Like most people say, Erasmus for me turned out to be the best experience in my life, but unlike others it took me a lot to get to being able to say that.
Last week I was fortunate to take part in the culmination of weeks of research on the impact of the first world war across Europe, a trip to Berlin to share our findings and learn about how other cities were affected to push the memory of the first world war, and take steps to learn from it.
For me flying has become somewhat of a common occurrence, but it seems like I’m alone when I say it’s pretty enjoyable, so in this post, written from an airport lounge, i’ll try explain myself and give a few tips for travellers and students!
There’s very little to say on this, I booked my flight last night and here I am at the airport the next morning, don’t stress about booking flights, if you are looking for a cheap flight with flexible days, booking late will NOT cost you much more, if any (around Europe). I personally search using www.kayak.com it’s fast, easy and got me some sweet deals, I mean ridiculously cheap, my last trip to Stockholm was £40 for a return, whilst my first flight to Freiburg was £20.
(If kayak would like to pay me for that recommendation I would graciously accept ;)
Leaving time spare:
Quite obvious but most nightmare airport stories come down to a lack of control, we can’t change human error or the nasty weather, but we can leave room for it, and travel to minimise it’s impact…in fact, here’s some ironic justice, my flight just got delayed by two hours whilst I was typing…go figure.
Anyway coincidence aside, this kind of problem is exactly what to leave space for, arrive early but expect to hang about, time is the greatest commodity you can have, if you aren’t on a tight schedule, then losing an hour or two is no big deal…just sit back and enjoy it.
So you’re stuck at an airport surrounded by extortionately priced shops and loud smelly people, and babies, lots of crying babies..what now?
Hmm well hold up a second, yes you are stuck in a waiting lounge, but this is a premium waiting lounge, this isn’t your cold crowded train stop with no seats left nor is it your shed of a bus stop…this is luxury, this is seats designed to be large enough for anybody, large enough to nestle into for your wait! This is free wifi and a choice of places to sit and eat or relax, this. is. luxury…you are the royalty of all delayed journeyers!
And those people? They might just be like every person with disrupted plans (grumpy), but they are the most interesting disgruntled people you will find; businessmen, travellers, writers, these people are all going places, literally. Never before has man had such ripe opportunities for people watching, Airports are THE place to people watch!
What to do?
This one is pretty simple, one option is to make sure you always have work in your hand luggage, this way you can offset a delay by working…working hard, working in a flurry of venting RAGE. When I’m studying, bursts of determination get me through tough work, but airport rage substitutes just as well, so if you are annoyed embrace the darkness and channel it!
If you don’t have work or you feel your mild disgruntlement is melting into those huge chairs, then go ahead and get reading, listening to music or writing, contrary to immediate impressions, your delay time could be the welcome break or creative moment you need…even if it is your holiday being delayed.
Baggage costs high? Pain to carry about? Worried about losing/breaking stuff? You don’t need that hassle! Travel as light as you can! Most small things can be bought at your destination for less than baggage costs. You can be the smug one who ignores check in and baggage, breezes through security and walks straight to the gates. Without a care in the world, you, are in control, with all your physical and metaphorical baggage dropped, go ahead and enjoy your own Darjeeling Limited adventure.
Never underestimate the printer, no natural disaster can be as disruptive as a printer. If you are printing your boarding pass at home, expect a short fierce battle and face it as early as possible.
Charge your music player, for the love of God do not forget to do this! you might not even be a big music fan, but there will be a chorus of crying babies awaiting you at the airport.
Step off the plane like world leaders coming off their jets, you just breezed through the hardest part of your adventure, the world awaits!