I have a special guest blogger today! She is one of the prettiest and sweetest people I have had the honor to get to know in the blog world! She's also a world traveler and just made a move from the East Coast across the Atlantic to live in Norway! Anyone know who I'm talking about?! If you're thinking Megan from A Suitcase and Stilettos . . . you are RIGHT! If you follow her blog (which if you don't you should!), you would know she blogs about beauty, fashion, and of course, her amazing travels! As someone who loves to travel, I'm amazingly jealous! I'm so excited to have here to talk to you about airports and layovers! I'm sure you're thinking ... who enjoys layovers?! Well, Megan's here to give you some tips to make them fly by!
Take it away, Megan ...
All your griping and groaning over these nonsense airport layers are not going to change the fact that you’re still going to get stuck in O’Hare and risk the possibility of a canceled flight (which we all know at O’Hare is like a 92% chance). We all hate them. But, we all hate expensive flights, and our frugality more often than not is the reason we book that flight with a layover in Denver when we are flying from Minneapolis to Charlotte. After many years (and many hours spent in airports), I have learned that while I continue to be a cheapskate when it comes to flying, I better start enjoying my irrational and excessively long layovers.
Here are my top 5 recommendations of how to have fun when it comes to these dreadful layovers:
1) Try something local. Most major airports (and not so major ones) have a brewery, wine loft, or restaurant that serves only the local delicacies. And no, Cinnabon, Au Bon Pain, and Orange Julius are not local contrary to what you may believe. I had an incident at the Atlanta airport while en route to Wilmington, North Carolina (yea, I know you’re surprised) where I spent like 12 hours there due to canceled and delayed flights and I just had to make the most of it. Thank goodness Sweetwater Brewing Company was in the terminal, because I was able to enjoy a local brew (or ten) while spending many unexpected hours in Atlanta.
2) Leave the airport and explore! Easier said than done…I know. But, no one should waste 8 or more hours in an airport laid over. True, some cities are too large to explore in just a matter of hours, but many aren’t. I had a 12 hour layover in Stockholm in January (it was the cheapest flight I could find by over 600 bucks!) and the layover was from 9pm at night until 9am the next day. Could have been a LONG night…but before I even arrived in Stockholm I booked a bus ticket from Arlanda International Airport to downtown Stockholm and was going to spend my night exploring, despite it being pitch black out AND a Sunday night (everything was closed). And if you’re super brave, head over to Couchsurfing.org and meet up with a local for a coffee or drink. In Stockholm I met up with someone who is now a really good friend…he showed me the city by foot and actually OFFERED to stay up all hours of the night to show me the city! Freaking amazing what you can learn when you have words of wisdom from someone who actually lives there and not your Lonely Planet.
3) Enjoy local magazines. So many cities have their own magazines…and to one’s surprise, many of them are actually really good! Buying these at the local bookstores or gift shops in an airport is really a kind of unique way to learn about a city while you’re just sitting in its airport. Besides, do you really need to buy another edition of US Weekly?!
4) Grocery shop! That’s right…some airports actually have grocery stores IN them. One very notable one that I became quite familiar with was at Frankfurt International in Germany. I misbooked flights to Brussels (because I do stuff like that) and ended up having to stay at Frankfurt for over 24 hours. I was too exhausted to head back out into the city or see my friends again, so I camped out at the airport, only to discover Tegut City Supermarkt outside the terminals in the basement. Um hellllllllo! This place was a hidden gem given I seriously could not eat any more sausages or sandwiches or pretzels. Having lived in Germany as a child for years, I perused the aisles for my favorites as well as affordable treats, and I filled up a bag to take home with me. Definitely a great way to say goodbye to Frankfurt and still carry a piece home with me at the same time.
5) Scavenger hunt/To-do list. This one can get a bit ridiculous. 2010 was a travel year for me to say the least. I was in and out of airports left and right and felt like my life was wasting away. This is when I decided to make a list, or scavenger hunt if you will, and use it each and every time I had a layover of 2 hours or more (which is seriously ALL too often). Things on the list included dumb things like taking a photo of a t-shirt of the local sports team to buying something from Starbucks and save the receipt with the city/airport name on it (I hate coffee…so I generally was buying hot cocoa).
So, have you ever done something during one of your layovers that actually made the time fly by quickly and made you realize sometimes you just have the make the best of the bad situation?
Thanks for having me, Michelle!
Happy Monday! xo