Even frequent fliers get fed up with airports, but there are ways to make your experience a little brighter. When you can’t get to a luxury hotel—and have to stay put at the airport—trying to find ways to keep you busy is an adventure. Restaurants and specialty visitor shops get dull really quick. With a little creativity and a Wi-Fi connection, however, your waiting time will be a breeze. Here are a few tips that can help transform an airport nightmare into a more pleasant experience:
Befriend Your Social Networks
It never ceases to amaze me how much time ticks by while chatting with friends on Facebook. Hours also fly by while reading the newsfeed and catching up on news stories and opening photos. Look through all those inspirational travel and craft blogs. Create a Pinterest board featuring interesting things you see at airports. Having a tablet, laptop or smartphone handy helps pass the time. Thanks to the widespread availability of Wi-Fi networks, most airports are havens where you can easily be entertained by playing online games or maximize your time by working. As a security tip, make sure the Wi-Fi connection has a WPA2 encryption. Just like a lost bag on a flight, becoming a victim to identity theft can seriously disrupt your life. Investing in identity theft protection services, such as Lifelock, will safeguard your personal information. You don’t want added stress while relaxing in the airport terminal.
Avoid Busy Seasons
Traveling during the summer months can be stressful because more fliers are traveling for summer vacations. Holidays are also likely to produce a packed experience as well as certain hours during the day. For example, flights in the earliest hours of dawn or the latest hours of dusk are typically less crowded than other times of the day. You may also find more elbow room and less hassle by avoiding the first flight of the day. Pick your departure times wisely. If you have some room in your schedule, time it just right so that you can avoid crowds and get through the long lines efficiently.
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
If security lines frustrate you most, then keep in mind several options that can help you avoid standing in those long lines that snake around the desks. Pre-check kiosks give you a chance to put your fingerprints on file and hop to the front of the security line for $179 per year. A handful of American airports have “black diamond” security lines where frequent, “expert” travelers can move through security with less hassle than those who have no clue about security procedures. Since the lines are sometimes hidden, ask your airline if one exists.
We all want to get through the airport like it’s a Taco Bell drive thru, but if you can use some of these tips, you might find the airport to be part of the vacation experience that you could look forward to, or at least find a bit more bearable.
About the guest author: Katherine is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon.