I kinda love the airport…
Not because it’s a particularly fun place to hang out, but because it’s such a melting pot of people. I’m able to relax at my gate for 30 minutes waiting to board my flight and in that time, see travelers from literally all walks of life pass me by. It’s fascinating to me, so I’ve narrowed down my Top 10 favorite kinds of airport travelers:
1. THE BUSINESS TRAVELER – This ain’t their first airport rodeo. You can usually tell who the weekday warriors are because 9 times out of 10, they’ll be carrying an over-the-shoulder laptop bag, compact carry-on suitcase, and hanging bag. If you’re lucky, you may also hear a company merger in the time it takes to throw your suitcase in the overhead compartment.
2. THE SLEEPER - When I think of the kinds of people that have life figured out, I think of the sleepers. If their flight is 2 hours 16 minutes, they consider this a 2 hour 15 minute nap and will board the plane with 3 things: an eye mask, ear plugs, and a head pillow. Whether they look cool or not, it really doesn’t matter because they’re off snoring in Happyland before the pilot can even welcome you aboard.
3. THE REALLY IMPORTANT PERSON – This probably needs no explanation because these people are REALLY important.
4. THE PROCRASTINATING MINIMALIST – Let’s face it, they’re lucky to have even made it to the airport on time. These are the guys (errr, people) that pack a couple things in a trash bag and then arrive at your house and ask if you have an extra toothbrush they can borrow. I’m pretty sure I met this guy (errr, person) in college a time or two.
5. THE OVER-PACKER – On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the over-packer. This person is literally rolling their entire closet down the airport terminal. It may only be a 2-day weekend getaway, but “How do you know what you’re going to want to wear?” Well, the 22 tank tops, 12 sundresses, 4 pairs of jeans, and 8 pairs of shoes in your two giant suitcases might be just a wee bit excessive. But hey, whatever floats your boat as long as I’m not the one carrying it.
6. THE BACKPACKER – I’m convinced the backpackers have special super powers. You’re standing behind them at the check-in counter, they’re carrying ONE fancy REI backpack, and you overhear that they’re going to South America for 3 months. Really?! I say this as the highest compliment, but they’re freaks of human nature. I can barely fit all my toiletries in one backpack, much less everything I’ll need for 3 months. They pack smart and practical, love rolling their clothes, and adore little compartments.
7. THE MOM – Bless their hearts, you’d think they have 6 arms because they’re somehow carrying their purse, the diaper bag, the Scooby Doo duffel bag, and their child as they make their way to the security line. All the while, pulling 2 suitcases with their other kids riding them like shopping carts. This is only after they’ve already checked a car seat and their husband’s suitcase, who just so happens to be ‘parking the car’.
8. THE CARIBBEAN CRUISERS - Gathered around the morning flight to Ft. Lauderdale, the cruisers may as well already be on the ship sipping cocktails. Dawning their favorite Hawaiian shirts and a little extra room in their pastel ‘St. Maarten’ carry-on bag for Duty-Free shopping, it’s quite obvious who’s going on a sunny beach vacation and I must admit, I’m always a little jealous.
9. THE MUSICIAN – The musician prints his boarding pass at home and skips right past the check-in counter because this guy is NOT handing his guitar over to anyone. Last time the airline forced him to check it, they threw it around carelessly, broke a string, and he had to spend “half his day retuning it”. This guy may have only brought 2 shirts, but no matter. As long as he has his trusty guitar by his side, he’ll make it to the next gig, man.
10. THE PASSIONATE SPORTS FAN - They’re probably the most entertaining bunch at the airport. Whether they’re on their way to the game, coming home from the game, win, lose, draw, forfeit – they’re in their gear and they’re excited. The avid sports fan stops at every airport bar down the terminal to catch a few seconds of the game. Any game, really. It may just be a commercial on but they’re squinting to try to see the score anyway. They also love making best friends. I’m from Texas, and we definitely like our sports in Texas. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Longhorn fans bond at the airport for the simple fact that they’re both wearing burnt orange. I’ve totally done this myself and I’m not afraid to admit it.
I would guess that the majority of us fall into at least one or two of these categories, whether we like to admit it or not. Depending on the circumstances, we may be #1, #6, and #7 all within the same year. The beauty of traveling is that it’s a different experience each and every time, and an entirely different experience for each and every person. Whether you’re headed to see the grandparents in Boston or to teach Spanish in Guatemala, or any other place the world may take you, just make sure to enjoy it and appreciate all of the differences around you …also, do yourself a favor and make sure that you’re never #5.
What type of traveler are you? Tell us in the comments! (If you can’t see Facebook comments, go here for the full Top 10 Favorite Kinds of Airport Travelers Travel Blog Post.)