Whether you have a long layover or are rushing between terminals, these top five tips will help you to survive airport transit and come out the other end smiling.
One: Get moving
Sitting down for long periods of time isn’t good for your body, but it’s a necessary evil of long-haul flights. Your time in transit at the airport may be your only chance to get up and move around. So forget slumping in exhaustion on the couch at the coffee shop. Get up and move around. If you have a long layover, take a walk around the airport. Look in the shops, check out the exhibitions airports often have on show or even find yourself a bathroom and take a shower. Anything to stay upright and moving. If you only have a short time and are stuck moving straight from one plane to another via security, don’t just stand still in the queue. Use it as a chance to have a stretch, walk on the spot and work the kinks out of your neck.
Two: Stay hydrated
Aeroplanes are heavily air conditioned, which means it is easy to become dehydrated without realising. Dehydration causes fatigue, can leave you cranky and will definitely make your jet-lag worse at the other end. Airports are just as air conditioned as aeroplanes, so no matter where you are during your trip be sure to stay hydrated. While you are in transit nobody will be offering you cups of water from a hospitality trolley, so buy yourself a bottle of water and set yourself a time limit in which to finish drinking. For those who are environmentally conscious and like to bring a bottle to refill, some airports only supply warm water in the bathrooms, so be aware that you may not be able to make use of it.
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Three: Hunt and gather
Want to know the secret to finding the best food and coffee in the airport? Follow the crew. Look for which cafe or restaurant has the greatest number of airline staff sitting at the tables. Airport and airline staff spend a lot of time in airports, and they quickly suss out the best places to eat, so follow their example and take the guesswork out of your transit meal.
Four: Be prepared
If you are moving from an international to a domestic flight, you may have to pass through security. Look up the airport security requirements at your destination airport before you leave home. Some airports want you to remove your shoes, others will ask that all watches, change from pockets and jewellery be placed in your bag instead of in one of the containers provided. If you know what is coming ahead of time you can be prepared by finding a seat to take off your shoes, instead of hopping around in front of the metal detector, or setting security alarms off because you forgot to remove a contraband item. Being prepared can help to take the stress out of moving between terminals.
Five: Stay in touch
If you have a bit of time to kill at the airport, it can be the perfect opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family. If you prefer snail mail most airports will have a post box in which you can drop any postcards or letters you spend your transit writing. Or, for those who prefer the convenience of email, use the time to find the airport’s computer hub, or simply log into the free wifi on your own device and get typing. It means you don’t have to spend your exciting holiday time remembering to write to those back home, and nobody feels left out or forgotten. It can also be a good way to entertain yourself if you have a particularly lengthy layover.
What’s your top tip for surviving airport transit? Share your knowledge in the comments below.