I was 18. Young, carefree, traveling solo, without a worry in the world. And then, I experienced an ordeal that most of the travelers can relate to. I was stranded at an airport for more than 8 hours with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I am sure, you can understand my agony. I didn’t know how to spend those extra hours. Ever since I’ve spent a lot of time at the airports and come up with some nifty ideas so that I don’t have to bow down to boredom again!
Whether you’re waiting in queue to park your car or have to laze around till you get onto the next available flight, don’t let extra time on your hands be a dreary affair. The tips here are sure to inspire you:
1) Go For A Quick Sightseeing Tour
If you’re stranded at an airport, have a little extra time on hands and a transit visa (if applicable), embark on a quick sightseeing tour. You can easily get fast and affordable transportation from most of the airports.
All you need to do is take off in a public transportation to the nearest sightseeing place, a mall or the city center and explore it to bide time.
Don’t forget to come back to the airport for check-in and catch your next flight!
2) Meetup Friends and Relatives
Do you have some or the other acquaintances living close by the airport? What about family or friends? If the answer is affirmative, talk to them in advance and plan an itinerary where you can catch up with them just outside the airport or visit a place nearby together. Since they will be familiar with the place, you will have a smooth sailing in their company.
3) Read A Book
This one’s a no-brainer. If you love reading and have a book/eBook reader with you, get lost in a good book and absorb the goodness. Forgot the book? Purchase a book or a magazine to while away time. Don’t want to spend money? Go online and start reading random blogs on the internet. You never know what you may find!
4) Make Time For Forty Winks
When you travel, sometimes you don’t get to catch up on your sleep.
Make up for the lost sleep by napping at the airport. There are some airports, which have special sleeping sections and chairs.
These are just incredible if you have the ability to sleep just about anywhere. On the other hand, you can even go to a lounge room and stretch out fully. This works well when you have to catch flights at odd times and need to camp at the airport longer than usual.
5) Buy a Pass to a Lounge
Lounges are not just meant for tired passengers who need sleep. Moreover, they are no more meant only for the first class travelers.
That said, you can buy a pass to a lounge, rest there for as long as you want, grab a drink and, have a shower. This will freshen you up before you hop on to your flight. If you’re not the one who likes to sleep with other passengers moving to and fro, this is the option you can explore.
6) Explore The Eateries
I personally abhor in-flight meals. It’s quite likely that lot of you don’t like them as well!
As an alternative to these meals, you can explore various eateries at the airport, which may have locally inspired dishes or elaborate meals to please your palate.
Wake up your inner foodie and treat yourself to special gourmet fares or dig into some yummy desserts to satiate your sweet tooth. It is a bonus if you’re on Instagram as you can increase the number of followers with some delectable pictures. Om nom nom!
7) Burn Some Calories
When you’re stranded at large airports, you can go for a stroll at the terminals and explore every nook and corner on your own. This will not only help you kill time, but also help you burn some calories without any extra effort. Or you can just hit the gym inside the airport and workout for a while.
8) Pamper Yourself
Airport Spas are commonplace nowadays. Enjoy some blissful moments by getting a massage or a relaxing facial from a premium spa for a blissful experience. You can also get your hair done at the hairdresser’s if you’re feeling adventurous and get a makeover before flying. The same goes for a manicure or a pedicure. It’s all about pampering yourself with plenty of time on hand.
9) Do Some Souvenir Shopping
Some international airports are a shopper’s paradise. Settle for retail therapy by taking home some souvenirs for family back home. Alternatively, you can buy duty-free products for yourself. And even if you don’t want to buy anything, you can always window shop!
10) Indulge in Art
There are several options for travelers to indulge in art at the airport.
To begin with, you can keep your sketchbook with you and make caricatures, pencil sketches or watercolor paintings of various people or objects near you. For those who love to express themselves via words can write prose or poetry waiting for the flight. And if you have an eye for artwork, visit airport galleries or installations and get inspired.
11) Chat With The Locals
Forget using your mobile or any other gadgets for a while and instead, opt for chatting with the local people at the airport. You’ll be surprised at the amount of knowledge and perspective that you can get from this exercise.
Also, if you are practicing a language, an airport is the perfect spot where you can find someone to practice it with!
The next time you feel stuck at the airport with “nothing to do,” keep these tips in mind. Have any other tips that can be added to the list? Bring them on!
Mattie Elsner is a passionate globetrotter and travel writer by profession. When she isn’t on site at exotic locations you can find her blogging for sites like AboutAirportParking.com – a leading reservation network and directory for travelers. Learn more about travel and join the fun. Follow her on Twitter – @MattieElsner.