Many travelers will experience long layovers and flight delays this holiday season. Not only will they endure long security lines, but they will also have to find a way to kill time between flights. Instead of purchasing a magazine and sifting through it ten times, try one of the following:
- Socialize with Other Travelers
Having a Bloody Mary at the airport at 8 am is not unusual behavior for travelers. The airport lounge, bar, or restaurant can be a great place to kill time. Conversations can start with the weary travelers next to you, and chances are you will find a lot out about that person. Where do they live? Where are they traveling? What do they do for a living? You get the idea. People wasting time in the airport and willing to chat with you will most likely enjoy telling you all about themselves. Their willingness to talk is especially true since there is a high chance, they may never see you again and if they have had a few drinks in them. So kick back, relax, order a cocktail, and make some new friends. Who knows, maybe it will turn into a long-term friendship.
- Explore the City
If you land in an airport that offers fast and affordable transportation to the cities they serve, then why not take the time and explore? In cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto, you can easily take public transportation from the airport to the city center and spend a few hours exploring. Here are 7 airports that offer free layover tours.
For best results, have an itinerary ahead of time and do your research on transportation and the attractions you would like to visit. Please allow yourself enough wiggle room to get back to the airport. Remember, you will have to get back through security. And if you didn’t remember from your first flight, arriving at the airport at least 2 hours before your connection is ideal, especially during the holidays. While you are exploring, keep an eye on your flight for any delays or changes to your connection flight.
- Catch Up On Sleep
Were you up all night packing last minute? Perhaps you have a busy itinerary the minute you get to your destination. Why not catch up on some Zs? Many airports have designated sleeping sections or specific sleep chairs that look like pods that make for painless napping.
Napping at the airport can reset your fatigue and land you at your destination, feeling fantastic. It almost makes the long delay worth it if you are one of those people that can sleep on a bench while millions of people walk past you.
- Eat Like a King
Airport food is notoriously bad, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Some airports offer higher-end food alternatives such as steakhouses, French cuisine, Italian fine-dining. If you have the time, rather than grabbing a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a croissant and sitting in a common eating area, why not treat yourself to a ribeye and a glass of wine? After all, you are on vacation.
- People Watch
Airports are some of the perfect places for people watching. Traveling can be fun yet stressful. Watching the many different walks, moods, weird quirks, and fashion statements go by can be free entertainment for hours! Having sympathy for the mothers who walk past with babies to eavesdropping on really intense business calls can all be very interesting, as well. Traveling with someone? Why not make a fun time-killing game out of it? Just don’t get caught staring at someone! Traveling with kids? There is always the “I Spy” game you can play that can go on as long as their attention spans will hold. Regardless, people-watching is a great way to lessen the pain of waiting in an airport, and next thing you know, they are calling your gate.
- Embrace the Holidays
Being stuck in an airport for hours on end can be painful, so why not try a different approach? On top of catching up on Z’s or people watching, why not take in the holiday spirit of the airport? Check if your airport has;
- Christmas carolers (came across carolers in Chicago one year)
- ice skating (Denver International Airport has this)
- last-minute Christmas gift shopping
As stressed out as people may seem, the holidays can also bring out the best in people. Try and see how many days can be made by a simple smile and a “Merry Christmas.”
I hope these tips help and that Santa is good to you this year.
Remember this holiday season at the airport; stay strong, healthy, and safe travels!