What to do at the airport

The lead up to holidays can be very exciting, the last day at school or work, the packing, checking on the weather... but so often you will get to the airport and have a long wait. Either your contingency time was a little too much or your plane has been delayed. While we envy travel bloggers and journalists, they spend on average hours waiting at various airports and have some expert advice on how to while away the hours:

Getting comfy

Find a good seat

"No matter how exciting your trip is, after a while airports just get boring so find a good spot to sit and settle in. If you can beg or buy access to a lounge, do, but otherwise, the restaurants or bars tend to have better seats and are less crowded than most of the terminal."

Cathy Winston @cathywinston

Passing the time

Make the most of other people in the airport

"Talk to the people around you - people usually have really interesting stories about where they're going, plus you could get ideas for your next trip! Or find a random act of kindness to do; airports are the perfect place to help someone out. For example, help the older man find his departure gate. If all else fails, walk around and at least you will get some exercise!"

Laura and Claire from two4travel.net

A kindle and deck of cards

"E-reader devices like the Kindle are very handy because you can bring a wide range of reading materials - your favourite book, a recent newspaper and the latest blog posts from your favourite online personalities, all on one device. Add a deck of cards to the bag so you can learn new card games if you're either travelling as a couple, or adventurous enough to talk with other solo travellers and you have hours of entertainment."

Shannon O'Donnell - Writer and Travel Blogger grassrootsvolunteering.org

Catching up while checking in

"Instead of trying to lip-read the airport's wall-mounted TVs or get a few minutes of sleep while keeping guard over my backpack, I often use the hours between checking in and boarding my flight to catch up on my travel journal or upload photos on my laptop. This time can be especially useful if you're on an extended, multi-city trip, as it gives you a chance to process where you've just been before moving on to explore a new place!"

Candace Rardon www.candaceroserardon.com

Pick your airports carefully

"Waiting at airports doesn't have to be boring. It all depends which airport you're at. If you're in Changi Airport Singapore you can go for a swim in the pool or check out the free butterfly sanctuary. If you're in Hong Kong you can learn how planes fly or watch a 4D movie. If you find yourself in Amsterdam you can use the gym or even the Sauna!"

Matt Preston @travelwithamate

Advice for parents

Know the airport

"Parents flying with babies should check what facilities are available at the airport before arriving so that you can plan your waiting time. E.g. do the shops sell readymade baby milk? Where is the feeding room? You can't stop a baby's, you know, natural movements, however, do change the nappy as late as possible before you board and take young children to the toilet."

Clare from Babyabroad.co.uk

Keep toddlers and children moving

Avoid fidgeting during the flight by keeping your little ones moving while you're at the airport. Encourage them to run around, jump and play - keeping little legs moving on solid ground means they're less likely to get fractious while you're airborne. Save books and puzzles for the flight - there'll be plenty of time for knee-based activities while you're in the air.

Nicola Davenport Zest.co.uk / Babyexpert.co.uk

Choose your "base" wisely and take babysitting in turns

Children are actually much less likely to get bored at airports than their parents - there is usually so much for them to look at! Pick your "base camp" carefully - if you are somewhere where you can watch planes land and take off, this can keep smaller children occupied for ages. If your children want to blow off steam, an empty gate can be a good place for them to run about without them bothering anyone.

If you know you are in for a long wait, there's nothing wrong with a bit of bribery. Tell your children that if they behave for a set period of time, they can choose a comic. This has the added bonus of giving them something to do for a while once they have bought it.

If you are travelling with a friend or partner, take turns to look after the kids while the other one browses the shops or simply has a quiet coffee.

Catherine Cooper is author of Travelling with Children: A Parent's Guide
published by Bonacia Press
RRP £9.99 available from Amazon and in bookshops.



Date published



If there are any airlines or information not included here that you would like to know more about, email us at feedback@purpleparking.com and we'll include the most popular.