So, I’m literally sitting at the airport as I type this. I got here a little before I needed to because I still believe in the “get there two hours early” rule despite taking an early flight out a tiny airport. I’d rather be cautious and spend time at the airport gate than at home stressing out about being late. Since I had two hours to spend here, I started thinking about things to do at the airport while you’re waiting at the gate.
And then I realized this could actually turn into a really interesting blog post.
Things To Do At The Airport While You’re Waiting At The Gate
You can’t bring coffee through security, but you can buy it once you get through. You can also buy lots of other food and drink items. Airports usually have a ton of variety as far as dining goes (except the one airport where I was stuck for 10 hours with only Arby’s and Cinnabon to choose from).
If you show up early, use it as an excuse to indulge with some fast food. Or take advantage of the fact that you can go to an airport bar during single digit hours and no one will judge you.
I love when airports have tons of stores. I never buy anything in them because they’re generally overpriced, but it’s so fun to window shop. It feels like you can find almost anything at the airport too, from electronics to travel pillows to anything the SkyMall can send to your house.
If you’re shopping before you get on the plane (as opposed to when you arrive at your destination’s airport), make sure you purchase items that can fit in your carry on bags or in your personal item. If not, that purchase may count as an additional bag and you’ll have to pay to bring it on the plane.
The airport is a great place to catch up on your reading. Goodness knows I don’t read enough when I’m at home because there’s always something to do (laundry, cleaning, gardening, etc.), so I spend all my free minutes doing chores instead of just sitting down with a book or magazine. None (well, almost none) of your chores follow you to the airport, so you have a little time to catch up on your reading.
And, if you didn’t bring something with you, those aforementioned stores will probably have one you can grab.
Do you remember that I mentioned I was typing this in the airport? I can get so much work done when I’m just sitting at the airport with nothing else to do. I can type up blog posts, answer emails, check social media, and more.
If you’re able to work remotely, getting a little bit done before your trip is an excellent idea. Tie up loose ends and you’ll get to your destination with a clear mind.
5. Catch up on your shows.
Most airports offer free WiFi, so sitting at the gate is a great time to catch up on a couple episodes of your favorite shows. You can use that time at the airport to download a few episodes too so you can watch them on your tablet when you get on the plane.
If you have an incredibly long flight (ours to Japan is 13 hours(, you might get through a full season before you get to your destination. That’s one way to catch up on that show everyone at work is talking about that you just don’t have time to watch.
6. Watch the planes.
Back in the day, when the TSA restrictions were a little less, well, restrictive, you could actually go to the airport and sit all day, watching planes come in and take off. You can’t do that anymore without a boarding pass. So definitely find a window and watch the planes coming and going.
7. People watch.
Or just watch the people.
I love making up stories for people when I people watch. I give them completely fleshed out backstories, I know where they’ve been and where they’re going. Blame the writer in me. But people watching at the airport, when they’re coming out of the gate or waiting to go on a flight, really is a lot of fun.
8. Get steps.
You know I’m a bit fan of getting 10,000 daily steps. Some days, especially days when you’re spending a significant amount of time on an airplane, that can be really hard. So use the time at the gate to your advantage. Walk from one end of the terminal to the other (or as far as you’re able to walk).
I still play Pokemon Go, so I walk at the airport and catch Pokemon. Airports usually ave a lot of stops, gyms, and pokemon to catch, so it’s a lot of fun.
Look at the time at the gate as a blessing. The Tampa Airport just started TPA All Access. The pass is completely free and gives you access to wings of the Tampa Airport so you can enjoy the restaurants and stores, even if you aren’t flying anywhere.
The Pittsburgh Airport has the My PIT Pass program, the first to start this non-flyer access to the airport. So consider yourself lucky. You get to access the amenities of the airport and fly away too.
Shannon at FitLifeTravel
Tuesday 3rd of January 2023
These are some really good ideas! We usually just sit quietly and people watch.
Monday 19th of August 2019
I loved your idea about if you have a layover, you should use it as an excuse to indulge in fast food. I typically tend to keep a pretty healthy lifestyle, and when I am traveling is the only time I allow myself to have fast food and other things like coffee. In my opinion, one should be really careful when choosing flights and airports to have time to be relaxed during a trip while also not having to wait for days during a layover and eat all the fast food in the place.
drugstore diva lisa
Monday 19th of August 2019
I definitely have coffee every day, but I limit my fast food and high-calorie treats so that they really are indulgences and not something I crave (or allow myself to have) regularly. I love that you have the same idea when it comes to enjoying things on vacation =]
Monday 17th of June 2019
This is just what I needed for my next flight in a few days. I love reading and working while I’m waiting for a flight. People watching too?
Monday 17th of June 2019
These are great tips. I always took a Word Search Book or use my laptop to keep up with my email, blog posts etc.
Saturday 15th of June 2019
Sometimes waiting is boring task .But,most of the times doing all those things passes the time well.