on them.
Hopefully you won’t have to experience too many long layovers in your travel career, but if you do, you’ll now be prepared to make the most of them!