Many of us have waited at airports for what seems like eons! Sitting for a long time on the same chair is not conducive to good circulation, so most of us try to walk along the pathways along with our luggage but find that difficult due to the constant dodging of people and carts all around us.
First thing you need to do is to get a map of the airport. Seek out the facilities available, the hours they are open and study their locations on the map.
So how do we amuse ourselves for several hours?
Store the luggage – The first thing to do is to get a luggage locker and put all your luggage in it. Even if all you plan to do is fall asleep, you may wake up to see your valuables have gone traveling without you!. To avoid this situation, and make yourself free from tag-a-longs all night, rent a locker so that the weight of all you were carrying until now is reduced to that of a single key.
Sleep like a baby – If your next scheduled flight is during the day, you may not be able to get in a wink during the day flight. When every one else is reading the news paper or talking louder than a jackhammer ( the people who sit behind me always do that!) it may be a good idea to store up on those Zzzzzs before you board the next leg of your journey.
Read a book – Most airports have book stores with hundreds of titles to choose from. One paperback may be the best companion you need for the next six hours. Action packed thrillers can keep us on the edge of our seat, in the airport or on the plane!
Eat – Of course, we all have to do that. You could try to find some place to sit and relax and eat all the same time. Take the time to find a good eatery where they sell healthy, wholesome, hopefully freshly cooked meals. Travel can take a toll on our immune system. Being in close proximity with hundreds of people who probably have been around the world a few times, you can easily contract a virus to take back home with you. So fortify your body with healthy vitamin filled, delicious food!
Walk – Through the terminals and upstairs and downstairs and all over the airport. If I had the guts I would also take pictures of everyone in whatever poses they are sleeping in. It would make a very funny book indeed! Or listen to the rhythmic snoring of a fellow passenger. Since I cannot sleep sitting up, I have seen over 30 years of night time activity inside planes as well as in the airports!
Get out – If you are a more energetic person at night, you could see if there are any museums open at that time or any all-night malls. Make sure you take your papers with you if you are leaving the airport. Do so only if you have enough time to see everything as well as return through long security lines. Don’t lose your luggage key! If this layover was not your choice, you can request the airline to gift you some see-the-city vouchers or taxi fare to make your impromptu trip more enjoyable.
Exercise – Some airports have gym facilities, at least for the Elite group of travelers. If you are bumped or your flight was cancelled, you may ask for a pass to these facilities and use them. Take the time to freshen up, shave, shower, change clothes, etc.
Swim – Yes, some airports have swimming pools. Feel invigorated and refreshed after a nice relaxing swim.
Book into a hotel – Some of these airports have hotel facilities inside the building. They are available for day rates or may be rented by the hour. They are usually worth more for people like me because I can lie down and immediately fall asleep no matter what the “room” looks like!
- Work if you feel like it – there are internet lounges in most airports.
- Watch TV or rent a movie – some airports have free movie theaters.
- Get a massage – Many airports have stations where you can get rejuvenating hour long massages for a small fee.
- Pedicure, manicure, the works! – Ok, this one I haven’t seen yet, but there seems to be a lot of airports (mostly in Asia) which really know how to pamper us!
- Aromatherapy – If you are tired of the recycled air in the planes and in the airports, try an oxygen-lavender therapy which leaves you very refreshed and full of energy.
- SEE – If you are bored, go sightseeing in the airport itself – Most airports love to show off their local art or history.
- SHOP – Till you drop! For most of us, an opportunity just to browse the wonderful array of clothes, perfumes, chocolates and other goodies to our hearts content.
- PLAY video games – Many airports have video arcades where you can play most of the latest games for a modest fee.
- LISTEN to music – If you brought your favorite MP3/iPod along, what better way is there to relax?
- SING – I usually hum to myself or sing along with my iPod. Singing or listening to humorous clips or watching funny videos on our iPod is a great way to relax
- PEOPLE WATCH – My favorite past-time. Travel is amazing because it opens our minds to new cultures, new looks, new sounds! Nothing more than travel to expand our horizons. Just sit in a seat that faces the pathway and you can see all kinds of people passing by. Families trying to keep everyone together, often dragging inordinate amounts of luggage and strollers and what not; Women carrying crying babies in addition to all the extra bags, rushing to terminals with the constant look of worry on their faces; teenagers, with their typical swaggers, looking careless and confused at the same time. The world passing by!