There you are, stuck at the airport again thanks to another flight delay or an insanely long layover. Eating is always a good way to pass the time, but everything inside the airport costs twice as much as it does outside in the real world. Instead of another $4 bottle of water or a greasy plate of overpriced mozzarella sticks, try one of the following.
“Write” poetry at the airport bookstore
Courtesy Mallory Bogle
The next time you are stuck in the airport, head to the closest bookstore or Hudson News outpost, grab a few paperbacks, and stack them in a pile, suggests Jen Cooper of the Hey, Jen Cooper podcast, who shared this clever idea years ago for PBS Parents. Then read the book titles from top to bottom to make your very own book spine poems. Take a pic and share it on your social media channels with the hashtag #BookSpinePoetry to show your friends and family how creative you are. These are the things airlines won’t tell you, but every flier should know.
Search for art (and other interesting things)
Airports are flooding their hallways and communal spaces with paintings, sculptures, and larger art installations because…attentive audiences! The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport even has an actual museum, an outpost of the Rijksmuseum, making it the first airport to have one in a terminal. Better yet, admission is free.
Stuck on a layover in Dallas-Fort Worth? Head to the far end of DFW’s C Terminal (across from the C2 gate) and check out the slew of military challenge coins. Poring over all those shiny coins is good for at least 20 minutes while you wait for your next flight. Check out the craziest things people leave behind at airports.
Watch your kids play
The greatest airport for playtime may be Changi International Airport in Singapore because it has a four-story slide in Terminal 3 (you get one free ride for every $10 spent in the airport), but almost every major airport has at least a modest free children’s play area nowadays. Watching your kid(s) climb, slide, and play on little pretend airplanes (the most common decor in these airport play areas) is the perfect free thing to do when you are stuck at the airport with your mini-me.