The view from here
"If you love travelling, you'll be spending a lot of time in airports. Might as well make it enjoyable!"
I know what you’re thinking.
Airports are awful, why would anyone want to arrive early?
Of all the travellers I know (apart from my partner Tom), I’m the only one who enjoys hanging out at airports. Most people arrive at the last minute, determined not to spend a moment longer than they need to waiting for their flight. Tom and I plan to arrive insanely early so we can savour a few precious hours of airport time.
I’m talking before check-in opens early. (Okay, I either lost you with that last sentence, or you’re reading out of sheer curiosity, or maybe I’ve finally found a kindred spirit).
Whether you’re with me all the way, or you think I’m totally crazy, hear me out. If you love travelling, you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in airports, so you might as well make it enjoyable right?
Here are five reasons why arriving at airports early is actually awesome. Maybe these will turn your loathing for airports into love? At the very least, keep this list handy for those long layovers or unexpected delays. It might just save you your sanity.
1. You get to do nothing. Zilch. Nada.
When was the last time you sat around for a few hours and day dreamed? Perhaps sipped a hot chocolate and flicked through a trashy magazine? Perhaps this is more of a reflection of my busy lifestyle than of airports themselves, but I find it hard to justify ‘doing nothing’ when I’m at home. There’s always something else that I could be doing, whereas at the airport there’s no other demands on your time. If you want to spend three hours looking at cute puppies on Instagram, you can spend three hours looking at cute puppies on Instagram – guilt-free.
2. You get to people watch (and not feel voyeuristic)
People watching is one of those things that sounds lovely in theory but is a bit creepy in reality. You don’t really want to sit in a cafe and ogle people as they go by. But in airports, you can kind of get away with it. Everyone’s either A) so rushed and stressed that they don’t notice you; B) Reading or looking at their phones; C) Asleep; or D) people watching too. Either way, you’re good.
In all seriousness, where else do you get to observe so many people from different walks of life under one roof? And with so many varying emotions? I love watching families being reunited, parents saying tearful goodbyes to their grown-up children as they head on their OE, and happy couples skipping off to their honeymoons.
3. You get to text/call everyone before you board your flight
Strangely enough, I have a fear of flying (a story for another day), so I like to text or call my loved ones before I get on the plane. Nothing morbid or anything – I just like to tell them I’m about to go on holiday (okay, maybe I brag a little bit) and let them know when they can expect to hear from me next. If I get to the airport too late to send these messages, I feel anxious and rushed. I like this simple ritual, and it helps me feel at ease before the fear of flying kicks in.
4. You don’t have to rush
I hate rushing. I hate the way it makes my tummy tie in knots and my adrenal glands go awol. Why put myself through this torture when I could arrive at the airport early and read a few chapters of my book? I love leaving the house calm in the knowledge that, no matter what happens on the way, I’ll still arrive in plenty of time. Tom and I have even been known to make pre-airport detours because we’re so early (last time we flew, we stopped by a shopping mall and had a bite to eat to ‘kill some time’. Yes, we are ‘those’ people).
5. You get to soak up all the traveltastic energy
Do you know what’s the MOST exciting thing about being at the airport? You’re going travelling!!! In most cases, arriving at the airport signals the start of an adventure. As far as I’m concerned, the moment I step into that air-conditioned, crowded, artificially-lit building, I can start to soak up all the traveltastic energy. Depending on the time of day, I might just enjoy a glass of wine or two at the bar and toast to my fellow (albeit airport-weary) travellers. Someone’s got to be the token excited person, right?
Jess co-created Travelher and is a freelance copywriter based in Auckland, NZ. She loves reading, writing, road trips, baking up a storm in the kitchen, and spending time in nature. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org