Grounded by delays or missed connections, it’s common to spend hours waiting for a flight at an airport. But when boredom arrives at the gate, common sense often departs. That’s when we become easy targets for extra travel pillows (two for $20), colognes or luggage. Here’s how I avoided temptation while waiting for a flight to Orlando.
• BYOB: Bring your own books. With books from home, I’m less tempted to make an impulse purchase. For instance, Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Stop Worrying & Start Living,” saved my sanity when I was stranded for six hours in an airport.
• Bargain books: If you forget your own books, look for discounted items and special promotions at airport bookstores. At one store, I spotted red-tagged books marked down to as low as $3.99. Additionally, some airport bookstores, will let customers return hardback books and receive a 50-percent discount on a future purchase at one of their stores, with a six-month time limit for the exchange.
• Set goals: Nonprofits and corporations hold annual goal-setting conferences for executives and staff members. Likewise, I participated in a small goal-setting retreat at an airport. The session – sparked by boredom -- would have cost a fortune if I had hired a life coach or attended a motivational conference. My agenda included short-term, 12-month and life goals.
• Exercise: Airport hallways offer a respectable workout opportunity and a moving sidewalk can be a practical substitute for a treadmill. Impatient pacing can become a cardio-workout, with carryon luggage filling in for free weights.
• Go sightseeing: At the Orlando International Airport, I watched a family of four pose with a statue of Snow White. Watching their smiles, I realized that any trip can be a vacation if we enjoy the scenery. In fact, at several airports, I’ve seen sculptures, photograph exhibits, murals and funky lounges. It’s all in the frame and while bored, I’ve learned to create a better frame of mind.
Sharon is the author of the Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money -- a coming of age memoir about money -- and a contributing writer in Wise Bread's 10,0001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.