“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
Yeah. I’ve heard that, and it sounds pretty profound. But the truth is, it is ALSO the destination, because we wouldn’t even be on the journey if we didn’t have one in mind. And the path of the journey is made up of a multitude of mini-destinations.
Every trip is like going to DisneyWorld. Say I’m at DisneyWorld and I want to ride on Aerosmith. The ride is my destination, my objective, my goal. Unless I want to stand in line doing nothing for an hour and a half (Aerosmith is a MOST popular ride with VERY long lines), I arrive early at the front gate. While I’m standing there, I enjoy my coffee and meet a few people standing around me. When the gate opens, I head for AeroSmith and buy a fast pass. I ride once through the still manageable line, and when I come out, I have a fast pass, so I go again. When I come out of that 2nd ride, the wait is now an hour and a half, so I buy another fast pass for 12:35 pm. Three rides on the most popular ride in the park because I plan ahead. Now I have layover until my next flight on AeroSmith. Do I sit on a bench and read my Nook until 12:35? Of course not, it’s DisneyWorld!
Key words: Arrive Early – Get a FastPass – Enjoy Your Coffee – Interact with Real People – Plan Ahead – Don’t Waste the Layover
I’m taking a trip this week to the desert southwest via IAH in Houston with a four-hour layover. I checked the Terminal Map for IAH, and see that since I’m flying on United Airlines, I’ll be landing at Terminal B or C. I see that the Terminal Link tram runs back and forth outside the airport (meaning I get to look at and photograph AIRPLANES) stopping at terminals A-D. Then I’ll walk the rest.
What you need to know: The airport web site will tell you everything you need to know to plan a mini-destination during your layover. Also, check those departure boards every so often in case your departure gate changes. No matter how fun the airport is, you don’t want to miss the plane!
My Mini-Destination Itinerary:
- Get on the Terminal Link tram (above ground/inside security) and ride to Terminal A to start. Time stops between A-D.
- Get a chair massage in Terminal D (between gates D7-8) (15 min)
- Visit Interfaith Chapel in Terminal D (near gates D7-8) (10-15 min)
- Check out USO – Terminal D (across from Gate D2) (as long as I want)
- Check out United Club = Terminal E (between Gates E11-12) (5-10min)
- Walk to Terminal A, tracking Time & Steps between each terminal E-A
- Go to my gate 1/2 hour before the listed boarding time.
What you need to know: Travel fatigue is increased by lack of movement. On a long layover, use the endless corridors as your treadmill and keep yourself awake and heart-healthy.
I have a blog on travel, so as I’m walking I’ll be on the lookout for information and photo-ops my readers can use:
- Charging stations
- Stuff kids will find fun and interesting
- Places to sleep for a while
- Airport artwork.
- Organic food
FACT: Major airports have some of the best art in the country. ORD has a dinosaur. SEA has amazing stained glass windows. DEN has an amazing 32-foot, 9000 lb Mustang sculpture. Houston has a moon-walking cow. I’ll need to find someone to take my picture with that.