The Bane of Travel: Waiting to Wait

Most get a kick out of travel. It’s a stimulant, many get addicted and it doesn’t carry the baggage and taboos associated with the narcotic variety. Travel can be a hiccup in your daily grind. It can offer some dopamine-inducing novelty. Yet irrespective of your destination, interests or demeanor, there is an aspect of travel that no one can escape: waiting.

The Airport

How do you feel about airports? Fundamentally they’re a utility. Your gateway to the next dimension. Until teleporting is mastered, airports will be an inescapable evil when it comes to quick, long distance travel. Just consider the time appropriated to these over-sized kiosks of high caloric meals and over priced knick knacks. When travelling internationally, one can easily spend upwards of 6 hours per one way trip en route to and waiting at airports. The last thing most travelers want to do is wait, but waiting need not be burdensome. If traveling abroad, you’re more fortunate. Many international airports have spruced up their international wings. It’s not uncommon to find suites full of amenities. You can do yoga, pray, meditate, shower, enjoy a spa treatment, chill out at the bar or gorge yourself with fast food… all in close proximity to your departure gate. If you’re a more privileged customer, you can take advantage of your airline’s lounge. Many offer meals, drinks and wake up calls; the types of services you may expect in business or first class. If you’re a regular customer, you can still try your hand at gaining access to the longues. If you get denied, just play dumb. A friend and I were once flying economy on Emirates. We were separated at the airport, as he decided to take advantage of their longue. According to him, he walked in casually; no questions were asked. Regrettably, my chutzpah was low that day, so I resigned myself to the general waiting area.



The Queue

  Are we ready for take off?

Are we ready for take off?

When traveling, queues are unavoidable. You wait in a queue at your hotel during checkout. You queue for a taxi to take you to the airport. At the airport, you wait in line to check in your baggage. At security, you wait to be patted down. You queue to board the plane. Then your plane queues for take off. Hopefully the service staff is pleasant and professional through all of these stages. Ideally you’re patient and understanding if things don’t move expediently. Waiting in lines is something that you can’t avoid, unless you’re travelling shot gun on Air Force One. But there are two things you can do to make this aspect of travel less taxing. First, be prepared. When you’re in the taxi, know which terminal you’re flying out of, or at least the airline. Make sure you have your essential documents (i.e. boarding pass and passport). Keep a handle of where your money and cell phone are located. If you misplace any of the aforementioned, you can easily put yourself on edge. Make things easier for yourself and the those transacting with you and try to keep a modicum of organization.

The other thing you can do is review the key aspects of your trip. Do you know how you’re going to get from the airport to your final destination. How long is your layover? Will you have time to leave the airport? Many travellers these days are smart phone equipped. Technology can help you utilize your dead time by reviewing your travel plans or messaging a friend or loved one before moving on to your next destination.   

The Departure Date

Travel for leisure is a luxury not everyone is able to afford in terms of finances and time. Travel for leisure is not an everyday occurrence. When you book a trip, it’s easy to look yearningly at the departure date on your calendar. It gives you something to look forward to, a break from the monotony (or chaos) of your daily grind. It’s easy to fantasize about your upcoming adventure and lose touch with the daily chores and priorities that have to be attended to. Beware. Travel can be physically draining. Especially when traveling across time zones. Consider the nature of your trip. You probably don’t prefer to travel just to isolate yourself in a spa or hotel room. You're apt to take full advantage of the experience, while it is available. Upon returning you will likely be exhausted— it may take a week or two to find your full stride. Instead of daydreaming about your vacation/adventure before your departure, work as diligently as possible to catch up with any priorities that you have before you leave. Make sure your laundry is done, and your pad is clean, so that you can make the transition into the hustle-and-bustle of your day-to-day with relative ease. Also, the more loose ends you tie up before you depart, the more you will be able to let loose and enjoy yourself in the moment, wherever that moment may take you.

What do you think are some of the more burdensome aspects of travel? How do you cope?