In 2017, US air carriers recorded a delayed flight percentage of 11.74%. Each year, both airlines and customers collectively lose billions of dollars and billions of hours on delayed and canceled flights.

It always helps to be prepared in case of such unforeseen circumstances, starting with packing a solid carry on bag with all the travel essentials to tide you through a long layover.

The next time you are stuck waiting around the airport, try out some of these fantastic time killing ideas. You can still be surprised by how many amazing things your smart phone has to offer.

airport-wait-timeHow to Kill Time at the Airport

1) There’s a Podcast for It

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a podcast for it. From history and literature to international security and warfare – you can find amazing podcasts. They’re usually free, and you know exactly how long they are too. You can choose something that’s five, ten, twenty, or however-many-minutes-you-have-to-kill long.

They’ll also be a welcome break from your phone screen. Instead of staring at videos, you’ll be able to walk around the airport and keep an eye on your flight for any updates. You can even take advantage of free airport WiFi to download a bunch of them. Check out some of the great podcasts on PRX and Stitcher, or just google around for something you might like.

2. Decide What’s for Dinner

After some time on the road, many people enjoy a nice, home-cooked meal. There are many great food apps.

One of the most popular is Epicurious, which has not only a wide array of recipes, but also a lot of interesting stories and other content about food, restaurants, and culture.

Another great app is Handpick – a beautifully designed and intuitive app that offers recipe suggestions based on what items you already have at home.

3. Track Your Finances

Returning from vacation, you might be afraid to check your bank balance. But there’s no better time to put your finances in order than when you’re stuck at the airport. One of the best choices out there is Mint.

Mint allows you to monitor your spending across all banking and credit accounts. You can track trends to see where you might be overspending and set personal budgets and monthly goals. For any extra money you have left, you can use Acorns – a simple saving and investment app.

airport-wait-laptop-work4. Learn a Foreign Language

Headed to Costa Rica, France, or another destination where they don’t speak English? Why not use the time at the airport to brush up on the local languages? These days Duolingo is hands down the most popular app. With over 300 million users spanning 85 different languages, Duolingo offers a free, integrated learning platform. You’ll be able to practice your speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills.

In addition, it features placement tests if you’re already experienced in a particular language so you can jump ahead to the perfect place for your skill level. Duolingo also knows how to keep you motivated by using gamification techniques. You’ll advance through different levels and will even have an option to compete with your friends.

Also, be sure to check out Memrise. It uses flashcards for a wide array of courses so you can learn astronomy, world capitals, or practice one of the hundreds of available language options.

5. Challenge Your Brain

In the old days, we had crossword puzzles and brainteasers. Now you can do so much more with your phone. If you don’t have it already, Words With Friends is a great way to challenge both friends and new people on the internet to a Scrabble-like word game that tests your word skills.

Another great option is the brain-building app Peak. Neuroscientists and expert programmers came together to create this cognitive skill booster. It features 30 quick mini-games along with detailed statistics to monitor your progress. You can set the skill to match any difficulty level and even invite your friends for a little competition.

Best Way to Handle Long Waits at the Airport

Airport delays are just something we have to live with. Even without them, you still have to wait at security, the ticket counter, and many other places.

With free airport WiFi, you can easily download all of these amazing apps and make sure you’re spending your time, not wasting it. Just make sure that you protect and encrypt your connection when you use public WiFi. You can do this by downloading a virtual private network app, so that no matter where you browse from, your data will always be safe.

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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on