Airline tickets and everything else has skyrocketed lately, but there are ways to save at the airport and snag some freebies. Yes, please.
airports. When we’re not trying to connect, we’ll spend hours at our gate (or in a lounge if we have the right credit card) to amuse ourselves. But there’s a lot more we can do with our time than people-watching or spending loads of money at the nearest bar. Depending on where you travel, you can save money and Enjoy some freebies while you’re at the airport. Here’s a look at some of the coolest free stuff we could find at airports around the world.
Get into a workout
yes we know Running across the terminal to connect can be a workout in itself, and a stressful one at that. However, if you have some time to kill at the airport, many offer free training facilities.
For example, passengers in Baltimore/Washington have free access to a cardio track, and San Francisco International Airport has a yoga room, as do many others, and they’re free. Yoga rooms in particular are growing in popularity, says travel expert Suzanne Bucknam, CEO of Connecticut Explorer.
To learn something
If you thought the only way to get an airport education was to stop by Hudson News to buy a book, think again. “SFO has several ‘Kids Spots’ which are great for entertaining the little ones and are available 24/7. The Aviation Museum and Library are free to use and open daily from 10am to 4:30pm,” says Bucknam. Amsterdam Schiphol is home to the Rijksmuseum Schiphol, where visitors have 24-hour free access to beautiful paintings. Many other airports offer museums and cultural exhibitions, such as St. Louis and Lanzarote. If you’re not sure what your airport has to offer, a quick Google search should point you in the right direction.
Take a moment to reflect
If you are looking for quiet reflection or prayer on a specific day, you can also find it at an airport. “Many airports have interfaith chapels and meditation rooms where you can enjoy a moment of calm amidst the chaos. The services are usually free, although you can choose to make a small donation. It can be incredibly helpful to sit in a quiet place and collect your thoughts, especially on a long journey,” says Bucknam.
Read a book or watch a movie
If you don’t want to pay $20 for a book you may not like, you can check out airport libraries or book swap options. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has a grand piano library. Likewise, Helsinki Airport has a free book exchange room that is open 24 hours a day. Free entertainment may also be available depending on where you land. Airports like Portland International Airport offer free movies, while Seattle Airport often has free music performances.
Enjoy live music
We all know so many airports that play the same playlist all day and all night. It can get pretty repetitive. And annoying, especially when you hear it because of a missed connection. But the melodies don’t always have to be bad. Airports like Seattle-Tacoma and Austin-Bergstrom offer live music – and it’s free!
Check out a lounge
Salute to credit card holders who have included airport lounges in their annual membership fee. Depending on which card you have, there can be many benefits associated with your card that can land you in a lounge that offers a slightly quieter environment with slightly better (and certainly cheaper!) food. Some lounges even offer extras like massages and showers… and all come with ample outlets for charging devices and cleaner bathrooms than what’s available to the public. (Because sometimes all you really need is just some nice hot water, fancy soap, and a thick towel.)
Grab free WiFi
A few years ago this was still a dream as many airports made passengers pay for expensive packages to log in while waiting for their flight. But that is no longer the case. HerMoney staff have yet to encounter an airport that doesn’t offer free WiFi, which can significantly reduce the time between flights.
Fill up your water bottle
Look out for drinking fountains, which also offer a station to get filtered water for your water bottles or drinking glasses. In other words, BYO empty the bottle when you fly (any kind will do), and skip the expensive bottled Evian at the gift shop, which you know will probably fetch you at least $5. And for those who are particularly sensitive to germs right now, airports like San Francisco International, Chicago O’Hare, London Heathrow and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson even offer refill stations with hands-free sensors.
Get at least two free luggage tags
These are available at almost every airport in case you forgot to put one on your luggage. “It can often mean the difference between losing your luggage for a few hours or for days,” said Tim White, CEO and founder of MilePro. And pro tip: if you look at this flimsy paper luggage tag and think it couldn’t possibly withstand the jostling of bags in the animal’s belly, take a minute to fill out two: one for the outside of your bag and one to stow. (Because the only thing worse than losing your luggage for a few days is losing it permanently to the Unclaimed Baggage Depot in Alabama.)
Enjoy free city tours
When you have several hours for your layover and don’t have a book to catch up or work to do, there’s no reason to just roam the airport blindly. Instead, you can use the time to explore a new city. “If you have a layover of two hours or more at the Salt Lake City International Airport, you can take advantage of free shuttle service to and from Temple Square and enjoy a free tour of the 35-acre historic site,” says White. Overseas, Singapore’s Changi Airport offers sightseeing tours, as does Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea and Narita Airport in Tokyo. No matter where you land, check out how quickly you can get downtown and check out a few things before ending the next leg of your journey. You will be surprised what you find.
Pet some therapy animals
Ever had a long flight delay that made you want to just hug your pup? Executives in charge of airports felt the same way, and now many airports, including LAX, have therapy puppies available for visits and cuddles. And there are even small therapy horses at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. How cool is that?
Zone Out on an iPad
Delta’s terminals at LGA and JFK in NYC have a fun new perk: iPads. Yes, these technically exist so you can order food from various restaurants and gate areas in the terminal, but they’re also fully functional for everything from browsing the web and checking your email to streaming videos and games . And while an iPad might not sound like the greatest asset in the world when you’ve been stuck in the airport for hours, finished your book and tried a restaurant or two, a little Tetris might be just what the doctor ordered.
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