The Best Way to Spend Your Time in the Airport

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Flight been cancelled? Got there earlier than expected? It may seem like a long wait ahead but there's a lot of things to pass the time in an airport. Here's a few ideas:

1. Exercise

Feeling your muscles seize from all those flight delays? Hit the gym! Many airport hotels have fitness centres in them with day passes available for the public, some are even open 24 hours. Don’t have a spare set of workout clothes? Get on your feet and take a brisk walk around the terminal, mall-walking-style, but avoid running if you don’t want to risk getting tackled by security.

2. Spoil yourself

Airport day spas and massage shops have become ubiquitous at international airports. Have a fear of flying? Melt away your jitters with a muscle-tingling back or foot massage, or treat yourself to a facial treatment and a mani-pedi. Just don’t get so relaxed that you forget your boarding time.

3. Lounge around

Deluxe lounges can now be your home away from home - for a few hours, anyway - for a small fee. At minimum they usually have comfy seating, newspapers and magazines, a food buffet and free wi-fi.

4. People-watch

If there’s anything airports are rarely short of, it’s people. Take an interest in your fellow travellers: play detective and see how much you can figure out about them through your powers of observation (or play fashion police and judge their bad taste in clothing instead). 

5. Sleep

Don’t be bashful. Every time I stretch out beside a window or under the seats in an airport I think to myself, “my, I must look strange.” But that thought is soon eclipsed by sleep. Just make sure to be courteous to your fellow passengers and not take up too many seats.

6. Play games

If you know that you’ll be spending more than a few hours in an airport, pack some cards or compact travel games to keep you amused.  Sometimes you have to get creative with games like “stranger scavenger hunt” (looking for other travellers with a certain set of criteria, i.e. a family of four, a teenager with blue hair, etc.) Think outside the box!

7. Window shop

Duty-free shopping is one of the most obvious ways to spend time in an airport, but if you’re only starting your vacation you may be concerned with saving luggage space for souvenirs. Not to fret—you can still have fun while window shopping. Consider putting on a small spot of a free perfume sample if you haven’t had time to shower for awhile (but not so much that it will irritate your neighbours on the next flight). London’s Heathrow airport is a particularly fun place to window shop, especially at Terminal 5’s 11,000-square-foot Harrods.

8. Hit up the WiFi

Some airports have free WiFi that’s free for at least a half hour. You’ll be required to register with your email address, so if you have more than one email to your name you could potentially stretch that to an hour or hour and a half. Also, some airports have tablet stations with free WiFi (though these tend to fill up quickly). 

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