• Carol Oconnor

    You arrive at the airport early, with your passport and boarding pass all in order and your luggage ready to check in. You take a quick glance at your watch to see where to go and find that you have bags of time to spare before the flight takes off!

    With a leisurely two or three hours to kill, you can take it easy around the airport. What do you do with this time that your excellent organisational skills have gifted you? Don’t worry, we’ve thought of that. Here are six ways to entertain yourself before you board the plane for your holiday adventure.


    View of plane on the tarmac while you have time to kill

    1. Strike up conversation with a stranger

    Ever wished you had a friend from an exotic location abroad? Put away your mobile phone and make it happen. Starting up a conversation with a stranger isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but there are plenty of ways to break the ice.

    See someone reading a book you like? Chat to them about your favourite characters. Spot someone sporting a fashion accessory you love? Find out where they got it. Even the most mundane conversation might be the start of a long lasting friendship.

    2. People watching

    Airports are bustling with intriguing characters and few places are better than them for people watching. Invent a backstory for the guy sitting opposite you. Try to guess where the couple at the next table are going and why.

    If imaginative inventing isn’t your thing, set yourself a challenge. See if you can identify the different types of people that use the airport, such as the overeager boarder or the giant backpack carrier!

    3. Language lessons

    Perhaps you’re heading to a country where you don’t speak the language and optimistically bought a dual language dictionary, thinking you’d prep your conversational skills beforehand. You can work on them while you’re at the airport and make the time extra productive!

    Don’t fret if you’re travelling solo. Apps like Duolingo and Memrise will teach you words and phrases in a useful, engaging manner.


    Blackboard with languages for someone who has time to kill in the airport

    4. Dining

    The one thing you needn’t worry about is finding somewhere to eat in an airport. On the return journey from a trip abroad, you might appreciate the return to familiarity in chains you know and love. Alternatively, you could explore the international cuisine options. How many new foods can you try in a single meal?

    5. Retail therapy

    Duty free shopping makes the airport one of the best places for retail therapy, and you might even stumble across a bargain on a designer brand. Snatch up something you’ll use on your trip — if you’re planning to soak up some sun, airport shops stock summer clothes and accessories in abundance.

    Fretting that you’ve forgotten something? You don’t have to dash to your boarding gate, so use this spare time to pick up last minute necessities as well at your own pace.


    Close up of shopping bags of someone with time to kill by shopping in the airport

    6. Play games

    This could be the time to change the games you have stored on your phone or tablet, or add to them and finally complete that final level. Use the airport Wi-Fi to download something new. Piano Tiles, Candy Crush and Ketchapp Basketball are firm favourites.

    You can also have a laugh together with some non-digital games. Bring a pack of cards — or buy some in an airport shop — the options are endless and varied. Of course, ‘I Spy’ is another tried-and-tested favourite, especially when you’re travelling with kids.

    Whether you’re alone or in company, there are options galore that will see the spare time whiz by as you look forward to your flight. You’ll be on that plane and sunning yourself in no time!