Ugh–airplanes! Metal tubes with people packed like sardines, diseases everywhere, not to mention the long security lines, grumpy guards, and hours in the airport during delays. For some people, air travel is Hades. But it can actually be a pretty fun adventure if you look at it the right way.
Airports–especially international airports–are prime people-watching zones. You can spend a ton of time just looking at the folks walking past. It’s kind of exciting to think about the different, exotic places travelers are going to and coming from. Remember, you, too are on your way to a place that someone somewhere considers wildly otherworldly. Observe what people where, what they’re talking about on their phones, and what sort of travel souvenirs they may be toting around. Just try not to look like you’re staring.
Forced to sit still
Riding for hours in a cramped plane can be a pain, especially if you’re one with achy muscles or joints or if you’re tall. But it can be a blessing in disguise. For a particularly busy or restless person, sometimes being forced to sit still is essential, and if we can’t make ourselves do it in our own homes, where better than strapped down to an airplane seat? You can take advantage of this time–you’re forced to spend several hours doing very little, and, for once, that’s okay. You’re not slacking or procrastinating. You could take this opportunity to listen to a meditation app on your phone, watch a film, read a book, have a drink, or write in a journal. If you do find that your joints get a little sticky after sitting so long, there are plenty of exercises you can do in-place to maintain knee health and body suppleness. These include calf raises and extensions, and getting up and walking up and down the aisles every hour or so.
Learn about a city
Interestingly, an airline can be a neat way to learn about another city or country. All airplanes include a magazine with each seat. These magazines will highlight cool destinations and things to do in cities. If you’re flying with an international airline, this magazine may focus on the airline’s country of origin, which will give some cool insight into that place. Airports like to show off their cities as well. For instance, the Charlotte, North Carolina airport offers wooden rocking chairs all over the place! At the Copenhagen airport, you can find a smaller recreation of the famous Little Mermaid statue. These airports will sometimes feature local or national chains and stores as well. Layovers can turn into little introductions to new cities and countries.
Meeting new people
We’ve heard the horror stories about airplane seatmates. There are other stories out there, though, that should give you hope! Airplanes and airports can offer the opportunity to meet people we’d never otherwise associate with. If you feel at all willing to strike up a conversation with someone, you could end up being friends with someone really neat. People travel for different reasons all the time. You could meet a couple traveling to go adopt, an expat coming home for the holidays, or a native of the place you’re visiting who offers to act as your tour guide for a day!