Are you the type of person who cannot sit still? Who hates the idea of wasting time? Who sees sitting back and relaxing as a waste of time? Then you probably hate long airport layovers, or even just waiting 30 minutes to board. Luckily for you we’ve found some surprising ways to kill time (or make the best use of it!) at the airport. Here are 10 surprising ways you can make great use of your layover.
You usually pass up those odd cubicles set up inside of the airport shopping area, where people are laying back in examination chairs or being prodded at by someone in a lab coat. But not so fast: you probably have a teeth cleaning or doctor’s visit you’ve been putting off at home. Many airports such as Sāo Paulo-Guarulhos International, have health professionals on site offering everything from teeth cleanings to blood pressure tests to full check ups. So you can cross that off your list when you get home!
Not the kind with your head rested on a stranger or your suitcase, where you wake up with a stiff neck, but a good nap. Many airports, like the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, offer designated sleeping rooms, or even just extra-comfortable chairs designed to help you sleep, where you can get quality zzzs before your flight. That way, you arrive fresh and don’t need to waste your first afternoon sleeping in your hotel room.
If you make a point of being in nature for some part of every day, you’re probably wondering how to fit it in between your five-hour flight, the next layover, the next flight and the meeting you have scheduled the moment you land. Visit a green space right in the airport. Many airports have greenhouses, small gardens, and even mini-rainforest type environments. Chicago O’Hare has a stunning vertical farm.
Your vacation’s over and you forgot to send postcards. Pick some up in the gift shop and write them now. You’re still technically on vacation. Even if you’re not a postcard writer, you could probably think up a long list of friends and family members you’ve been meaning to write a letter to or send a note to for months. There is almost certainly a fancy stationary store in the airport.
Most large airports have a hair salon! And if you’re visiting a place known for style like France, Japan or New York, you will probably find quality hair stylists even in the airport. That, like a teeth cleaning, is another thing you can knock off your to-do list when you get home. It should come as no surprise that the Miami International Airport has a great hair salon.
Maybe at home you didn’t want to make time for the book you consider “fluff” that is somehow showing up on Oprah’s and the New York Times best sellers lists. Well, guess what? You’re stuck in the airport now, you didn’t bring your highbrow books with you, and you can guarantee all the gift shops are selling that book everyone’s talking about. So read it! And stop being the dummy with nothing to say when it comes up in conversation.
That’s right. Some airports, like Japan’s Narita, have vet clinics and a grooming stations. If you’re traveling with your pooch and he is due for a teeth cleaning, check up, or even just a nail trim, get it done during your layover!
If you have a particularly long layover, don’t feel trapped. Many airports, like those in Singapore, Utah and Istanbul, offer free shuttles into the heart of the city for you to take a look around, and then they’ll shuttle you back to the airport in time for your flight. So you can officially say you’ve visited that city, instead of saying, “I was just stuck there on a layover.”
Even airports that don’t offer full health clinics sometimes offer vaccinations inside their pharmacies. So you can cross that flu shot off of your list, or even get the vaccinations required for your next out-of-the-country trip! JFK, SFO and Newark-Liberty are just a few offering this service.
You don’t want to arrive at your destination in a terrible mood when family members, friends or — even worse — brand new work associates are waiting to greet you. Many airports today offer meditation rooms. If you’re new to meditation, what better time to try it than before getting on a massive airborne machine that will fly thousands of feet above the Earth…
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