I always think that I like flying in airplanes. Until I fly in an airplane. And I am reminded that the whole experience is exhausting and gross and feels a lot like claustrophobia.
Then a travel nightmare played out last week that gives me a headache anytime I now consider future travel.
Due to an insane security line, a man who talked so slow I thought he was joking, and a missed flight, it took a colleague and me twenty-three hours to travel from Jacksonville to Las Vegas. Ten hours spent in the Dallas airport will start with you chuckling softly at all the cowboy hats and end with you thinking that it is perfectly reasonable that there exist cow mannequins who model leather clothing. Cause that’s not offensive at all.
And while the trip was not what we planned, spending all of those hours in the airport (sans Netflix) wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
If you end up in the airport for the long haul, read below for ways to keep your sanity and not completely nut up.
Read about it
Liane Moriarty kept me sane in Dallas. I adore her. It was so nice to have a book I couldn’t put down when there was literally nothing else to do.
Airports have little bookstands everywhere. Find a magazine or a book that spikes your interest and settle in. Hours of uninterrupted time is a wonderful way to get through your Pinterest-board reading list that has been there for three years.
When you have a juicy read, I find it makes the airport time go by quickly so that you don’t find yourself slamming your head into a brick wall, trying to escape The Terminal-esq situation you find yourself in.
Snack it up
Airport calories — just like bathtub calories and Tuesday calories — do not count.
Eating some fun things that you normally don’t eat can make you feel (briefly) like a kid again while you are trying not to lose your brain.
My go-to is always a pack of gummy worms. They are also a snack that take a minute to eat so it is more of a snacking experience than a quick bite.
When your body is exhausted and your mind grumpy, treat your tummy to a delightfully unhealthy snack.
If you are going to be at the airport for more than two and a half hours, it is time to pretend like you are anywhere else.
I find that the easiest way to do this is to eat at a restaurant. One of the sit-down ones.
Take your time with a meal, even if you are by yourself.
Sitting down a table at an “establishment” that has a waiter and a drink menu will go a long ways toward making you feel like a real person.
It is so easy during a day of travel to feel like you will never get to your final destination. Make sure you take some time to feed your body real food and give your mind a chance to rest before you hop back on another plane.
No matter what travel nightmares unexpectedly jump in your way, a good attitude makes a mountain of difference. So laugh it up, enjoy your gummies and treat yourself to a pre-flight margarita. Safe travels!