I think that a trip begins when one sets foot on the road outside the door, as Tolkien writes in his famous works.
Some people tell me that they hate the necessary prelaminar activities to start their journeys, like taking a taxi to the airport, checking in or waiting at the departure gate. Some others dislike the flight or the drive as well. All of them feel that the real trip starts when they arrive to their destinies and engage in the first amusing or relaxing activity.
But I agree to disagree with them… Taking a cab or bus gains a complete new meaning to me when the destination is the airport and the meaning also changes, depending on the nature of the trip (business, vacations, adventure or long terms abroad).
After traveling for a long time, I have also learned to make the best out of the “wasted hours” at airports, gates and planes. In fact, I don’t think they are wasted at all, because actually it is a precious time that can be spent in useful and entertaining activities. And I’m not just thinking about eating, shopping or sleeping.
For example, here are my favourite things to do during flights:
Actually, this is one of my favourite things to do in life, so it is not unusual for me to carry at least one printed book and many more in my tablet every time I travel. If it is a short flight, like the ones I took with VivaAerobus (the low cost airline that I discovered when I visited Mexico), I usually read newspapers or magazines. During longer, intercontinental flights, I can engage with something deeper, like novels, essays or philosophy books. Whatever you prefer, you will find that reading is ideal to relax and entertain yourself, whenever you have free time.
- Listening to music
That’s another of my top activities and the best part of it is that sometimes you can enjoy it while doing something else. I find that some kind of music, like classic, jazz or instrumental, can create the best environment to enjoy a good reading. Other music is excellent to induce relaxation and sleep. And in some contexts and situations, you can listen to music just because of the pure joy of it. During long flights, you can combine the three options.
- Learn something new
Flights lasting more than two hours are perfect to engage in learning activities. It doesn’t have to be something complicated; try to learn a few words of a foreign language; read that article that you have been saving for your free time or find something interesting about the place you are about to visit.
- Keep up with your business or job
Well, that’s not the best thing to do if you are on vacations. But if you are heading to a business meeting or convention, you can review your notes or improve your presentation during the flight.
- Practice some relaxation techniques
Given the difficult times that we are living, it has become normal that we are always under pressure. Relaxing and meditating are common advices, but when can we do it? If you are going to sit in a plane for more than two hours, use that time to relax and find some peace. Put your head phones on, play your favourite music, close your eyes and do some breathing exercises. You may find that the cabin, with all its steady movements and noises, can be a great place to clear your mind.