Monday, June 22, 2009

Airport Survival Trips: How to Wait for Your Flight Without Spending too Much

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.


Craig said...

I agree bringing your own reading material is key. I have more than once bought a book or magazine for no other reason than I was bored and didn't have anything. said...

These are some great tips. Getting stuck in an airport can be extremely frustrating.

Here are some of the things I do. I used to belong to netflix because of the cheap rentals. So I would always make sure that I brought along one or two DVDS to put into my laptop and watch if I got stranded in the terminal. You of course usually have to find a seat near an outlet.

Now I rent a video from Redbox kiosks before traveling as these are only a $1 a day and can be returned at any other kiosk in the entire country.

I also make sure I have a "book on tape" on my ipod. I use audible to download books and it ensures that I'm never without a book to listen to. Plus my ipod takes up much less space than several books.

One of the best things you can do is simply strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger. Its amazing how interesting the people you fly with can be and how they can bring new perspectives to a conversation.

Kate said...

You can return books? I had no idea! Well, that tip alone made this post worth reading in my opinion. But, just like I read in a new-ish book called The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, it's all about making small changes in your life, including in your spending and these are a great start. Especially bringing your own snacks places. Not only is it more economical, it's usually healthier!