Well, my readers, I like to talk about the fun parts of travel–seeing new places, having new experiences, eating new foods, flying business class, etc. But I am also committed to telling you all about the things that go wrong, or maybe just don’t pan out the way you think they will.
On my recent solo trip to Heidelberg, Germany, I planned a 10-hour layover at Newark Airport, which would give me just enough time to find my way into New York City via train, enjoy the Christmas season there: Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue window displays, Christmas Markets at Bryant Park and Central Park, and maybe a sweet treat along the way. However, a three-hour delay on my first flight made my timeframe a little too close for comfort! But instead of pouting or trying to fit it all in and stressing about whether or not I could make it back for my Frankfurt flight, I decided to make the most of it! Here’s what I did, and maybe what you can do in a similar situation.
1. Go to the Lounge
When my flight finally arrived and I made my way on the transfer bus to the correct terminal, I immediately started looking for the United Club Lounge. I knew I could get in for free because of my 1K status with United (as can all Star Alliance Gold members), but if you don’t have status with an airline and find yourself stuck with nothing to do for 7 hours, consider buying a day pass to a lounge. Prices vary, but there is food, bathrooms, beverages, comfortable seating, complimentary wi-fi, and sometimes showers or sleeping rooms. Me? I went right for a lounge lunch:
2. Get Organized
Maybe you rushed out of the house, throwing things in your carry-on as you also ate breakfast, showered, summoned an Uber, turned out all your lights, and started your dishwasher. Feeling disheveled? This is your opportunity to organize! I rearranged a few things in my bag and took the rain cover off of it. I had put it on for possible protection from pickpockets while galavanting in NYC for the day. Don’t need that anymore!
3. Firm Up Plans
I also took this lengthy opportunity to figure out exactly how to get from the Frankfurt airport to my hotel in Heidelberg. The nice person at the hotel who answered my e-mail about how to get there said the trains run from Frankfurt to Heidelberg about every hour, and that I should take the #33 bus from the Heidelberg train station to the hotel. So I decided to really figure out the train times, and I even ended up buying my round-trip tickets and downloading the Trainline EU app for easy access!
Incidentally, I ended up buying my ticket from the wrong station! Should have typed “Frankfurt Flughafen” (or airport) into the “from” field!
4. Do Some Work
Okay, you’re about to go on a trip, you don’t want to think about work! But wouldn’t you feel better if you could get ahead on work so you don’t dread it so much upon return? For me, my travel is my work, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had! I knew I wouldn’t be posting about Christmas in NYC or the art of a long layover (epic fail), so I decided to write this post instead! I also did a little “pre-search” for my Heidelberg blog posts. I’ll be able to post about my trip faster because part of the work is already done! Feeling good already.
5. Write It Down
Or do something else you like. I keep a journal of all the sweet things my husband does for me, and I was a little behind before my trip. But not anymore. I used some of that time to get some writing done!
You were dying to dig into that book on the plane, weren’t you? Well, now you get a head-start! I find myself wishing I had more time to read at home. There is always laundry, house cleaning, dishes, meal preparation, etc., which always seems to cut in on my reading time! But with nothing else pressing because of my change of plans, I had plenty of time to dive deep into the latest book on my reading list.
7. Get Ready for Bed
Please excuse the close-up. This is my makeup-free, glasses on, hair up, ready to try and sleep on the plane face. I also changed from jeans to leggings for extra comfort, and I put on my compression socks, too!
How do you deal with unanticipated changes in life and on travel? Comment below!