Let's face it, travel is stressful. but these days, the antidote can be found in, of all places, the airport. Airports are offering everything from massages to movie rentals to help you arrive at your destination feeling a little less tense. Best of all, these amenities won't put you in the poorhouse. Here are some ways to relax on the road:
- Get an affordable massage. The Massage Bar, with two locations at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport and one at Nashville International Airport, offers 15- and 30-minute massages. "More travelers are physically and emotionally stressed [now]," says
Erin Guth, a company spokeswoman. "This really helps." So does the discount card that gives you 10 massages for $171 (a savings of $19).
- See a movie. If you're tired of watching in-flight films, why not rent a DVD player and a flick at the airport? InMotion Pictures, a Jacksonville, Florida, movie rental company, has locations in 15 airports, including Atlanta, Denver and Las Vegas. Rent a DVD player for $12 a day and your movie is free--or get a five-day film rental for $5 (just $1 more than a headset rental on a plane).
- Buy a book. "People want a release," says Jenie Carlen, a spokeswoman for Borders, which operates Waldenbooks stores at airports in Boston, Newark and Washington, among others. "We've noticed more airport patrons are hanging out in the bookstore while they wait for their flights." Waldenbooks discounts bestsellers by 15 percent, and its preferred reader program ($10 annually) gives you an additional 10 percent off.
What if you're stuck at an airport with none of the above? No worries, says Shel Horowitz, an author and frequent traveler. "Bring your own reading materials, your own snacks--anything to keep your mind off the stress of traveling," he says. Horowitz likes to take a tennis ball with him, which he uses to administer do-it-yourself acupressure back massages.
Christopher Elliott is a writer and commentator and the editor of www.elliott.org.