2020 was a very disruptive year for global travel and tourism for very obvious reasons, and while the industry has high hopes that it will rebound in 2021, there is still a long way to go. Sudden changes in plans and travel routes have always been part of getting from Point A to Point B, but they have certainly increased exponentially in the last twelve months.
On top of all the other stressful things, being stuck in an airport or train station for hours or even days can just add to these negative feelings. Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate this, so read on to find out how to make delays much more bearable.
Sure, some of the most exciting travel can be the sort you’re doing by the seat of your pants and making bookings at the last minute, it’s also the type that can be most prone to delays. Getting a great deal on a travel website might mean that there’s a very good reason why no one else is going to that city or region.
Doing regular research when you book your flights or tickets and keeping up to date with daily news events at your destination can make a huge difference. Even knowing you’re going to have to wait for a connecting flight ahead of time can be better than finding out when you get to the gate. It might even give you a chance to quickly switch flights so you don’t have to stick around longer than you have to.
Planning ahead to anticipate delays is key as well, which means giving yourself more time to get through lines for customs or baggage. These have always been challenges of travel, and there aren’t many ways to avoid them unless you become a trans sugar baby or someone who owns a private jet.
Get to Know Your Phone
While in most circumstances it would be advised that you try to use your phone less (many of the joys of travelling is getting away from the routines where you are constantly glued to it), when stuck in an airport, that rectangular magic box can be your best friend. Lots of stress of telling friends and family at your destination about the cancelled flight can be done right away. Making new hotel bookings (or cancelling old ones) can also be done quickly.
However, what is also important is you use it as a distraction from the slowly ticking away of time. Just keep an eye on your data usage, as depending where you are, you can spend a small fortune very quickly, especially if you are watching an entire TV series or get really involved in some RPG sex games. In fact, you might even want to try to answer some work emails, just to lessen the backlog there will be when you finally do get back home.
Go For a Stroll
A flight delay – even on a popular route – can sometimes last for a day. As mentioned above, having a phone can be a godsend, but just remember that you are probably not sitting in the proper position at your gate as you surf the net’, and you won’t get the best sleep across three seats.
Getting even a little bit of exercise can be valuable, especially when you consider that you eventually are sitting in another cramped seat in a long room in the sky for several hours. While endless gates might not seem like the most interesting visuals, some airports are really worth exploring. With vast improvements in shipping quality, you can even get some souvenir purchases out of the way.
While train delays are thankfully less frequent, you are more likely in a downtown area and can leave the waiting area without having to go back through security or customs. That means going for a walk or even seeing some sights can be in the cards as you wait for your departure. Just the act of moving your legs a bit and getting some exercise can really help lower the stress levels.
Start A Travel Journal
There will certainly be a store at an airport or train station that sells convenience-store-like items, including pens and notebooks, so why not turn a new leaf and start writing an account of your travels? If the delay is happening right where you’re starting your journey, make that the first entry. Even if you never fancied yourself much of a writer, describing why you are delayed in your own words can make the experience that much more memorable when you go back months or years down the road and re-read it.
A travel journal is a great way to express yourself and remember things about your trip that easy-to-take photos might not capture. You’ll also be surprised at how much time trying to think of the best way to write a sentence can take. Your flight might actually be called before you know it.
Take a Careful Nap
The operative word here is careful. Depending on how much you might suffer from jet lag and the difference in time at your destination, taking a nap for a few hours can actually work out quite well. Some people just can’t sleep on a plane, and even though a row of seats at a gate is no comfy bed, at least you can stretch out.
Making sure you set an alarm with your phone is important, not just because you don’t want to miss the call-out for your flight, but also so that you are not wide awake at your destination when you should be sleeping. That’s why even carrying a small pillow or a sweater you can ball up in your carry on bag is very useful.