Monday, January 13, 2014
Guest Post: 14 ways to pass the time at the airport
Get out of the airport (don’t go too far)
If you’ve got a few hours to kill and the airport is not in the middle of a field, get out and explore the area. For example, just past the taxi line at Puerto Vallarta’s airport are food stands. For just a few dollars, you can sample local tacos and watch the people go by. Not too keen on street food? Order a soda and people watch.
Get Out of the airport (go far)
If you’re in London, Amsterdam or Vancouver, for instance, take advantage of the train connections and explore the city. Pick a stop with tourist attractions, or, if you’re really up for an adventure, pick any stop, get off and explore.
Whether you’re alone or with a travel companion, pick a bar and make sure to actually sit at the bar. That way, you’re more likely to meet people. At the very least, someone’s bound to have a good story!
If you’re stuck in an international airport, use the opportunity to sample some local cuisine. No local cuisine? Find a McDonald’s and try something different. Try the Shaka Shaka Chicken in Singapore, the McVeggie in India or the McSahara if you’re in Morocco. Or just order fries and marvel at their ability to taste the same all over the world.
Tacky Souvenir Challenge
Yes, you could use the time to shop for souvenirs, but your family and friends will know that you bought their keychain/pen/snow-globe at the last minute in the airport. Why not go all out and try to find the tackiest souvenir as a memento of the longest day in your life? Or, if you’re with a friend, buy each other the most embarrassing t-shirt you can find. Whoever keeps it on the longest wins.
Get a Room
Many hotels located near airports offer special rates for travelers on layover. For example, the Ottawa Days Inn, just 2 kilometers from MacDonald-Cartier Airport, offers a $99+tax rate for a standard room with two double beds where you can stay between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sleep the day away or use the hotel’s pool, hot tub and gym.
Kick it Old School
Take things back to 1999 and actually call someone. Yes, your smartphone can be used for speaking to people! Another blast from the past idea: Put down your Kindle and go buy a cheesy romance or mystery novel. Leave it in the airport for the next bored traveler for good karma points.
Talk to a Flight Attendant
If anyone’s having a worse day than you, it’s probably a flight attendant. Find one that looks especially bored/jet-lagged/disoriented and keep each other company. They’re bound to have good tips for most major cities.
Take people-watching to a new level. Make a BINGO grid but instead of numbers have items like ‘frazzled ticket agent,’ ‘man with sunburn’ or ‘frantic family running to their gate.’ Stay in your chair or turn it into a scavenger hunt. Tacky souvenirs for the winner!
Flying can be stressful and emotional for travelers and airport employees alike. Offer to help a mother travelling with young children with her luggage, or send a sympathetic smile to aforementioned frazzled ticket agent.
Many airports have fitness centers where you can buy a $20 day pass. San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth Airports both have free yoga studios featuring yoga mats and a looping video to follow.
If your airport doesn’t have a yoga room, find your own quiet corner and make a meditation zone of your own. When is the last time you simply sat quietly with your thoughts?
Get creative with your smartphone
Take pictures of the art, architecture, views, people sleeping with their mouths open, etc. Make a video set to music about your day at the airport. Or, download the Karafun app ($5.99 for 48 hours) and host a karaoke party. Particularly applicable if you’re still at the bar with your new friends.
If you’re one of the fortunate ones that can sleep anywhere, find a row of chairs or a spot on the floor and take a nap. If you’re a really heavy sleeper, set a phone alarm.
(This post was sponsored by James Houde from iProspect, the Chicago-based leading digital marketing company. Thanks so much for continuing to support So About What I Said's wonderful sponsors!)
[Photos via We Heart It]