If you are a frequent flyer like me or simply have a vacation coming up, you should be interested in in learning a few ways to pass time at the airport. I was at an airport in New York City a couple of weeks ago and I wasn't prepared to deal with my flight being delayed by about two hours, which, unfortunately, it was. My terminal was stuffy, crowded, and there was hardly anywhere to sit. I did keep a book on me, but I wasn't in the mood to read and wished that I’d planned out a wider variety of ways to pass time at the airport. If you experience something similar or you’re all too familiar with flight layovers and the like, this article will hopefully help you make half the fun be getting there!
1. Talk to Other Travelers
One of the best ways to pass time at the airport is by striking up a conversation with other travelers. Find out where your fellow flyers are headed and why they are going there. Most people love to talk about themselves! Getting to know someone is a great way to distract yourself and avoid looking at the clock every five minutes (which is absolutely awful). Avoid people who seem busy with work and those who are glued to a cell phone. Choose someone who looks approachable, friendly, and equally bored as you. You never know who you might meet!
2. People Watch
If you don’t feel like getting social, another way to be entertained in the airport environment is to people-watch! Observe the way that others are passing the time and, if you’re able to, try to copy them. Choose a family, couple, or loner and create a story about where they’re travelling to and why they are going there. Try to guess who might be on a returning flight home compared to those who are fresh and ready for a vacation. Keep a tally of who you think might be travelling for business. Choose two people that you think could fall in love and play out their airport meet in your head!
3. Be Productive
If you have a lot of energy and are in the mood to be productive during a layover or flight delay, take advantage of the airport’s Wi-Fi services to catch up on work as well as personal affairs. If you can work away from your office, be sure to bring a laptop or tablet to take care of business so that you don’t have to worry about it during your trip. Call relatives that you've been meaning to get in touch with and text back friends who you haven’t replied to in days. Taking care of missed calls, e-mails, and other messages can take up a surprisingly large amount of time. Being productive at the airport will leave you feeling accomplished, stress-free, and ready to relax when you board your plane.
4. Read a Book Related to Your Trip
Start your trip early and also kill time by reading a book that takes place in the location that you’re travelling to. Leave the terminal behind and allow yourself to be transported to another world, no plane necessary! This is a great opportunity to learn a little bit about the culture and history of the country or state that you’ll be staying in. Becoming more familiar with places and cultural references mentioned in your book will promote having an even more exciting and rewarding travel experience. During your trip, make a point to explore and compare your environment to that of the book you read.
5. Explore the Terminal
If you find yourself trapped at the airport during a layover or flight delay and you’re feeling fidgety, don’t be afraid to stray from your gate to wander the terminal! I’ve always been too paranoid to leave my gate, afraid I might miss an announcement about my flight. But, conveniently, your airline will most likely contact you via phone or e-mail to inform you of major flight changes. Don’t hesitate to leave your gate to get food or scope out some of the terminal’s shops. If you don’t feel like spending any money, simply walk around to stretch your legs as much as possible before your flight!
6. Challenge Yourself Linguistically!
If you are flying internationally, utilize your time to brush up on a foreign language. Dedicate yourself to learning words and phrases that will be of the utmost importance, such as those required to ask for directions, and order food of course (very, very important). Learn greetings, and words that will allow you to be more polite in the country that you’ll be visiting. Familiarizing yourself with another language will help you feel more comfortable during your trip.
7. Be Prepared!
When you travel, you should always be prepared to pass time in the airport. Flight delays are incredibly common, and after the crazy hustle and bustle of getting through security, you’ll feel surprisingly bored with nothing left to do and not very much left to worry about. It’s a good idea to bring activities that will engage your mind and focus your brain on something other than your trip. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and card games are all great examples. If you feel like bringing out your inner child, break out a coloring book and some crayons!
I’m still away from home and have a return flight in my future, so I’m going to make the most of my next airport-stay! Do you have any more ideas of how to pass time at an airport? As I mentioned earlier, I travel frequently, so please share some of your time-passing methods with me!