Work and Wanderlust: Digital Nomad-Friendly Airports
Throughout all my travels, I’ve been in a LOT of airports and experienced some airports that are more friendly for digital nomads than others. I detest airports with zero wifi (usually the smaller remote ones) but what can ya do? Even though I am not traveling as much anymore, I still visit family and prefer airpots that offer more services for my comfort.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, there were 34 million departure flights worldwide last year, split among approximately 1,400 commercial airlines across 4,130 different airports. It is of no surprise then that the number of flyers has increased to 3.5 billion, as compared to 2014. Based on those numbers alone, it can be concluded that a very high percentage of people have been traveling around the world.
For digital nomads, however, it is not as simple as flying from one destination to another, going to a hotel, and carrying on with a scheduled tour. It also means taking their work with them, and for that reason, there are some certain factors to consider even early on in a trip, involving one of their most frequented places – airports.
Nowadays, it’s very rare to see people that don’t own smartphones, unless they are inhabitants of a remote area somewhere in the world. In fact, there were 2.6 billion smartphone owners globally last year, and continuous studies suggest that this number will continue to grow exponentially.
Digital nomads are no exception, as they are managing businesses, conducting transactions, checking accounts, and/or doing some sort of other work through their phones, tablets, and laptops even when at the airport. Most of these occur online so a strong Internet connection is a must. Most major international airports do offer a Wi-Fi connection though, varying only in the amount of time for free use. But others like Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand and San Francisco International Airport have actual Internet cafes and workstations, respectively. These come complete with printing services.
Charging stations also have become somewhat of a necessity so as not to worry about their gadgets running out of juice. Some airports like Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have under-the-seat power outlets near boarding gates, and they even rent out internet-enabled phones for use during worst-case scenarios.
For Other Belongings
A digital nomad means being gone for varying durations, sometimes a few days, other times more than a week or even longer. If the person has decided to bring a car to the airport, he/she may benefit from flexible or the extensive options for parking available at an airport. Airports like London Heathrow have many different choices according to Parking4Less. These include short-stay and long-stay, valet, business, and hotel parking, which help digital nomads look for whichever suits their current needs.
If away for long periods, digital nomads will undoubtedly miss their loved ones. In terms of posting things home, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport has in-terminal postal services that send out packages for delivery.
For the Flyer
In case a digital nomad runs into someone else on his/her team or a business partner, air hubs like Budapest Airport have meeting rooms for a quiet place to discuss official and formal concerns.
For a quick break from work, however, there are airports with slot machines inside, such as in McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, or a massage place like in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas to ease tired muscles after long hours of travel.
A digital nomad’s life can be challenging, and given that they work wherever they go, it is only natural to consider an airport’s amenities and facilities that are helpful to them, as they spend a significant amount of time inside these entryways to different countries.
What airports have you found ideal to work in?