The Best Way to Kill Time in an Airport

The Best Way to Kill time in an Airport

The worst part of travelling has to be the getting there.  Flying is particularly time consuming, because these days, you practically have to get to the airport 5 days early {just in case it takes you forever to get through security}, and then, you get to look forward to long layovers.  Don’t get me wrong, people watching in an airport can tick quite a few minutes away, but even that gets old after awhile, so over the years, I’ve come up with a little bag of tricks to help kill some time, with minimal suffering.

primitive rug hooking

Here’s a few ideas for you, in case you are facing airport time in the near future {that kind of made it seem like a prison sentence, instead of the really cool opportunity that it provides to hurdle through the air to a new destination, but you get what I meant :) }:

  1. Bring something to keep your hands busy.  I always bring some sort of arts and crafts project, like rug hooking, knitting or sewing to do while I am waiting.
  2. Bring a book or an electronic reader.  This is your chance to read that novel everyone has been talking about.
  3. Bring the iPod.  Plug in your headphones and get lost in your music…or an audio book.  Otherwise, trust me, you will know everyone’s business.  The airport makes for close quarters and you will hear some, um, interesting telephone calls and conversations.
  4. Exercise.  Yep, use the time to walk for a little exercise.  You can put on some pretty serious miles walking up and down airport while you are waiting.
  5. Create a scavenger hunt.  If you are travelling with kids, plan on being the entertainment committee.  Create a simple scavenger hunt that will occupy their minds for a bit.  {Think:  brochures, strange snack foods, man with glasses, etc.}
  6. Splurge.  Most airports have a massage station.  Use them to “kick off” your vacation with a little R&R splurge.
  7. Buy a puzzle book, new app, etc.  Play a little Sudoku, do a crossword.  Take it old school or get the app.  Whatever floats your boat.
  8. If budget isn’t an issue, hit one of the restaurants.  You can kill some time while you chow down, or sip on an ice tea and people watch.
  9. Bring a laptop and tap into Amazon Prime or  Netflix.  It’s guilt-free t.v., because it’s not like you could be cleaning the house.  You’re stuck, enjoy it.
  10. If you have a travel partner, bring some cards and play a game–like with a real person, not against the computer :)

How do YOU kill time in an airport?


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  1. Janice says

    If it’s a long lay over it is worthwhile looking into getting a pass for your airline’s lounge. You will get to sit in very comfy seats, it’s quiet, free internet access, some have shower facilities and almost all have complimentary food and drink. Chances are you are going to buy a meal while you wait anyway so you might as well be comfortable. Prices vary but I think an average of $50 is pretty close.

  2. James says

    Great advice! I would like to add a word of warning. My wife is an avid knitter and is always taking a project with her while traveling. Knitting is allowed through security while traveling in the US but if you are traveling in a foreign country you may not be able to fly with your knitting. A recent vacation we were flying home from Cancun and security would not let us through with the knitting needles, luckily we were able to get back into our checked baggage otherwise we risked loosing some very nice needles and damaging to the project. I just wanted to let everyone know that it’s ok in the US but not necessarily everywhere else.

  3. Erin Wilson says

    Envious…I’ve had such bad luck with getting craft tools through security. Sewing needles, plastic crochet hooks and plastic knitting needles all confiscated on various trips. Every attempt ends in bummer.

  4. Jenny says

    Because we fly out of the Midwest, Chicago is our hub. O’Hare has a children’s museum in the airport. I usually check out the airports website to see if they have anything to see. San Diego usually has some artwork on display. The kids like to check out the bronze kelp forest in the airport.

  5. andrea d says

    great ideas! I will be bookmarking this page for our upcoming trip. the husband and I are taking our 5 kids to aruba next February. Question… I would love to be able to pack carry on only if possible- but we need luggage (guess what my kids are getting for Christmas :-) ). any recommendations on luggage that meets carry-on requirements?

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