8 Ways to Enjoy a Long Layover While Traveling in Your 60s
How many times have you experienced delayed flights/trains when traveling as a mature woman? Did you feel exhausted? Worn out? Would you say you’re ready to give up travel because of that?
Here are some ideas for what you could do when your travel arrangements become a mess.
In the Airport
If you’re traveling by plane, make the best of the layover time. It’s much better waiting on the ground than in a cramped seat up in the air. Relax. But not too much!
I once fell asleep while waiting for a long line of passengers to board my flight. It had been a long day of delays and stop overs. I was exhausted, so I decided that sitting until the end would be much better than hurrying to get to the front of the line.
Once on board, there would still be a long wait for others to stow their carry-on bags before being seated. I was much more tired than I had imagined.
After all the passengers had been checked through, the staff noticed me sitting all alone in the waiting room, fast asleep.
How embarrassing, but funny, too! They checked me through, and I hurried down the corridor to find people still standing in the aisles.
On a Train
When I’m traveling by train, I feel a bit like Dr. Seuss when Sam I Am lists all the places he won’t eat green eggs and ham. I promise, it’s a short list.
Train travel can be fun or challenging, depending on the country. Waiting for trains is quite different from planes. Many stations are old, often beautifully designed and spacious. I encourage you to look around when you have a stopover in one of the more historic train stations.
Some have brochures with information about the architect, design, and history of the station. Another advantage of train stations is that they are often located in the city.
For example, in both Denver and New Orleans, the train station is just a short walk into the old part of the city. With a two-hour layover, you can have a nice lunch in a special setting.
In Los Angeles, the train station is just around the corner from historic Olivera Street, for shopping and dining in Mexi-Cali style. What’s your favorite train station?
The following suggestions work well for most types of layovers.
Read a Book
You brought a book on your trip, didn’t you? If not, download one to read on your tablet while waiting. My suggestion: Woman on the Road by Joy Harmon. Hee, hee!
Take Out the Needles
Another relaxing thing to do is knit or crochet. Don’t bring your expensive knitting needles, though, if you are flying. Most airports seem ok with them, but I have heard stories of people having to remove needles from works in progress and hand them over to security.
Go for a Walk
Even if you are in the airport, there is plenty of walking space. The challenge here is stowing your luggage, so you don’t have to carry it with you on your walk. Look around or ask airport personnel about convenient lockers along the way to your gate. Every airport is different, so keep that in mind. Train stations, however, usually have convenient storage.
Browse the Shops
A layover could be your last chance to pick up a gift for someone on your list. Personally, I’m not a fan of the high-end designer clothing and accessories in airport malls. However, there are always small shops that offer handmade items from the country you are leaving.
It’s a good time to pick up a sample of local snacks, for the person who has everything. For the collector, there are often handmade items like traditional dolls or woodcarvings. Avoid the key chains, though – they’ve become cliché.
In train stations, you’ll usually find lovely shops close by, but not in the stations themselves. However, Asian train stations often have a mall connected to them. Don’t get lost though, you might miss your train.
Take advantage of the coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. I love having a glass of wine in a bar overlooking the runway. It’s a good opportunity to use leftover currency that was too small to change. This one is hit or miss. Some airports have fantastic restaurants, others are quite dreary.
Strike Up a Conversation
Travelers are all around you in airports and train stations, so strike up a conversation. I’ve met some interesting people in airports. I once met the sweetest lady from India in the lounge. I’ve never been to India, so I was fascinated to hear about her country.
At boarding time, she disappeared into the first-class cabin. I don’t know why she was waiting with us commoners. I never saw her again, but wasn’t that a nice encounter?
Take Some Candid Pictures
Here’s one of my favorite shots taken during a long delay at Charles De Gaulle Airport. Why not share one of yours with us?
How many times have you had a flight/train delayed in the past year? What was the experience like? What did you do to fill up your time? Please share your bravest/funniest/scariest experiences in the comment box below.