10 Ways to Enjoy Airports: Your Trip Starts Here

How to stop seeing airports as hindrances and start seeing them as wide-open, liminal spaces where nothing is obligatory but everything is possible.

Airport layovers can either be hotbeds of extreme stress or peaceful paradises where you can recharge before or between flights. It's all about how you approach your brief time there.

Here are 10 tips for making your time in an airport a positive part of your travel experience, rather than an annoying hindrance.

Not every airport is as fancy as Singapore's Jewel Changi, but you can still make it workImage via The Points Guy

1. Get there early

As someone who hates being early on principle, I don't say this lightly—but your dad was right about this one: You really should get to airports early. Ideally, plan on leaving at least two hours between your arrival and your boarding time. This is absolutely key to making your experience enjoyable, or at least remotely tolerable, because there are few things more stressful than running late for a flight. Between getting lost on transit, getting stopped because you have toothpaste in your backpack, or realizing that you need to take three trams and a submarine to get to your terminal, it's just always better to leave ample time.

Don't be this guyImage via mpora.com

2. Check in the night before

Make sure that you read the instructions on your ticket well before the morning of your flight. Some airlines require you to check in 24 hours before your flight, and others require you to check in at the front desk—and will make you head back to do just that, even if you're running dangerously late. It's always better to prepare before you arrive at the airport, and if you're not sure, leave time to confirm your arrival at the front desk. Some airlines won't let you board if you fail to check in at your gate, or will give you huge fines for failing to print your boarding pass, so it's better safe than sorry when flights are at stake.

3. Have a small bag or pocket just for your ticket and passport

You don't want to be holding up the entire line while rummaging in your suitcase for your passport—so having a special pocket or bag for the necessities is always a good idea. On the other hand, never walk around holding your passport and ticket in your hands; you're so much more likely to leave it on a seat or in the bathroom that way. Use a strategy that works for you, and listen to the announcers when they tell you to keep track of your belongings at all times. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to lose track of passports, or how quickly airports will swallow up a misplaced handbag.

4. Check your bag for objects that might set off security alarms

Nothing can ruin an airport experience more quickly than getting pulled aside and interrogated by a disgruntled airport employee. You can avoid the whole process by not trusting your memory and always doing a quick search through your bag for things that might set off the alarm. If you're not sure, just take it out and leave it in its own bin. Some common culprits include shampoo, lotion, water bottles, perfume, Purell, laptops, scissors, and razors, so with all of these objects, just be safe and leave them in plain sight. Oh, also, leave the weed at home, for the love of God: There will be plenty of dealers in Cabo, Doug, and you don't want to wind up getting patted down in a foreign prison cell instead of drinking piña coladas on the beach.

5. Explore the airport like you would a museum

If you have a layover in a foreign country, or if you're about to leave one, airports can be extensions of your trip rather than pointless time-sucks. When you arrive at the airport (early, well-rested, checked in, passport in hand), start out by exploring the premises. A lot of airports have exhibits related to the country they're in, or they might boast surprising local shops or local foods. At the very least, you'll find some great souvenirs along the way. Personally, I love how futuristic and pristine airports are; they're like minimalist, alien labyrinths, and you never know what you'll find there. Some airports feature fancy architecture, golf courses, movie theaters, or amusement park rides, and others even double as apiaries for endangered bees.

6. Try out some local food and drink

Unless I'm headed for a red-eye, I almost always get a chai tea latte in airports—it's a tradition that makes me feel at home no matter where in the world I am. Airports aren't famous for their food (or their prices), but larger airports will often offer impressive culinary options, even boasting impressively delicious local fare. If you've got the time and funds, treat yourself to a delicacy or one last taste of that local bread or wine you can't get enough of, or develop your own airport dining tradition.

7. Test out the perfumes

You know those massive, labyrinthine Duty Free shops that somehow manage to look exactly the same in every airport no matter what country you're in? Well, these shops are the perfect place to test out expensive perfumes or experiment with makeup to your heart's content. I, for one, leave every airport I enter smelling like Chanel and wearing a coat of $70 hydrating lip gloss. Sometimes, you'll even find free whiskey tastings or chocolate samples in the Duty Free shops. While you shouldn't get your hopes up, be sure to check out the goings-on.

8. Find the largest window and watch the sunrise or sunset

Most airports have at least one wall-sized window, where you can sit and watch planes soar into the clouds or descend from the stars. If you find it, you'll be treated to an unparalleled view of the sky. You can watch planes come and go and relish in the knowledge that everything about where you are is temporary. You have no obligation to be anywhere or do anything during this time, because soon enough you'll be airborne, defying gravity and soaring through the clouds. I've always found peace in the liminality of airports, watching strangers float by, everybody rushing and going somewhere, but all caught together in a brief moment of stillness.

That's what I'm talking aboutnolayingup.com

6. Hit up the bookstore

Bookstores are a dying breed, but you can still find them (or at least, one or two shelves of $32 hardcover titles) in airports. Most Hudson News shops or comparable stores will have all the newest bestsellers, all of which will somehow have the word "Girl" in the title. They'll often have some brilliant classics and the latest E. L. James right next to the latest tabloids, so whatever your taste in literature is, you'll likely find something here. Even if you're not a reader, you might find some entertainment in skimming the titles, reading the latest Angelina Jolie headlines, and inhaling that new book smell.

Image via Time Magazine

7. Load up content for your flight

Most airports have pretty decent WiFi nowadays—or at least, most have a Starbucks, which appears to have successfully completed its goal of world domination—so you can use the time to get some work or writing done, or at least load up some content for your flight. Whether you want to download the newest Netflix show, curate and download the perfect Spotify playlist for a dramatic takeoff, or save a few journal articles that you know you'd never read unless you were trapped in an enclosed space for 12 hours, now is the time to make it happen. Airports are also perfect places to smooth out travel details, to finish up work, or to tell everyone you know to never contact you again because you're embarking on a soul-searching mission to find yourself, knowing full well that you'll be home with some stomach disease before too long.

8. Chat up a local

You never know who you'll meet in an airport. Strike up a conversation with the barista or security guard, and you'll get the chance to talk to a local, who might give you valuable advice about your trip. If you're not into talking to strangers, the people-watching opportunities in airports rival those of NYC. You can feel great about your life choices as you watch a million late people run past you, or just passively observe people from all around the world going about their business, letting down their guard as they wait in line or do whatever it is that normal, non-enlightened people do in airports.

9. Prepare for your trip

Now is the time to pick up all the things you might've forgotten. Need deodorant, tampons, money in the currency of the place you're going, a beach read, medicine, a SIM card, or anything else? Most airports offer these things—perhaps not at the most affordable rate, but filling in the gaps in your packing here will save you time on your actual trip, allowing you to enjoy the sights you came to see without worrying about not having a toothbrush.

10. Sneak into the first-class lounge

Airports are pretty great in and of themselves—solitude, coffee, people-watching, and AC; what could be better?—but if you're seeking a little more luxury, then you could always try to break into the exclusive Frequent Flyer lounge, or whatever the equivalent is. You might get kicked out of the airport, but at least you'll have gotten to inhale the sharp, clinical smell of people with too much money while eating candied almonds from crystal bowls.

Image via YouTube

There you have it: how to turn your airport trip into one of the best parts of your travels. It's all in the mindset, of course (but arriving early helps). Some other bonus tips: wear shoes that are easy to take on and off for the security line, use this time to charge up your electronics (there might not be a plug on the plane), get some snacks for the flight, use the bathroom, ride the moving fast-walk tracks back and forth, and whatever you do, don't be the first person to line up for a seat on the plane. You have an entire airport at your disposal, and hey, if the plane goes down, this could be the last time you're ever on Earth. Now go raid the Duty Free shop and have the time of your life.

Image via Cavotec

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Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.

Hostelworld HostelworldHostelworld.com

Translator

A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.

Pilot

A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainierthebesttravelplaces.com

Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place Marketseattle.eater.com

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.

Space Needlegetyourguide.com

Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly Gardensfodors.com

Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop Culturesmithsonianmag.org

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.

Fremont Trollsillyamerica.com

You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park Arboretumtriposo.com

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.

Alki BeachMetropolitangardens.blogspot.com

Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip savvy.com

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve Roasterydesigner.com

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.


What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!

Travel

Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

buy happiness You sure about that?

Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.