The thought of being trapped in an airport with time to kill is one most of us fear.

Whether you're faced with hours of layover, or you've arrived early only to be confronted with a long delay, being stuck in the maze of an airport can be daunting.

Most people will hunker down with a book, magazine or their iPad -- but with hours of flight time looming in the future, why not do something a little more active?

Disclaimer: Not all airports are as rife with fun as others. If you're held up at a small, activity-less airport, you'll have to get creative. Try talking to your gate-mate. Or, if all else fails, download Candy Crush.

1. Go art exploring.

airport art

Many airports are veritable museums, with permanent and rotating exhibits mounted throughout the terminals. Leave your terminal area (if security allows) and check out the art on display. You'll probably see some great contemporary art you couldn't find elsewhere.

2. Work on your fitness.

airport exercise

Pack your gym shoes and get a little sweaty. Many airports now offer fitness areas or yoga studios where travelers can get a workout in before their flight. No gym? No worries, do a few laps around the gate or climb a flight of stairs a few times.

3. Pet a puppy.

airport therapy dog

More and more airports are adding therapy dogs to their repertoire of entertaining and aiding in the relaxation of travelers. The dogs are there to allow anxious fliers to de-stress before their flight and prevent that stress from building as their wait time climbs.

4. Go on a pub or food crawl.

airport dining

While airports once may have been fast-food central, today they are increasingly hot spots for trendy dining and drink locales. Go on your own little food or pub crawl and sample snacks or have a couple of drinks. Just don't have too many before boarding.

5. Treat yourself.

airport massage

Does a pre-flight massage sound like a dream come true? Chances are, that dream could be a reality. Many airports now boast spas and massage centers to calm traveler's nerves before they hit the skies.

6. Go on a scavenger hunt.

airport fun

Because, why not? This is especially fun if you're at an airport in a foreign country. Make a list of random or obscure items -- unusual snacks, interesting sweets, a funny brochure -- to buy (or, to save money, snap a photo of) and race to see who can collect them all. Really the list can be of anything, as long as it keeps you and your crew milling around until your flight time. Nothing passes time like a little competition.

And if all else fails, check out Cheapflights' "50 things to do at an airport" below:



50 Things To Do At The Airport




50 Things To Do At The Airport [Infographic] by the team at CheapFlights



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  • Munich Christmas Market

    The <a href="http://www.munich-airport.de/en/consumer/erlebnis/events/index.jsp?viewType=h" target="_blank">Christmas market</a> in Airport Center at Munich Airport runs from November 17 to December 30 and offers traditional Christmas treats, including gingerbread and sweet treats. Daily, 11am to 9pm

  • Oregon Market, Portland

    Made in Oregon's <a href="http://www.madeinoregon.com/Store_Locations.html">Oregon Market</a> at Portland International Airport a large selection of Oregon-made wines and local goods. Open 6:00 am to 9:00 pm

  • Harrod's, London Heathrow

    The <a href="http://www.heathrowairport.com/shop,-eat,-relax-and-enjoy/shops-a_z?search=true&shop=Harrods">famous London store </a>has not one but 4 outposts at London's Heathrow airport. Teddy bears and Union Jacks, anyone? For hours, visit the <a href="http://www.heathrowairport.com/shop,-eat,-relax-and-enjoy/shops-a_z?search=true&shop=Harrods">Heathrow website</a>.

  • Dubai Duty Free

    There's nearly 200,000-square feet of <a href="http://www.dubaidutyfree.com/">duty-free shopping</a> to be done at Dubai International airport, with an additional 86,000 square feet arriving in 2013. Visitors can shop at either arrivals or departures. Did we mention it's open 24 hours?

  • SkyMart Avenue, Hong Kong

    <a href="http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/shopping/insideshopping/t1/skyma/list.html">SkyMart Avenue</a> at Hong Kong's Terminal 1 offers duty-free shopping, gadgets and accessories as well as a slew of restaurants. Don't miss the <a href="http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/shopping/insideshopping/t1/skyma/tgcd.html">Design Gallery</a>, which offers some 5,000 gifts, appliances and toys, among other goodies. Open 7am to 11pm

  • Rijks Museum, Schipol Airport, Amsterdam

    Located behind Piers E and F sits the <a href="http://www.schiphol.nl/Travellers/FoodRelax/AfterPassportControl/Relax/Rijksmuseum1.htm">Rijks Museum's airport outpost </a>at Amsterdam Schipol. It's open every day from 7am to 8pm and has a permanent collection of 10 pieces of Dutch artwork.

  • Mitchell Gallery of Flight, Milwaukee

    The <a href="http://www.mitchellgallery.org/">Mitchell Gallery of Flight</a> is a non-profit museum within Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport. Located near the C concourse, the museum pays homage to Wisconsin's World War II heroes, model displays as well as airlines in the area.

  • Smithsonian Museum Store, Dulles & Washington Reagan

    Forget to buy a gift while visiting D.C.? <a href="http://www.gosmithsonian.com/shop/">Smithsonian</a> offers on-the-go shopping at Washington Reagan (7am to 9:30pm) and Dulles (7am to 9pm).

  • SFMOMA Gift Shop

    The <a href="http://museumstore.sfmoma.org/location-museumstore-sf-airport.html">Museum of Modern Art</a>'s outpost at San Francisco International sits in the main terminal building. The store offers all the usual goodies, including jewelry, stationary and accessories. Open every day (except Christmas) from 9am to 6pm

  • SFO Museum, San Francisco

    Don't like modern art? Check out the various locations of ancient art (and, OK, modern design) <a href="http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/sfo_museum/exhibitions/map/location_map.html">SFO Museum</a> throughout the airport.

  • Hilton Athletic Club, Chicago O'Hare

    There's a Hilton hotel connected to Chicago O'Hare's Terminal 2, which could come in handy when you're stuck in the Windy City by a snowstorm. If you're just passing through and facing a delay, head to the hotel's <a href="http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/illinois/hilton-chicago-ohare-airport-CHIOHHH/index.html">athletic club</a>, which offers cardio machines, a weight room and full showers. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-gellert/know-before-you-go-series_1_b_825714.html">Day passes start around $15</a>.

  • Absolute Spa, Vancouver

    Vancouver-based <a href="http://www.absolutespa.com/yvr-vancouver-airport/">Absolute Spa</a> has 4 locations within the International Airport, each specializing in chair massages, mani/pedis and jetlag treatments. There are 2 locations within Domestic departures and arrivals (open 7:30am to 7pm, 7 days a week) and U.S. departures (7am to 7pm, 7 days a week).

  • Ora Oxygen, Detroit

    Ora Oxygen claims to be the <a href="http://www.ora-oxygen.com/">world's first airport-based oxygen spa in the world</a>. The spa, located at both Detroit Wayne County Airport (in the Edward McNamara Terminal) and Calgary International Airport (Departure Level), offers oxygen treatments, as well as the more run-of-the-mill mani/pedis and massages.

  • Elemis Spas, Heathrow

    <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/elemis-travel-spa/public/en_gb">Elemis</a> has set up travel spots in British Airways' airport lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 and 3 and JFK Terminal 7, offering complimentary, 15-minute massages to first and Club World passengers on British Airways.