Waiting At The Airport: Time & Money

With the biggest holiday travel time coming up, I thought I would post about how to survive long periods in the airport without spending a zillion dollars. We all know that airline security has also become food patrol over the last ten years, and although I don’t know if it actually has to do more with security or the airport’s bottom line, there are ways to save money and get around spending $10 on a bottle of water.

These are tips and tricks I personally use all the time. I hope you are able to benefit from them next time you have to show up to the airport three hours early for your international flight.

-Bring empty water bottles. My hubby and I are actually on opposite sides of the water bottle camp. I prefer SIGG bottles and he prefers Nalgene. Either way, show up with a bottle for everyone in the family, clean and empty. Once you get through the security, proceed to your nearest restroom and fill up all of your bottles at the water fountain. This way you have water for the rest of your airport waiting time and for your flight!

-Bring dry snacks. Although liquid-esque foods like baby food may be a security issue, dried fruit, crackers, and pretzels are not. I like to pack snacks in the zip top plastic bags because they are easy to get into and they also fit very well into many different types of spaces. Saving space is always a priority when traveling. We also bring a couple pieces of candy as a reward for the girls for behaving on the plane. I’m against too much junk food, but sometimes you have to have candy in your purse. Did I mention this post is really making me miss Wheat Thins?

-Look for the word, “free.” Most airports have free wifi now, so instead of spending $20 on lame magazines for your kids why not let your little one play on Star Fell for a little while before boarding the plane. They will be entertained and educated at the same time! Also, at a lot of European airports there will be things you can do for free. In Budapest they have a fun kids play area where the kids can plan console games on TVs, draw on art boards with chalk, or ride on rocking horses. In Athens there is a museum area you can walk around to learn about Greece along with a new kids play area. It seems to be a new trend to have places for kids to play in airports. It seems that they are finally getting it that kids need a place to unwind before being stuck on a plane for hours. Yay!

-Plan ahead. I know I say this a lot, but it is really important. Sometimes we plan to eat at the airport on purpose. We set aside the money in our budget and use it as a treat time for the girls. The only problem I have with this personally is we usually eat something delicious and greasy, and then I feel airsick the whole flight because I don’t have a gallbladder so my digestive system is really sensitive. So if you have special dietary needs, make sure you follow them (like I should) when you know you are going to be in a not so comfortable situation for the next 14 hours (like stuck on an airplane).

-Make your own fun. A lot of times there is really nothing exciting to do, so we find a quiet corner of chairs where the girls won’t disturb people and let them play “crossing the river” or “chase” around the chairs in order to get some of their wiggles out before they get onto the plane. Getting wiggles out is always a good idea! There have been many times we have been at the airport for 4 or 5 hours before our flight, and it was fine, but only because we had planned ahead and were creative. Creativity is key!

Where is everyone traveling for the holidays this year? Hope everyone has a great weekend and, as always, happy travels!

Kristin