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Travel tips: How to keep busy in the airport

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Waiting in airports can be a tedious task, whether you’ve arrived early or are stalling during a lengthy delay. Here are our tips to keep busy and productive while you wait for your flight to take off.

Watch YouTube and listen to podcasts

YouTube is a traveler’s best friend. With short five-to-10-minute vlogs and content, YouTube videos are a great way to make the time go by when you have nothing better to do. If you’re not an avid YouTube user and don’t have a laundry list of “watch later” videos, I’d recommend starting with Buzzfeed (hold the groan) Unsolved or its other popular video series. If you’re looking for mind-numbing content, try watching one of its “(Plural noun) try (random fad) for the first time” videos. The content blends together after a while and will keep you engaged until your flight starts boarding. If you’re looking for something to not just hold your attention but keep you engaged, check out some podcasts on your favorite topics!


Many of us haven’t really written down our thoughts since we were children. Try writing down your thoughts as you wait for your flight to start boarding. I liken airport gate thoughts to shower thoughts in that they are usually random and thinly connected, yet insightful in sometimes dark ways. Write them down while you wait and revisit them at a later date (maybe when you’re waiting for your return flight), and see what kind of headspace you were in before your time abroad. Not only is it a great way to learn more about yourself, but maybe you’ll think of something worth publishing!

Clean out your phone

Running out of space on your phone is one of the most annoying problems we deal with here in the modern world (cue tiny violin). You’re going to want a lot of storage space for all the beautiful pictures you take while abroad, and there’s no better time than now to empty out the useless things that take up space. Go through your texts and delete the messages you haven’t responded to in a week. Filter through the pictures and delete the ones you took multiple shots of. Save your cloud space for the important documents and files you need and transfer the important photos to an external hard drive. It’s a tedious task, but you’ll be grateful when you’re out exploring!

Explore the airport

The designers who laid out the airport know that people get bored waiting for their flights. That’s why they fill them with random shops and overpriced convenience stores. But they often have exhibits and free activities (albeit they tend to be for children) littered throughout the airport. Take a look around and see what interesting stuff you find! If you’re flying out from SFO, check out the Aviation Museum and current exhibitions. You’ll be surprised what odd attractions airport designers think people are interested in!

Practice approaching people

Making friends gets harder the older you get. Practice approaching people waiting for the same flight! Look around for people who aren’t actively engaged with any other items and grab an open seat next to them. Everyone in that waiting room has at least one thing in common — you’re all going to the same place, and chances are they’re just as bored waiting for their flight as you are. It’s also a lot easier to jump into an ongoing conversation than to start a whole new one; just try not to seem like you were eavesdropping (even though you were).

Get a head start on your job search

Here’s the advice that nobody wants to hear: You should get started on job applications. Go through Handshake and favorite all the positions you’re interested in while making note of the deadline and requirements. I recommend going through the easier applications first (the ones that don’t require you to apply externally or that you already have a tailored resume and cover letter for). That gets you in the mindset to apply for more difficult positions. Then, go through applications by type and due date so you can apply to similar positions consecutively without having to trade your cover letter and resume between all of them.

Contact Khushi Patel at [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 27, 2018