Whether it’s a fog-bound A320 in Dublin, a layover in Chicago, or a taxi to the airport that arrived way too early, travelling by plane at least grants the traveller a bit of peace and quiet while they wait – and wait – for their holiday to start. Short of sleeping on a lounge floor or wiling away the hours propping up the bar though, there’s not always a great deal to do in an airport, especially for people flying from the hinterlands of nowhere at all.
But technology has saved more people than not and even the lightest traveller can have options for killing time in the terminal; in fact, in a world of ever-shrinking, ever-accessible devices, there’s no excuse for heading out without at least a smartphone stuffed into a rucksack. With that in mind, here are a few of our favourite ways to beat the delay blues at the airport, without a ball of yarn or a fidget cube in sight.
Graphic design is far from the exclusive club it used to be. Professional apps like Adobe Illustrator, Spark, and Lightroom are available free on the App and Play Store, as is Assembly, a powerful vector design suite based on simple geometric shapes. Ever wanted to create an original logo, video game sprite, or canyon vista in Heathrow’s departure lounge? It’s the best chance you’re going to get. Try out Bamboo Paper too; it’s a digital notebook.
Don’t know what to create? The Brainsparker app offers a shufflable deck of inspiring phrases to kickstart your imagination. Writing Challenge can help cure writer’s block in much the same way too, by giving budding Hemingways something new to think about. You could also map out your future creativity by collecting and organizing your ideas in SimpleMind, a mobile app that replicates the mind-mapping process.
Play a Game
While carrying a pack of cards everywhere you go on holiday can be a lifesaver in low battery situations, it’s perhaps a far more common practice now to maintain a collection of simple games on a smartphone. Slot games, with their low profile and simple rules, offer a fun alternative to the ubiquitous base management and puzzle games on the app stores – and players get to enjoy the thrill of winning real Canadian Dollars playing online slots too.
For instance, Casinoland has slots branded with popular themes like Family Guy, Justice League, Hellboy, and Superman, and gives an $800 deposit bonus to new players. The website also has the Candy Crush-like title Starburst, which is arguably the most popular casino app out there today. As most slots come with a free or paid mode too, a flagging bankroll isn’t a barrier to playing. Good news for the shoestring wanderers.
Again, education doesn’t have to come at a premium in 2017. The obvious candidate for learning on the go is Duolingo, a way to pick up words like bouillabaisse before you use them at an inappropriate moment (there’s nothing that says “romance” like seafood soup) and bolster your CV for life. The TED Talks app is another brain-improver, serving as a repository of lectures from some of the cleverest people on the planet.
Android, in particular, has a huge range of learning apps. Want to start coding your own software? SoloLearn is a Duolingo-style tutor that swaps the Turkish and Spanish for C++, HTML, Java, PHP, and several other languages. You can also improve your confidence, management style, skill with software like Unity, and many other abilities with the Udemy app, which is a place where experts post their own (usually paid-for) courses for other people to learn from.
All of a sudden, that six-hour delay doesn’t seem so bad at all.