Worthwhile Ways to Kill Time At the Airport (When Sleeping Isn’t an Option)

Silhouette of young family and airplane

Two of the most common reasons behind long waits at the airport are delayed/cancelled flights, and simply arriving too early for one’s flight. But whichever reason is behind the long wait; everyone can agree that doing so can be nerve-rackingly unbearable, especially if your flight isn’t up for a few hours. For some, all they need is a bench or even adequate clean floor space to lie down and nap, but this isn’t exactly an option for everyone (particularly with those suffering from insomnia or jet lag).

On the other hand, playing a game or watching videos on your phone or laptop can get tiring, especially when you’re aware that you’re just trying to kill time until the boarding announcement. That said, let’s take a look at worthwhile ways you can spend time at the airport.

Catch Up On Work

If you want to be productive and make fruitful use of your “free time”, find a good spot at the airport where you can charge your laptop and try to have some work done. Perhaps grab a coffee and a snack, and turn this little space you have into a mini-office. Before you even know it, you’d be able to finish up a task (or more, depending on the time) when your flight’s finally ready. However, make sure to keep an eye out for your belongings, as pickpockets often target people who seem very pre-occupied and distracted.

Learn Phrases and Words in Other Languages

Most airports have various translations in their signage and boards, especially in international ones. If you’re up for it, try looking at the signs and learn words and phrases in foreign languages through them. You could even use a translation app on your phone to help you out with the pronunciation. Alternatively, you can chat up the locals working in food and coffee stalls and ask them to teach you a thing or two about their dialect while you order food from them.

Window Shop (Or Just Shop)

Woman in shopping. Happy woman with shopping bags enjoying in shopping.

Big airports often have duty-free shops and a myriad of other stores that usually sell international and local goods. If you have the energy to walk around, try visiting every shop at the airport. You may even end up learning about local delicacies and culture, or find a suitable replacement for your worn out travel pillow. Whichever the case, there’s no doubt that window shopping (or shopping) can eat up a lot of time (but also money). Doing so could also help you get a last-minute souvenir or gift if you forgot to buy one during your stay.

Catch Up on Old Friends and Relatives

It’s a pretty random thought, but, why not try to call a friend or close relative that you haven’t talked to in years? You’d be surprised as to how much has changed or happened since the last time you met or talked. These “reconnecting” conversations can last you up to hours, and can be very fulfilling — you may even end up rekindling old friendships and relationships in doing so. So, find a quiet spot where you can call (or chat) this friend or relative of yours.

Take Advantage of Airport Attractions

Some airports understand the plight of passengers enduring long waiting times and provide attractions to help you pass the time (and sometimes even teach you about local culture). So, for example, if you’re lucky enough to be stuck waiting in Singapore’s international airport, there’s actually a lot of things to do in Changi airport that can help distract you while waiting for your flight — and if you’re an architecture and nature buff, the sights and attractions in Jewel Changi is definitely for you.

The Takeaway

If sleeping isn’t an option for you, make the most out of your time in the airport and do something fruitful, memorable, or educational to pass the time. Eventually, you’ll see these long waiting times at the airport as a gift instead of a hurdle to endure.

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