The recent polar vortex created quite a few flight delays for winter travelers this year. Unfortunately, delays in the airport are as inevitable as death and taxes. Even when everything’s running on time, you still have to arrive early to ensure you make it through ticketing, security checks, and all that jazz.
You’re stuck in the airport for a sizable amount of time, but there’s no reason that the time you spend waiting must be wasted. Instead of counting down the minutes, try one of these free ways to kill time while waiting for your flight.
Admire the Scenery
No matter the location of your airport, there’s something to see–even if it’s just the sky. You can also people watch, and most public spaces are filled with art. Go explore a little bit and admire the visual stimulation around you. At least, it’s not prison or, worse, a cubicle.
Communication is a lost art. When I was a kid, we spent hours pouring our hearts onto a piece of paper, then hand-crafting it into an intricate or elegant design to pass to a friend or crush. You likely have receipt paper or a dollar bill on you. Look up origami designs and learn to make something creative. You can give your work to any children you see to help brighten their day while they wait.
Work on Your Budget
It’s not technically entertaining, but if you’re sitting around doing nothing, being productive is a better option. Budgeting may be something you loathe, but you’re stuck in the airport and you do need to budget, so double down on the annoyance and kill two birds at once.
Learn Foreign Vocabulary
You’re not the only traveler in the airport. It’s a port for air travelers from all over the world. Because of this, airports cater to people from other cultures. You can learn a lot from reading the signs or eavesdropping on conversations. If you have your phone handy, you can even utilize technology to assist with the translation.
Make Business Contacts
Talk to the people around you. You never know who may be a potential client, boss, or partner. It’s always a good idea to spread your business card and contact info around so people are aware of you. Airports are especially good because your message is carried over long geographic distances. Never pass up an opportunity to self-promote.
Play a Video Game
Freemium gaming has achieved almost full penetration into the mobile gaming market. No matter what you’re into, you can likely find a free game on your mobile device or computer that will tickle your fancy. Make sure you’re near an electrical outlet though, so you conserve battery power for the flight, where it may not be readily available.
Luggage Cart Races
If you want to appease your inner child, a luggage cart race is a great way to do it. It helps to have other participants, but even solo it’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying a few laughs.
Make a list of items to search for and go out on a hunt. This is another game that’s more fun to play with a group of people, but it’s also very playable alone. Challenge yourself to find more and more random items.
Film a Prank Show
An airport is a great place to pull pranks on people for YouTube videos. Just try to keep them good-natured and family-friendly or you may find yourself in a back room cavity search.
Write a Journal
You’re alone with your thoughts, so you may as well write them down. Keeping a journal is a great way to spark creativity, plus it’s nice to go back and read your previous writings.
Whether it’s a flight delay caused by incremental weather or just the normal routine of waiting in line after line, traveling means spending a lot of stagnant time at the airport. With a little resourcefulness and creativity, it doesn’t have to be wasted time. Occupy your mind with these free ways to kill time in an airport, and ride a high during a routine flight delay.