With the Holidays upon us, airports will be the demise of every harried traveler. Bad weather, equipment delays, airline screw-ups, they all contribute to a stressful waste of time and energy. I have been fortunate in my travels, both never having ridiculously long delays, or planes that turn around halfway to our destination. It also helps to have the United Red Carpet Club to lounge away the time. Most have free wi-fi, as well as an assortment of free beverages and snacks. Some even have decent food, like the Red Carpet in Narita, with sushi and sandwiches, along with free booze.
But, with all this time on our hands, there is an opportunity to do something either fun or at least time killing. Here are some things I found online, and some ideas of my own. Take your pick, Holiday travelers.
Airports that currently have gyms at the airport or within walking distance of the terminal :
- San Diego
- Las Vegas
(The problem here, is even if they have a shower, did you bring workout clothes AND clean underwear?)
Here is the newest edition to THEFLYINGPINTO.COM. It is still a work in progress, you will find links to most U.S. Airport web sites to your right. You will be able to find out lots of information on each airport’s site. I highly recommend that if you have a layover anywhere that you plan out your time. Not only can you plan your meal but you can find out if they have WiFi, and whether there is a charge or not. You can find out current travel conditions, where to shop, if there is anywhere to exercise, all kinds of great info. So, before you fly check it out!
Bring something to read. This will ensure that you will not have to pay an overpriced amount for a book or magazine at the airport book store. It also means you’re not limited to the selection at the airport. Hint: DO NOT read porn while on the road!
Freshen up. Just washing your hands and face can wake you up and make you feel a lot better. I feel a lot better too!
Take a walk. If you are between one long flight and another, walk around the airport and restore circulation to your legs. Many airports include public exhibits. Otherwise, you can window-shop, read regional billboards, watch airplanes, or simply look around. Get some fresh air if you can. Exercise will help you relax and provide you with an energy boost so you can get through the rest of your trip. Large airports, like Dulles, O’Hare, and Atlanta are large enough for a great walk and not see the same thing twice.
Nap. If you can contort your body like the teenagers, backpackers, or European travelers, be my guest. I personally would opt for the sexotel, like in Japan. Not much room, rent by the hour, complete privacy, even if all you do is sleep. Unless you get lucky!
Talk. I have met some real characters, and a few dufus types over the years. Most of what you get is a lot of B.S. Travelers seem to think they will never get caught telling big lies. I am not suggesting it, but if you try it, you will understand what I mean. I have passed for famous athletes, TV announcers, ambassador to the U.N., and several TV stars.
Eat. Always better to bring your own and avoid the high fat, high calorie stuff at the airport. Some airports have good stuff, like Seattle, Tokyo, or Hong Kong. When I travel, my motto is: you never know when the next meal or toilet will be found. Take your pick! Stop at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods on your way to the airport. Also, Fresh and Easy is coming soon.
Surf the Net. This is a sure fire way for me to pass the time, since I do so many travel blogs anyway. But I also use this time to research the country or city I am visiting. I also contact my friends at my destination for last second changes or details. I strongly suggest a netbook, iPad, or a visit to an airport business center.
Get a massage. If you have time and $$, this is one of the best investments that can be made at the airport, when stress builds, and uncertainty reigns. Just make sure it is NOT a Thai massage, as they are definitely former pretzel makers or WWF contestants. Also, stay away from the massage parlor!
Yoga. This is becoming one of the most popular ways to pass the time and relieve stress. Just make sure you are not wearing a mini skirt or halter top when doing yoga in front of fifty or sixty of your best friends that you will never see again.
Starbucks. Even if you are not hungry or thirsty, a stop here may result in a good conversation, or at least a bad cup of coffee. I always try to patronize the local places anyway. And I much prefer the bar.
The Bar. This is the best place in the airport to kill time and not know it. You will meet mostly drunks, ex hookers, ex junkies, and people like yourself. But I promise it will not be boring. I have met many interesting people this way, such as the world record javelin thrower, the salty, mean Peter Graves, and the ultra cute and funny Gidget. I have also met a few who need a loan or a fix.
Leave. Do not make like a tree, but leave the airport if you have enough time, and there is something of profound interest nearby. For example, at Dulles Airport in DC, visit a Smithsonian extension of the Air and Space, just a short cab ride or shuttle away. Or at SFO, take BART to Union Square for lunch and shopping. Or in Hong Kong, take the subway to a good dim sum spot in the city. Just remember to leave enough time to get back through customs and/or the TSA checkpoint.
Duty Free Shopping. Buyer beware, but some places actually have good deals, and a great selection. My favorite is Narita, where I can buy things I forgot to buy back in the City. Some places, like the Latin American countries have good prices, others like Europe are rip offs.
Cell Phone. But please don’t be a jerk and talk in a quiet area. I still think airports and lounges need “NO CELL PHONE” areas. But, find a corner somewhere, and catch up on your calls. But please, do not act like a big shot, since it will make you look more like a big sh*t!
Travel well and with a sense of humor.