Long layovers aren’t something one would look forward to, especially if you’re traveling solo – but they really don’t have to be a royal pain
Other than having to deal with heartache and stress from cancelled flights at the airport, delayed flights come a close second as ‘the most frustrating experience’ for a traveller. And if you’re stuck with an ultra long layover between flights (say, anything longer than four hours), the sheer thought of the ‘long and painful wait’ is enough to kill the spirited traveller in you.
So what do you do when you’ve maxed out on caffeine and donut intake, and your eyes are begging for you to look at anything – and we mean, ANYTHING – except more Candy Crush, and you have hours before it’s boarding time?
Fret not, worldly travellers – we have a list of things for you to check off when you’re left with nothing but time on your hands. Pick from any of the following ideas (or a combo), and start that vacay early!
MAKE A NEW FRIEND
So here’s a capital idea. Why don’t you put that smartphone away, look up, make eye contact with the stranger next to you and strike up a conversation. You know, just like how we used to make friends in the good old days? Human beings are social creatures and most people would be more than happy to indulge in a conversation than have their noses dug into a “smart” device. There are probably exceptions, of course. Only God knows what goes on in the heads of Gen Ys. (Hey, we said ‘MOST people’, didn’t we?)
WALK THIS WAY
If you’re going to be seated in the plane for hours and hours, you might as well use the dreaded long layover to work those legs. Go for a walk – whether at a leisurely pace or brisk – and stretch your muscles. And guess what? You get to burn some calories while you’re at it.
UNLEASH THE FOODIE IN YOU
Buckle up, and get adventurous! (Plus, it’s a great way to reel in more followers on Instagram.) Check out the various dining outlets and snack kiosks at the airport, take some drool-worthy images and post ‘em up on your favourite social media platform. And unleash the food critic in you while you’re at it!
Travelling can be stressful, and to mitigate this some airports offer therapy animals, a boon for dog lovers especially. The San Francisco International Airport, for example, has what it terms the Wag Brigade where canines certified by the San Francisco SPCA and accompanied by their handlers walk the terminals; look out for loveable furballs wearing vests that read ‘Pet Me’.
EXERCISE THE MIND
Be honest now. When was the last time you picked up a book – an actual paperback or hardcopy? (Shame on you!) Browse around for a book you’ve always wanted to read but never made time for it; get it and start reading! You could even challenge yourself to finish the entire book before you board the plane, assuming it’s not JRR Tolkien’s epic chronicles from Middle Earth, that is!
INDULGE IN AIRPORT ACTIVITIES
Some airports offer fun activities for guests to take advantage of such as foosball tables, movie theatres, museum exhibits and art showcases. Incheon Airport in South Korea even offers a skating rink, while Singapore’s Changi Airport boasts a rooftop swimming pool. Time sure flies when you’re having fun – so just make sure you don’t miss your flight!
If you’re well attuned to the benefits of yoga (or just always wanted to give it a go), the best, simplest thing you can do is deep-breathing, mindful meditation. Find a comfy spot, get settled. Breathe in deeply through your nose for at least three seconds and hold it in for a further two seconds.
Next, exhale for at least four seconds through the mouth. Repeat. As you continue, pay close attention to the process of inhalation and exhalation.
Observe the sensations that flow through the body as you breathe, how your chest expands and contracts. Focusing on your deep, rhythmic breaths help turn your mind inward and activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation by reducing stress and anxiety.
CALL YOUR LOVED ONES (and not text!)
In today’s age of incessant texting, the art of conversing over the phone is, slowly but surely – and sadly, becoming a rare occurrence. Calling up someone you love but haven’t spoken to in a while is a fantastic way to bring a smile to both your faces, and makes you realise just how much you’ve missed talking to them!
What better way to calm those already stressed nerves and mind than by chilling out at the bar for a couple of drinks. After all, they’re there for a reason. Sit back, relax, grab a drink – or a few. Get to know your fellow bar “mates”. Just don’t lose track of time!
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