The delayed flight/long layover is the bane of all travelers, beaten only by lost luggage, getting pick pocketed, and succumbing to food poisoning. Here are my suggestions for how to amuse yourself at airports.
1. Get Your Rummy On
On a trip to Africa this past summer, I fell victim to serious layoveritis. The layovers lasted four to six hours in Amsterdam and Tanzania. Of course, four to six hours is exactly the duration that is too short to leave the airport on a city jaunt, and too long to write off. How did said traveler and her crew stay sane? Playing cards. Hours and hours of cards. I recommend this amusement wholeheartedly. Find a flat surface and set up a card game. A classic, relatively complex game like rummy works perfectly. You may even meet a fellow delayed travelers.
2. Read Something from Cover to Cover
The efficient packer in me hates lugging books on trips. But I’ll make exceptions in the name of intellectual self-betterment. Order that book you’ve been meaning to read off of Amazon.com. If you need some suggestions, check out these recommended books to pack . Once you’re done reading it, leave it in the seat pocket of your flight home; someone else will thank you.
Tip: Why not pick a book about the country you’re visiting? Things you read will take on special meaning, it’s pretty cool.
3. Update Your Travel Journal
“Dear diary …” Did you remember to pack a travel journal? If you did, good job. If you didn’t, pick up a cheapo notepad at the airport. I always find myself forgetting those little details that made certain moments on my trip special. It’s like I’m getting old or something. Anyway, to ensure your memories last forever, put delay and layover time to good use, write up your last few days of travel in your journal. Keep stubs and receipts in it too—some journals have pockets that can help.
4. Write Postcards
I’m not personally big on postcards but airport wait time is the perfect opportunity to buy a few and fill ‘em out. Send one to your roommates, girlfriend or boyfriend, coworkers, grandmama, and even to yourself. There’s nothing quite like getting a pretty piece of paper with an exotic stamp on it, so do it. Make someone smile, your trip will be on refrigerators everywhere.
5. Get Organized
I admit it, I hiked with my BlackBerry to Machu Picchu. But in my defense, we did have to do an insane night hike on the Inca Trail due to some transportation worker strikes. And did the cold, dead glow of our devices come in handy? Heck yeah—who needs a headlamp? (Just kidding about the headlamp, please purchase one accordingly. I do not endorse using mobile telecommunication devices as lighting systems). So. If you have your various devices that keep you on the grid, use airport layover time to clean out your inbox, write back to everyone you’ve been ignoring, post a Facebook update or two, etc. Getting online kills time like woah.