Hello my lovely readers! This post is coming to you directly from London’s Heathrow airport, where I am currently enjoying the pleasure of a 5 hour layover before heading over to Germany. I did this exact same layover about 7 months ago, and this time around it is so much easier. So, I thought I’d share the tips and lessons I have learned that make the time go by much (much) faster. Enjoy, and I hope this helps some of you as you take off on your adventures this summer!
- Collect yourself: After coming off of that ten hour flight from Los Angeles, I was not in the best shape. Extremely sleep deprived, I basically stumbled through the mile long walk to Terminal 1 (tip: take the stairs or walking route if possible, it gets your blood going!). First thing I did was get myself a proper meal at Terminal 1’s Pret A Manger. I guess you could call this British “fast food”, but only for the price. The inexpensive food is both delicious and freshly made! I grabbed myself a wrap, some fresh berries, bottled water, a latte, and sat myself down at a table. I then set up my electronics, and here I am now! I am feeling awake and refreshed, and am really enjoying the time I have to blog right now. I am even sitting on a comfy sofa like seat, life is as good as it can be It’s my own little island/office in the middle of a busy airport!
- Treat yourself to a coffee: Last time, I made the mistake of not grabbing a coffee before I sat down. I spent the layover too tired to do much, but unable to fall asleep because I was watching my stuff. This time around, I grabbed a latte first thing (let me say, American coffee has nothing on the way the Europeans make theirs!! So yummy!). I now have more energy than I do on a regular school day, and just know that these next few hours will be productive (I spy blog-posts!).
- Ration your internet time: This one probably sounds pretty weird, so let me explain. At most airports, free internet is offered, but usually only an hour or so is for free. Here at Heathrow, you get one hour per device every 12 hours. Be very smart about how you use this time!!Last time around, I used my computer internet and phone at the same time, meaning that only an hour passed by. Let me explain my game plan this time around to you: Right now, I am pre-typing out my blog posts into a word document. No use in wasting time typing it directly into the website! After I am done writing my posts, I will copy and paste them into my blog, quickly upload pre-edited and selected photos, and add those in. Voila! 10 minutes max spent on the internet, publishing about an hour and a half worth of work. Then, I will pull in an episode of Desperate Housewives. Following, I will use the internet on my phone to respond to messages on there. Just like that, two hours are gone!
- Read a book: I love using long layovers to catch up on reading. There are basically no other distractions! Last layover I got through Eleanor & Park, and this layover I fully plan on getting through Lola and The Boy Next Door. Also, I have an issue of 17 Magazine calling my name. Not to mention WHSmith Books right across from me. I spy British authors galore!
- Shop: Like I said above, I love going into the bookstore at any airport, because every country always has different selections. And lucky me, the ones at the airport are all in English! There are also British magazines galore. However, books aren’t all you can shop for. Not even taking into consideration the huge Duty Free variety at most airports, most airports also have drugstores. After my internet runs out, I know I’ll be taking a gander into Boots. There are several British products (cough, Soap and Glory) that I want to stock up on.
- Step Outside: If your layover is long enough, I highly recommend going into the closest city, even if it is only for an hour or two. In my case, it didn’t really make any sense to (London is over an hour away by tube, and I can’t afford a taxi), but if circumstances allow it I highly recommend it. The outside world is way more interesting than the inside of an airport, and if you have the chance to see it you should really do so!!
- People Watch: You will never see as large a variety of people as you will at the airport. Right now, I am really enjoying hearing all of the British accents around me. I also love seeing different airport fashions (I just saw a great pair of wedges). While my travel style tends to be pretty laid back (white tank top, black JCrew pants, Doc Martens, Vans mens flannel, an American Apparel jacket that I used to keep warm in the flight, along with my favorite jewelry) I’ve seen some very well dressed people here today. I actually got some major inspiration from the woman next to me on the flight. She was wearing those new baggy pants that are really in, with a tank top and hip necklace. Her outfit looked super cute, yet she was also comfortable throughout the flight! Definitely stealing the pants idea for my next travel day.
- Nap: To be very clear, I only recommend doing this if you are not traveling alone. I usually fly over to Europe before the rest of my family or even completely alone, so I don’t have this luxury. I’m too afraid of my stuff getting stolen. However, if you’re with family, friends, a spouse, etc., nap away! It’s always good to nap, because it’s refreshing and time flies by.
- Hydrate: This goes especially if you have just come off of a long flight. Both the air in the plane and the food they serve on board is extremely dehydrating. During your layover, be sure to drink up. This lessens chance of you getting sick, breaking out, and even dosing off. Water is magical for the body! Right now I’m sipping on a huge bottle I bought. However, if you don’t want to spend the money, just take a reusable bottle from home. Just leave it empty so you don’t get it taken from you at security. This helps you on the flight as well. Ask one of the flight attendants to fill it up, and you won’t have to be constantly getting up to ask for water!
- Groom Yourself: Everybody feels better if they look better: it’s a simple fact of life. You can do this either right before landing, of when you get to the airport. I wash my face, brush my hair, and then apply some simple makeup. I cover up any blemishes, and apply my favorite nude lip color. I immediately feel better with a clean and fresh face. If you want to go a little further, bring some travel deodorant and a small toothbrush with you as well. Trust me, I really wish I could brush my teeth right now!!
I hope you all found this post helpful! I am so excited to start my adventure in Europe. On the itinerary is Germany (Essen, Cologne, Hamburg, and Schleswig Holstein), Spain (Costa Blanca) and hopefully a few days in Copenhagen. And then off to Paris at the end of August. I can’t believe I actually moved out of home! So exited for all that’s to come. Thank you so much for reading! Below, find some pictures from my last weekend in Los Angeles. It was one to remember!
My best friends brought me to the airport to say goodbye. We’re not seeing each other for six months, and it was really tough to part ways. However, no distance can tear us apart!! I love them more than anything (hi guys if you’re reading this!!)