You’re familiar with the predicament: you packed your bags, had a last walk around the flat, gave back the keys…and now you’ve got hours to wait before your train or flight departs. Or, you found an incredible deal on a flight. The only problem? It arrives at 6am, and that’s too early to check into most Airbnbs and hotels. In both scenarios, you find yourself tied down by heavy luggage, without a clear idea of what you could do to make the most of your time.
We’ve all been there. The first time it happened, you probably tried to get on your day none the wiser. Why not take a walk around, get a feel of the neighbourhood? Then your arm started hurting, what with all the lugging. The luggage kept hitting invisible bumps on the pavement, skewing in different directions and forcing you to stop every 5 minutes to adjust your grip on the handle. Frustrated, and having given up on the ‘let’s wander around the neighbourhood!’, you probably tried to go to a museum or an art gallery. Once inside, though, you found out no big bags were allowed in – and no, they don’t have left luggage, apologies. Defeated, you entered the first nice looking café in your vicinity and resigned yourself to twiddling your thumbs for the next 6 hours.
A simple question popped into your head, what can I do to kill time and don’t feel like I’m missing out? Check out our guide to learn what you can do with your luggage after you’ve checked out of your Airbnb.
Sip a cup of coffee and read a book
Books are travelers best friends. Whether you arrived at the train station way too early or want to take a break from all the sightseeing, having a book in your bag can make the difference between mind numbing boredom and an entertaining few hours.
Wifi, Netflix and chill
When you choose a café, the Wifi connection is as important as the pastry display. Make sure to choose a café with free Wifi access and to have Netflix on your phone. Even better, you could always download an episode or two of your favourite tv show. Who said binge-watching can only be done at home?
Learn a foreign language with Duolingo
Another viable option would be to practice your language skills while munching on a deliciously warm croissant. Apps like Duolingo offer interactive, funny, and free courses for a variety of languages. If you don’t fluently speak the local language but want to chat with street food vendors, this is worth checking out.
It may sound boring, or the Japanese version of knitting, but more and more people are picking up origami as a new hobby. Less brainy than figuring out a Rubik’s cube, more hands on than reading a book. Plus, you can always pretend you’re Michael Scofield from Prison Break, using swan origami to plan your escape.
Grab a pint and people watch
Holidays are an indulgent and leisurely affair. Nothing spells happiness like having the time to sit down with a drink in your hand or a glorious meal spread in front of you while locals run from one place to the other. Time to enjoy your free time to the fullest.
Forget about all of the above. When you have to kill a few hours, it kind of feels like you’re wasting precious vacation time. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
Why allow luggage to ruin your last few hours in a city?
If your bags are stopping you from making the most of your trip, just stash them at a local left luggage. For less than the cost of a Starbucks latte, only £6 for 24h, included insurance!, startups like Stasher will look after your bags so you can sight-see hands free.
Here is what you can really do, and what you would miss out on doing if you let your bags dictate your day:
Free walking tours
Step off the beaten path and see the city through the eyes of locals, thanks to freelance tour guides. The system allows for more spontaneous travel, no need to book far in advance, simply check one of the many websites, choose your preferred tour – London street art tour comes highly recommended – and explore the city’s hidden gems!
Like to go running even when on a holiday? Want to enjoy your surroundings from a different perspective? Then bike tours are right up your alley! Speed past the Big Ben and stop to catch the Changing of the Guard, you’ll see more of London in a few hours than most do in a few days.
Immerse yourself in culture
For safety reasons, most museums and galleries don’t allow big bags in. After you dropped your luggage somewhere convenient, it’s time to soak up all the culture that you can. If you’ve already visited the main museums, don’t forget to check out local exhibitions and smaller galleries, they’re often the best place to find the next Picasso!
Go on a shopping spree (and collect even more bags!)
Who doesn’t like to indulge in a bit of shopping during a holiday? Especially if you’re already starting to dread going back to your daily routine. Treat yourself to some retail therapy or, if you feel generous, buy last minute souvenirs.
Go on a half day trip
If you’ve already seen everything the city has to offer but can’t stand the thought of wasting away in a café before your flight, check out one of the nearby cities. You could either let a tour agency organise your trip or simply get a train to the nearest destination. Companies like GetYourGuide and TourScanner are a continuing source of inspration when it comes to last minute guided tours or tickets to the last attraction on your bucket list. You know what they say, every second counts.
Explore a local park
Villa Borghese in Rome, Richmond Park in London, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, Tiergarden in Berlin. Every city has its own green oasis. Take a leisurely walk, feed squirrels and ducks, snap a couple of pictures and give a last boost to your Instagram feed!
If you’re one of those travellers who can’t bear to miss out on anything, it’s past time to store your heavy bag and make the most of your holiday! Check all available StashPoints here and get stashing!