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Stuck at the Airport? Our Top 6 Alternative Airport Boredom Busters

Every been stuck at the airport hours before your flight leaves with nothing to do? Try out our top 6 airport boredom busters to kill the time.

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Airplane taking off

4 hours to go until your flight leaves you are rushing around the house grabbing those last minute items to squeeze in to your overflowing suitcase. Out the door to the waiting taxi with a jacket hanging off one arm and all your gear in the other. A moment of panic as you re-check your pockets for your passport only to find it had mysteriously slipped into another bag.

Airplane taking off

All that stress washes away as you hand over your luggage and receive your shiny boarding pass. You give yourself a mental high five and a pat on the back. You don’t even mind that the beefy security guard has just given you a rub-down that you would usually pay for in Thailand.

Then the reality hits you like a wet fish in the face. What was it all for?

Arrived 3 hours early for my flight and I still have 2 hours 45 minutes to go. Frick!

If you have ever travelled on a plane then you definitely know how much time is wasted at airports. More so if you are in transit. Our most recent long haul journey from Auckland to Edinburgh was a touch over 37 hours with stops in Melbourne, Brunei (10 hours!), Paris and London. Spent more time at airports than in the air.

Not to mention that once you have seen one airport you have seen them all. Sure some airports are on a different scale. Singapore versus Paris comes to mind. But generally most are similar.

Waiting lounges with butt numbing plastic seats, queues that Apple groupies waiting for the next iPod would hate and everything is ridiculously overpriced. How can a McDonald’s burger be more expensive at an airport?

To beat the boredom and turn your airport frown upside down here are a few tips to keep you amused:

Blogging

If you need to kill time why not catch up on all those posts you have been meaning to write? I have at least 20 different posts that needed to be finished off and we hardly ever get 2 hours to do nothing. In fact this post started at the airport while I actually thought up fun ways to pass my time.

Guerilla Marketing by Four Jandals at the airport

Guerilla Marketing

I can’t take the credit for this because I borrowed the idea off Keith at Velvet Escape. If you have a website or travel blog then head over to the bright lights of the gadget store. Use the laptops which generally have free WiFi to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook before changing the preferences to set your website as the homepage.

Perfume and nice smellies

Before taking-off make sure that you are not one of those nose-curdling travellers that makes your fellow passengers breathe through their mouth. You know all those expensive perfumes you see with exotic names being paraded around by ridiculously good looking models? Well now it’s time to smell like them. Just don’t use the roll-on…

Free alcohol testers

Unless you are flying at an ungodly hour, most of the duty free stores will have free alcohol taste testing. Usually it will only be a small shot but remember that over-packed suitcase you are wheeling around? Just change your outfit and go nuts.

Magazine reading

Love your goss? Then turn into one of those really annoying people that shopkeepers loathe by sticking your nose into a good old magazine. Or pick up some travel photography tips from one of the technical mags.

People watching

Our last airport boredom buster and my personal favourite is just watching those around you. Who are they? Where are they going? Who are they travelling with? I love making up stories about them. Is that guy and girl (who is young enough to be his daughter) related or are they running away on a “business” trip together?

Failing all that just watch the raw emotions at the arrival or departure gates because they really are heart warming. Tears of joy as passengers arrive into the arms of missed loved ones or sorrow as they wave goodbye through the glass panels.

See you at the airport (just don’t delete our blog off the homepage)!

What are your favourite boredom busters?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Jesse

    December 9, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    My own Boredom Busters:
    Taking random photos of everything that caught my eye.
    Definitely Music or Music Videos On my Phone
    Imagining about things or coming up stories in my head.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      Love the idea of coming up with stories in your head haha. Thanks for the other tips, we just brought a new camera so I have been taking loads of photos. Some of the best ones are random but work well. Cheers

  2. bronwen burmester

    December 9, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    People watching is my fave thing to do at airports – and I admit to plastering my face with anti wrinkle cream and smelling like a walking pharmacy!

  3. Nomadic Samuel

    December 10, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    LOL, I thought I was the only one who bummed free samples all the time 😛

  4. Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    December 10, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    I am SO using that guerilla marketing technique!! 🙂

  5. Amanda Kendle

    December 17, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    I love the guerilla marketing technique too! Kind of like an author who puts their books in the best spot on the shelf. I must remember it 🙂
    I also haunt the samples/freebies and generally moisturise both hands and face from samples (great when you’re about to get on a dry plane).

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      The moisturizing is a good idea. Adela is always using the perfumes to smell nice. Good luck with the guerrilla marketing next time you travel!

  6. Tawny- Captain and Clark

    December 19, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    Hahaha the guerrilla marketing is awesome. We’ve done that before in an electronics store in Korea. We are also guilty of “freshening up” with perfume samples. It’s always nice to smell fancy when you’ve been traveling for hours!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      Thanks Tawny! Would love to know if anyone ever saw our site on the airport computers and became a fan.

  7. Anji

    January 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I find the guerrilla marketing tactic quite hillarious! It actually would be an interesting way connecting to travelers! People observing is definitely something I quite enjoy to do… but recently I’ve tried talking to as many people as possible! People are a bit startled at first, but its fun!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      January 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Thanks for the input Anji. Haha I think we would be a be put off as well if someone random talked to us but would quickly warm to them 🙂

  8. Ed Rex

    January 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Haha! Love the guerilla marketing technique. Perhaps there should eb a page where people can say where they’ve spot another person’s blog?

    Other boredom busters:

    1) Massage chairs!
    2) Play the ‘who do I want to sit next to’ game at the gate
    3) Look at the departures board and imagine which flight you would spontanteously love to get on to.
    4) People watching – if you are with a friend, talk in stupid voices to convey what the people might be thinking.
    5) Bring a laptop and read FOUR JANDALS! ( 😛 )

    • Cole

      January 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      World domination from bloggers at airports. I like it! Have always wanted to just show up at an airport and take the next flight. Not sure that it would be very cost effective though.

  9. Caro from Passport and a Toothbrush

    April 12, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Guerilla marketing + free alcohol sampling = GENIUS! You two ever considered ruling the world? Great post!!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      Haha we are working on taking it over one jandal at a time!

  10. Simon

    August 13, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Guerrilla marketing is a genius idea! Wish I had thought of that during my 8-hour stop over in Singapore’s Changi Airport; then again no-one could ever get bored at that airport…

    • Cole Burmester

      August 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Singapore airport is brilliant! So much going on.

  11. Drew

    September 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    This will come in handy, as I’m going from Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) to Auckland via Addis Ababa and Bangkok in November. It’s going to be a crusher of a trip, and I’m trying to figure out how to make it more interesting. Perhaps you could suggest some “challenges” to do…how many people I can talk to, how much free stuff I can get, etc. Maybe I could pretend to be doing interviews.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      Might see you in Auckland. I am headed back for a few weeks in November as well. Not sure of what “challenges” I could set. But let us know if you come up with any other boredom busters!

  12. George

    November 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Who knew that watching films was so old fashioned. Love the tips 🙂

  13. True Nomads

    April 19, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Guerrilla marketing! Why didn’t I think of that?? I use to do that at my university, but now I have a new mission! Before now, I would sleep until the last second… But no more!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      I struggle to sleep at airports so this is a great time waster 😀

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica

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The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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