Over the last few months, I've spent quite a bit of time in airports. In fact, since June, I have been in about 14 different airports in Europe and North America. Some have been short layovers and quick waits, while others have involved many hours of waiting without the ability to leave the airport.
My recent flying experiences got me thinking about the amount of time we spend in airports when we travel and how we actually pass that time, particularly if it's a long layover. Below are a few top tips for anyone who finds themselves twiddling their thumbs in an airport, wondering what to do.
Bless you and your short airport wait. This one is pretty straightforward, but here are some ways you can pass the time during a short wait or layover:
- Start reading a book or magazine. This is usually my go-to when waiting in airports.
- Call a family member or friend you haven't spoken to in awhile and catch up on life.
- Wander around the terminal, but be mindful of when your flight boards.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger and make a new friend (if they look open to conversation).
- People watch (but don't stare or be creepy).
These are those waits that aren't quite short, but they're also not long enough to leave the airport. Here are some ways to spend those not-short-but-not-long waits:
- Grab food or a drink at one of the terminal bars/restaurants and read a book while you're at it.
- Visit the airport lounge and get comfortable for a few hours. Several lounges let you pay for a day pass, which may be worth the price depending on the length of your wait.
- Call several people you haven't spoken to in awhile - make it an hours-long chat fest!
- Download and watch a movie or TV show on your phone or laptop.
- Use the opportunity to do whatever it is you've been holding off, whether it's catching up on emails, doing some work, making a list of all the things on your to-do list, figuring out what to do with the rest of your life or all of the above.
These waits fall under the you-should-probably-leave-the-airport category. At least that's what I would do, so I included it as an option below but there are a few other ideas if you decide to stay put:
- Leave the airport and head into the city/town for a few hours. Just make sure to give yourself enough time to return to the airport and go through security. Also, there are plenty of suggested city layover itineraries online - look to your best friend, Google, for some recommendations.
- If it's an airport with one of those nap pods or an airport hotel, take a long nap.
- Read many, many magazines and/or books and throw in some window shopping (or real shopping) while you're at it.
- Have a movie marathon or binge watch a TV show you've been wanting to check out.
- Do everything on the other two lists combined (you have the time!).
And there you have it — a few ways to spend a few (or many) hours in an airport.
What are some other ways you like to pass the time?