Whew….made it through security…all systems go..plenty of time…now what?
Know your Airport
Back in the planning process, look at the particular airports you will be traveling through and time your layovers. What I mean is that if you are in some podunk airport with nothing but a lame gift shop and not-to ergonomically correct chairs, try to arrange your flights with short layovers. If you are in Singapore you might just want to plan you entire vacation there. It is packed with things to do. So, planning ahead is key….do you see a theme here in this series???
For example, I try to plan enough time in LAX to have dinner at the Daily Grill (www.dailygrill.com) but in my little regional airport (Did I mention I LOVE regional airports!)in Missoula, I arrive in time to get through security and go.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice in your layover time, or you have delays etc…So…what do you do? How do you make sitting in an airport FUN???
1. Think about all the times when you say, “wow, I don’t have enough time for.…..” . Make a list of these over the week or so before your trip and then plan those things into your airport time This might be a letter to your mother or a stack of magazines you keep meaning to read. Yes, they are heavy now but you discard them in recycle bins as you go or better yet after you finish walk around the airport and see if anyone wants to read it. You might even make a friend that way!
2. Organize/Delete things on your computer. Seriously, what a great time to do this. Plug your laptop in so you have plenty of juice for the plane and get after it!
3. Jam out. I love to put on my noise cancelling headphones, crank up the tunes and then just wander around the airport…I love watching what’s going on but not participating. People always look at me funny as I’m rockin out but I don’t care.
4. Meet People. Yes, people do still like to strike up conversations! Don’t be shy. Or bring along a deck of cards or cribbage board and challenge someone (anyone!) to a game. Bet you won’t do that one…but if you do….you’ll LOVE it!
5. Write stories about people. Pick out someone in the airport and totally stereotype them and write a story about them. If you are traveling with someone, pass the story back and forth to add things. Create a life for this person.
6. Talk with Sales Clerks. I have learned fascinating things about countries by striking up conversations with clerks in stores. Don’t bother people if you are in a busy shop but if it’s slow, many of them love to talk to people. I have met a wonderful Croatian woman in a shop in Salt Lake City and I always go and say hi (and usually buy something…it’s a GREAT clothing store called Zeta-very unusual stuff).
7. Sit in the wrong section. Ok, this seems odd BUT if you are someone who never gets to travel to exotic locations, go to a gate of a flight to Paris or the Maldives or Tahiti. Just sitting there like you are waiting for your flight is exciting….no really! You can learn cool things about a place by talking to people at the gate who are going.
8. Try a local dish. Many airports have authentic local cuisine. Give it a go!
9. Volunteer-What I mean by this is if you have flexible travel plans and they offer free tickets to step off flights DO IT! We did this once in Guam…for THREE days. They kept offering us vouchers, and overnights at the Hilton and meals. We had three extra days on our trip and racked up $3200 in free travel. The last day they routed us back to the US via a flight to Tokyo, Japan with $200 cash in our pockets each. We went first class and spent our 12 hour layover seeing the temples and drinking Sapporo beer. It was awesome!
10. No excuse not to work out! Many larger airports have gyms…Singapore even has a swimming pool! Bring your workout clothes and hit the airport gym. You’ll feel like a million bucks!
Or…..If you have several hours …and are transiting..
1. Go outside! Yes, you will have to go through security again but check out what the city has to offer. It’s amazing how different you feel if you just get fresh air and see some sites!
a. Take a local bus. For a couple of bucks, hop on a local bus and see where it goes! Be sure to ask the driver if the bus comes back to the airport!
b. Take in a local attraction. When we have long layovers in Minneapolis, we head over to the Mall of the Americas and take in a movie (easy by bus).
c. Visit an ethnic section of town. If you are in a big city, go check out their China Town or Little Italy.
d. Phone a friend. Often, I call my friends when I travel through cities. They come and pick me up and we go walk on the beach or for a bike ride.
There are plenty of ways to make time in airports fun! Send us some of your favorites!
Here’s a last one! As a matter of fact, I am putting the final touches to this blog post in Los Angeles. We arrived from Fiji at noon today and fly (yet another!) red eye tonight on the way to Costa Rica. So…..I’ve saved money by not getting two hotels and had the entire day in LA. What to do??? We rented a car, went to our favorite mexican restaurant in Marina Del Rey (www.bajacantinavenice.com) and then took a great walk up Venice beach, watched the guys working out at muscle beach, and all the great “humanity” that hangs out there. Remember, sun is the BEST way to beat jetlag! Now we are sitting in a cafe having a glass of wine and being as far away from LAX as possible until our 10:00pm flight. Life is great! See ya tomorrow in Orlando!!