I fly a lot. Seriously, I have already been on six air travel round trips this year and have another four planned. With the convenience of flying, many of us have turned from hours logged in the car to hours logged in the airport. For me, the worst part of flying is that it sometimes you spend more time in the airport than on the airplane. Especially true if you travel later in the day and are subject to seemingly endless delays. As frustrating as air travel seems to be lately, here are some tips from this frequent flyer to have a more enjoyable airport layover.
See if the airport you are in has a USO.
As a spouse, you are eligible to spend your layover in the USO as long as you remembered to bring your ID card (and really, we are conditioned to never leave home without it!). With its friendly volunteers, comfy chairs, and big televisions, the USO is a great place to spend some time. They have snacks and drinks available, a place to store your luggage and a restroom so that you don’t have to drag your whole life into the stall with you. If you are traveling with children, I highly recommend the USO as they often have a play area, and a comfortable spot for nursing. Additionally, if you want to get some work done but don’t want to go through the hassle of pulling out and putting away your laptop when going through security, the USO has computers and printers available to use.
Check for a yoga or meditation room.
Five U.S. airports now have yoga or mediation rooms available to passengers – Dallas-Ft. Worth, Raleigh-Durham, Albuquerque, Burlington, and San Francisco. As a frequent visitor to the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport when traveling out of Ft. Hood, I love the idea that I can pop in, grab a mat (provided), and flow through some sun salutations before dealing with the inevitable probability of sitting in front of a screaming child for two hours. Plus, yoga while traveling is the best excuse to travel fashionably in yoga attire!
Similarly, check for walking paths.
Indianapolis and Dallas-Ft. Worth have designated paths and many airports including Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and New Orleans have posted walking distances to keep you in the know. So, instead of feeling like you missed a whole day of exercise, wear your running shoes (they take up the most space in the bag anyway), and do some light cardio. Plus, if you are carrying or dragging luggage, you are burning even more calories!
Plan for longer layovers.
As military spouses and families we rack up a considerable number of friends who are flung all around the country-many of whom happen to be a hop, skip, or a jump away from the airports where we have layovers. Why not use your travel as an excuse to catch up with a friend? If your time off allows, stay the night with a friend who is in the area. If it doesn’t, how about catching up over a healthy meal (and maybe a calming glass of wine) in between flights. Just remember, if you leave the airport make sure to keep your boarding pass and ID handy to get back through security.
What tips would you add to this list to help make time spent in an airport more pleasant?