Updated on June 13, 2010
10 Ways to Waste Time Between Flights
We are finally back firmly on two feet after a long series of flights from Montevideo, Uruguay to Raleigh, North Carolina. The last few days I realized how important wasting time can be, especially in American airports where flights are chronically delayed. This list is sure to keep your layovers exciting.
1.) People watching can be both entertaining and educational. Upon returning to your home country from abroad behavior and characteristics of people from your own country certainly stand out. Maybe you can fill your time listening to the exchanges between two divorcees with children in tow, who are on vacation together apparently for the first time. You haven’t seen dysfunctional family dynamics until you spend an hour with a family like this in an airport.
2.) Take a bus downtown if you have enough time. This tactic should be reserved for excessively long layovers. Once downtown you will probably find that there really isn’t enough to entertain you for an afternoon, especially while you are toting around your pack which is bulging from souvineers, but at least your cheeseburger won’t cost $7.50. This is also a great opportunity to practice using public transportation, which functions entirely different than what you have gotten used to abroad.
3.) Get a hair cut. If you have been traveling for any amount of time you will most likely either look like a bum or someone named Wolfgang. If you are female, or traveling with one, a haircut will chew up a good chunk of time.
4.) Go to a grocery store while you are downtown to get a cheaper meal. Your giant pack and dirty clothes will probably recieve strange looks, but what do you care. Be careful about being overcome with the sheer quantity of different items available and remember that you will have to eat everything you buy before getting on the airplane.
5.) Play cards. Everyone knows a few card games and you probably won’t be to this point in your travels without a deck of cards. Your sanity would have been hopelessly lost long ago had you not had cards to fill the time.
6.) Starbucks is a great place to waste time in an air conditioned environment. Buy a cup of coffee and then sit and mooch WiFi and cool air for as long as you can draw out the visit. If you can find a Starbucks with out door seating you can move there when the coffee artists start giving you angry looks.
7.) Read or watch the news. Most airports have televisions and all have newsstands. This will keep you occupied until you become too depressed to go on. If by some chance there is something worth watching on television, like an “E” True Hollywood Special or any of the other quality educational programs that keep you up to date with what celebrities weights or drinking habits are, then it may keep you entertained for an entire layover.
8.) Talk with people around you. Ask as many questions as possible until the person gets mad or leaves. This is a great way to test the tolerance culture. This works best with people from your own country because you can always come up with a few meaningless connections for each of their responses. Just don’t be deterred if they give you one word answers at first, they can’t help it they aren’t Uruguayan.
9.) If you went downtown you can try to find a park to sit in. This can prove difficult in the U.S. where cities have an affinity for concrete. If there are children playing nearby try not to appear creepy as this could invite unwanted attention from the local authorities who are some how less friendly than the ones you ran in to every where else in the world.
10.) Finally, if you have exhausted our list write a humorous article or list like this one that will probably be read by 20 people, tops. Better yet if you are really bored and need to waste time start a blog. WiFi is available at most airports and many cafes. Doing this will also help you come up with more activities while you are still waiting for the plane.
The most important thing to do while waiting in an airport is to maintain good humor. No one likes to be in an airport, but if you follow these guidelines your layover should be more enjoyable or at the very least more exciting.