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How to Survive a Travel Delay

Thanks to Danielle for publishing this article. Her site is a brilliant resource for those looking to get back on track after the frivolities of youth! She has great health, home and personal finance tips, as well as fantastic travel advice to help you get the most out of your time away. After reading, be sure to check out her post on ways to improve your travels this year.

No matter where you go or how you plan to get there, the chance that things won’t go exactly to plan is highly likely—if not certain. One of the great joys of traveling is finding yourself stuck in an unplanned situation and having to find something to do. Many people say that this is where the magic happens and the truly memorable experiences are found.

Nonetheless, finding that your travel plans have spontaneously changed and you’re stuck facing a delay is never an enjoyable experience. Although sometimes things turn out better than you could have hoped, there are also the times were you just have to sit and wait. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to overcome this waiting time and make the most out of your unplanned stopover. Whether you’re in the airport, at the train station or simply sitting on your backpack on the side of the road, these five tips will help you make the most of any delay you might face.


Find the WiFi

As much as we hate to admit it, most people in the modern age are addicted to the internet! This is particularly true for travellers. Whether you’re itching to message loved ones back home, share photos of your latest adventure or just browse through your favourite websites answering some of life’s long mysteries like “what do angels look like?”, then getting your WiFi fix is an important part of your travels. Instead of wasting valuable experiences and adventure time, using this unplanned break to catch up on internet activities is a great way to find the balance and get the best of both worlds. Many stations, particularly the larger ones, offer free WiFi or you can simply wander around until you find a popular chain, such as Starbucks or McDonalds, whose connection you can use while you wait.

However, it’s important to remember that these public networks are extremely unsecure as they allow your data to fly around unprotected. Because of this, it’s advisable for any traveler to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will encrypt your data and protect you from cyberattacks. Then you’re free to get your WiFi fill without having to worry about potential disasters.

Go for a Wander

Perhaps the best way to get the most out of your delay is to simply grab your bag and head for a stroll. Wherever you are, there’s bound to be numerous exciting and new experiences to be had. Simply take in the local architecture and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of a foreign culture or search for an interesting and unique activity that you can do to fill your time with while you wait.

As previously mentioned, so many incredible traveling memories are made in the moments that you least expect them to be, so be sure to keep an open mind and open eyes, and you might find you stumble upon something that becomes the highlight of your trip. A word of warning, however: it’s extremely important to make sure you get back in time. If you’re in an airport and head out into the nearby city, then it usually takes a good while to travel between the two. Make sure you do your research before hand so you don’t end up missing your connection and make your delay even longer.

Make New Friends

Whenever you experience a delay when traveling, it’s highly likely that there’ll be a whole group of people who are having the same problems you are. This provides a great platform to get to know some of the group and maybe make some new friends along the way. Chances are, the people you meet will be traveling to the same destination as you, so you can share tips and ideas about what to do once you get there.

In terms of where they’ve come from, however, the wide variety of people you find at transport stations is a more eclectic mix than any other part of life, so you’re bound to find some interesting people to talk to. Whether it’s a businessman on a stopover from Dubai or a fellow backpacker who’s just hitched all the way across the continent, there’s bound to be a whole host of interesting stories to listen to and maybe an opportunity to share some of your own. Maybe you’ll even pick up a traveling buddy to join your for the rest of your trip!

Get Stuck into a Book

One of the easiest ways to make time pass quickly is by reading a book. Lose yourself in the pages of an epic adventure, and before you’ll know it, your delay will be over, and it will be time to board. Most people have a whole host of books that they’ve been waiting to read but just haven’t found the time for. Well, here’s your time! There are many great travel novels that will not only entertain you during your delay, but may also provide you with some inspiration for the rest of your trip.

If you don’t already have a book on you, depending on where you are, you might be able to resolve that. Many airports are equipped with bookshops, and if you’re in a train or bus station in a town center, then it’s easy to nip out and find a nearby store. Head to the English section or maybe even see if you can tackle something in the local language, if you’re feeling brave. Either way, the wait will be over and the delay will be done in a matter of page turns.


Chow Down

Most travelers are self-confessed foodies who can’t think of anything better than an opportunity to get out and try the local cuisine. Well, this delay might just be that opportunity! If you’re in an airport, then there’s always a plethora of food vendors; take your time and weigh up your options before sitting down and digging in to as many courses as you have time for.

If you’re nearer the city, ask around to see if you can get recommendations for a local favorite. Most train and bus stations have information points where you can ask for recommendations, but if you’re waiting in the street, you can easily stop people around you. Challenge yourself to find somewhere unique, and your troublesome delay might even turn into one of the best memories of your whole trip.

Delays can be frustrating, but when tackled with the right attitude and few simple tips, you can easily make the most of the extra time you have to kill. These are just a few ways to fill your wait, but there’s hundreds to choose from. If you have any ideas that should be added to the list, then be sure to comment below!