Airports can be boring places – there’s no doubt about that. For whatever reason you’re travelling by air, you’ll almost definitely have a wait (unless you’re one of those last-minute people). As we all know too well, often flights are delayed too – so you may be in limbo for several hours surrounded by what seems, at first, the most boring place to be on earth.
That’s all about to change, there’s more to an airport than meets the eye. In this handy guide, I’ll be outlining 32 fun things you can do to pass the time in an airport when you’re delayed, waiting for your flight or for any other reason you might be waiting around with nothing to do.
1. Find a lounge
The first thing I try and find when I’m waiting in an airport is a lounge. These are sectioned off areas of airports which often provide unlimited refreshments and an unspoiled view of the runway. Naturally, these are not free to access – most of the time, if you try to get in at the entrance, you’ll be charged a fortune.
Don’t let this deter you from going though – I’ve got a little tip for you.
If you download the
Some of the things you can do in an airport lounge include:
- Watch a movie (with a glass of wine?)
- Read a magazine
- Watch planes land/takeoff on the runway
In my book, it’s by far the best way to while away the hours in an airport.
2. Find deals
This one is for the consumers out there. Free of duty tax, a lot of airports are renowned for having some good deals lying around just waiting to be found. Try your luck by strolling through the shops within the airport, try looking for expensive items that you would usually buy outside of the airport, that way you can grab the biggest savings.
3. Play games
This one is perfect for families, couples, groups of friends (basically anyone who isn’t on their own). In our daily lives, we spend so much time online, and nowhere near enough interacting with other people. Try some of the games below with the people around you – I can assure you, time will fly.
- Who am I – grab a piece of paper (e.g an old boarding pass), write names of well-known people, lick the back of it and put it on players’ foreheads and see who can get it right
- Cards – card games can be a great way to spend time in an airport (if you don’t have any, you’ll find some at one of the airport shops) – this one is more fun with a few beers at the airport bar
- Would you rather – take it in turns to list two things (both bad/undesirable) and then respond with which you would rather – it’s pretty simple really
4. Watch people
This isn’t just something limited to airports, but it’s usually much more interesting. It involves watching people go about their lives, if you’re vigilant enough, you’ll probably witness some minor beef because of the high-stress levels you get in environments like airports.
Don’t stare too much though, you might look a bit weird.
5. Read a book (or ebook)
I know, an airport isn’t the most relaxing place to enjoy a spot of reading but if you can find a quiet(ish) area, put in some headphones and listen to classical music, it’s actually pretty easy to sink into a book for a couple of hours. If you didn’t bring one with you, you could try out Audible on your phone/laptop – it lets you listen to thousands of interesting novels from pretty much any genre.
6. Watch something
It’s basic, but there’s a reason that it is one of the most popular things to do at an airport. Whenever you watch a movie or TV series, time really does whizz past. Here are my favourite things to watch in an airport:
- Movies on Prime Video (30-day free trial)
When you hear the word ‘meditation‘, you think of someone on a calm beach with the sound of waves lapping up the shore. Well, that’s not strictly true, a lot of people can and do meditate in busy environments like airports. It can be the ideal way to pass the time. Just open up YouTube, put in some earphones, search for guided meditation and be mindful for a short period of time. Make sure you keep your luggage close by so it doesn’t get stolen and even better, if you can, find a way to tie it to you or your chair.
8. Try plane spotting
Just because your plane may be delayed, or you are just a keen bean, and you’re waiting around for it, doesn’t mean you can’t relish in the excitement by watching/identifying other planes. Maybe try and guess where each plane is traveling to or coming from.
If you are with children, or if you are just a child at heart, you could make up a game where the first person to spot a specific airline, or coloured plane wins the round. Plane spotting does sound a bit dull at first, but use your imagination and the world (airport) is your oyster! You could even people-watch those that are boarding/alighting the plane. Such fun!
9. Make friends
Now, if you are an introvert like some, you are likely to skip past this one very quickly, but wait! It may be easier than you think. Especially if you are on your own, you’ll be surprised who will be happy to engage in light conversation with you. Talk about something you both have in common, such as the fact that you are both waiting for your plane!
You could talk about:
- Where they are traveling to
- If they are going on holiday, or going home from being on holiday
- Where they/you are staying (without sounding too creepy)
- Whether they are traveling for work or leisure (which could spark conversation about their work)
- Current affairs
- How annoying it is that your plane is delayed!
10. Create a bucket list
This is the perfect time you’ve been waiting for to finally put together your bucket list! Maybe think about what you could possibly do on your holiday destination which could tick off some of your goals.
Everyone’s goals are completely individual. Some people may be more into adventure and some may just want to make memories with loved ones. If you have never thought about making a bucket list, you could consider:
- Swimming with dolphins
- Sailing a boat
- Bathing an elephant
- Kissing in the rain
- Going on a blind date
- Singing karaoke
- Traveling to (country)
- Dancing on a table
11. Eat at a restaurant
Ahhh airport restaurants. Perhaps cast your eyes away from Burger King and Mcdonalds and try something new. Challenge yourself and go for something you wouldn’t normally choose (if it actually looks nice, obviously). You never know, you might discover a hidden gem! Plus, what better way to pass the time than with some good food (and a cheeky drink).
12. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while
Are you guilty of telling grandma, your sister or old friend that you’ll catch up soon, but never do? Well, now you have no excuse. This is the perfect time to engage in some natter and talk to someone you really care about. After all, time flies when you’re having fun.
13. Get some work done
I usually find that by using my time effectively by using it to complete work allows me to relax once I get on the plane. Doing bits of work here and there will never not be a good idea. Just bite the bullet and finish that assignment!
14. Start writing a book
A bit rogue, but if you have always had the desire to write your own book, now’s the time to start. Just do some research into starting a book or novel. Start jotting down your plan or your ideas for the content of the book. After all, it’s about the marathon, not the sprint.
You could even continue it on the flight, as you don’t need the internet to access the depths of your fascinating imagination.
15. Book a taxi for your arrival
It is always nice to arrive somewhere and see someone there waiting for you, knowing exactly where to take you. It can often be daunting, especially if signs are in a foreign language, to navigate and find a taxi service or train station.
Before you board onto your plane, which likely has no wifi or service, if you haven’t already, look into the most reliable taxi companies. Get into contact with them so you know that some of the stress will be lifted upon the other side. And relax…
16. Go to a bar
If, like me, you are a sucker for a good G&T, you are in the right place. Most airports will have at least one bar you can chill out in. Even better if you are with a couple of friends to get the mood for the holiday off to a good start.
On the other hand, if you are plain terrified of flying, the bar can also become your best friend. I’m not condoning drinking alcohol to cope with emotions, but I mean, it does take the edge off.
Note: if you are drunk, you are likely to be refused to fly, so bear this in mind. And unfortunately, “but… TripDork told me to get wasted” won’t stand up as an argument.
17. Take a nap
As busy humans, it is important to get beauty sleep. You are at an airport, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you are a little (or a lot) sleep-deprived as you are reading this. Why not catch forty winks whilst you wait for your plane.
Granted, an airport is usually not the easiest place to sleep, but you might be able to find rooms which are rented out for people to sleep in. These can often be found in lounges.
If you don’t want to put your valuable holiday money into that, there are some other viable options. You will be able to find a neck pillow almost anywhere, and you could camp up on a seat for a quick nap. If you are traveling with a partner you could take turns in lying on each others laps.
If your flight is majorly delayed, the airport might even hand out cots or temporary beds for passengers. Bet they’re comfy.
Just make sure you wake up in time (set an alarm, ask people to wake you etc)!
18. Make sure you’re prepared to fly
Make sure that you have all the essentials for your flight:
- Eye mask (for sleeping)
- Charged phone
- Downloaded music/movies
- Neck pillow
- Done your last pee
You can usually grab all of these items from the airport shops inside the terminal building.
Comment down below if you have any unique ‘essentials’ you take with you on the plane.
19. Begin to learn a new language
If you want to really utilise your time well and use it to better yourself, try learning a new language. For example, when going to Spain, you could learn a bit of Spanish before your flight, and, you never know, it might impress your friends/family and make you look a little smarter. If you’re picking up from where you left off from in school, you’re likely to remember more than you think.
There are several apps that can make language learning that little bit easier. One that I always go back to is DuoLingo. It can also take away the tediousness of it and turn it into a bit of a game.
20. Buy the weirdest thing possible for $5
If you are traveling with a group of people, set a challenge to see who can buy the strangest item possible for $5 in the airport.
Give a time limit, like 10 minutes, to go off and find the weirdest thing in the airport. And remember, a condom isn’t original, Danny. Then congregate at the arranged meeting point and show and tell your items. They may even become part of the family, or a centrepiece for the holiday.
Loser buys a round!
21. Make an audience
If you think you have some talent, this would be the best opportunity to showcase it. You never know, someone may put it on YouTube and you could go viral!
Note: check with staff first, as different airports will have different rules.
22. Have a debate
Bring up an interesting controversial topic of discussion, and have your own mini debate. Although, choose your opponents carefully -don’t ruin your holiday by getting into an argument before it even begins. Now that wouldn’t be fun…
23. Download something to watch on the flight
If you have a subscription to a streaming network, you can usually download films or series to watch offline.
Why not try that new series that your friends are all raving about, or that movie that no one will ever watch with you because they’ve already seen it?
24. Start a side-hustle
If you are passionate about something, starting a website is an easy way to have some extra income on the side. It will take some time to build up (and probably won’t make you any cash whilst you’re sat there in the airport next to Uncle Dave) but with some love and attention, it could really flourish.
You could also list things on Depop, eBay or etsy.
25. Listen to that podcast you always said you would
Podcasts are an enjoyable way to pass the time, and you can access loads for free if you have Spotify. Some are factual, some are entertaining, and some are even stories you can listen to. They don’t really require much effort, just sit back, listen and relax.
26. Update your status
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.. you name it. Do what you people do best: social media. Need I say much more?
27. Come up with an idea for your next trip
If you are heading back from your holiday, maybe think what you could improve on for your next trip. Do you need more of an activity-based holiday next, more sun, more beaches or more of a family-catering holiday?
It can often be a mood killer sitting in the airport on your way home, so think of something to get you excited again to avoid those post-holiday blues!
28. Grab coffee & cake
Airports are usually ridden with coffee shops. Go and grab a hot drink and a nibble to pass the time.
It is easy to sit and do some work at coffee shops too, and they can be a nicer environment than just sitting in the middle of the airport.
29. Go for a walk
Explore the realms of the airport, especially if it is in a foreign country. You’ll never know what you might find. Singapore’s Changi airport even has a butterfly garden.
Even if you don’t find anything, at least you get some exercise out of it, and you’ll be thankful for the leg stretch before sitting on a plane.
30. Charge your device(s)
This is seen as possibly the most important ‘activity’ to do by many. You will almost definitely need your phone when you land to arrange transport, use maps, and let your loved ones know you have arrived. It is also useful in the case of an emergency.
On the flight, using a laptop to watch movies and shows, and to do some work will help pass the time, and your phone can be used to listen to music and play games.
Ah, modern-day problems.
31. Do some stretches
Stretching is a common method of relaxation for some. Even if you have never incorporated stretching into your daily routine, or even after the gym, it could be a good time to start. Not only does it have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing, but your body will also be grateful for a good stretch before being cramped up on a plane.
But how do I do this in an airport?
You don’t have to get down on all fours on the airport floor (ew) in order to get a good stretch in. Here are a few you can do sitting down in a chair:
- Roll your head back, to the sides and to the front in circles. This will help stretch out your neck.
- Put your arm across your body and hold it with your other hand. Repeat for both arms.
- Lift one leg up and hold it up straight as high as it will go. This one is especially good for the hamstrings if you are in between flying. Alternative method: stand up and bend down as far as you can with one leg, keeping the other one straight and leaning forward over this leg, trying to touch your toes.
Note: always speak to your doctor before performing stretches.
32. Drink water
It is important to remember to stay hydrated when traveling. Flying on a plane can cause dehydration as you are breathing in air with hardly any moisture in it. This can lead to a feeling of tiredness and lack of energy. It is actually recommended that you increase your normal daily intake of water when flying.
It is easy to forget to drink water, especially when you’re not allowed to take it through security. After security, make sure you buy a bottle of water and keep refilling it if there are water fountains available. You should be able to request tap water from some places, but a lot of countries do not give out tap water as it is not safe to drink.