11 of the weirdest things you can buy in international airports
Reported by Caralynn Lippo
International travel is rewarding, but long-haul flights aren't anyone's idea of a good time.
Between extensive layovers, flight delays, and navigating customs, the process of getting to your final destination can be a major drag.
Over the years, as travelling internationally has become more common and accessible, airports have accommodated the growing need for entertainment by introducing luxury shopping and a wide array of useful amenities within their terminals.
Here are some of the most unexpected items and services available for purchase inside international airports.
A ride on a 12m slide
Changi Airport in Singapore is renowned for a number of reasons. One among them is that it houses the tallest slide in the country and the world's tallest slide in an airport.
The Slide@T3 (located in Terminal 3) is open to kids and adults alike and stands 12m (or almost four stories) tall. You can get one ride on the tubular slide for every 10 Singapore dollars you spend in the airport on the same day. Save your receipts!
Voodoo believers make up a significant portion of Haiti's population, and it's an integral (though generally quite misunderstood) part of the country's culture. According to Travel + Leisure, you can pick up a one-of-a-kind Haitian souvenir as you're leaving the country - the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince sells voodoo dolls.
You can't always predict when a dental emergency is going to strike, and being beset with sudden, acute tooth pain can put a real damper on a vacation or work trip.
But if you happen to be in Germany's Munich Airport when the ache you've been putting off for weeks abruptly becomes unbearable, you're in luck - there's a dental practice and lab inside that airport. The doctors at the practice offer comprehensive dental services, including preventive dentistry, cosmetic services, and even implants.
A round of golf on an 18-hole golf course
Hong Kong International is a massive travel hub, and accordingly, they've poured a lot of time and resources into making it chock-full of entertainment for harried flyers. Among its many amenities is a nine-hole golf course, which was built to US Golf Association standards.
There's also a little-known golf course located inside the Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. It has 18 holes, set up between the take-off and landing runways.
A replica of Harry's wand from 'Harry Potter'
If you're in Heathrow but not so much interested in the fine art scene, there's also plenty of lower-brow merch you can peruse.
The Harry Potter shop (also in Terminal 5) sells official merchandise from JK Rowling's fantastical world, including apparel, souvenirs, and collectibles. Among the offerings you can reserve for purchase ahead of time are a replica Hogwarts school trunk and Harry's very own wand.
A 'water massage'
Travelling is stressful, and getting a spa treatment is a tried-and-true way to de-stress. Plenty of airports offer spas (the XpresSpa chain in located in several domestic and international airports), but one at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is a bit unique.
The Back to Life spa (located within Amsterdam Schiphol, after security) offers a number of massage services, including a "aqua massage." It promises you'll have "a quick revitalisation" as you're wrapped in a waterproof blanket and sprayed with a variety of water pressures and temperatures from 36 jets.
An aquarium visit
Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park, but there are also outposts located inside the city's international airport.
The 30,000-gallon tank (located before security in the domestic terminal), housing hundreds of marine life species, is the world's biggest airport aquarium. There's a second display on the upper level.
An engagement ring
Airports can be a pretty romantic setting for emotional hellos and goodbyes - see any one of a slew of rom-coms from the past 30 years for reference.
If you're reuniting with a special someone and the mood strikes to declare your love in the most permanent way imaginable, you can actually swing by a jeweler and pick up an engagement ring to pop the question right then and there. A number of international airports have high-end jewelry shops within their terminals.
Tokyo's Narita Airport, for example, has two Tiffany store locations, in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Heathrow has one as well. And here's one obvious bonus of making this life-altering purchase during your layover: You could potentially save a bunch of money on the diamond since airport purchases are duty-free.
London's Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world - and one of the best for luxury shopping.
Heathrow's Terminal 5 is generally considered the British airport's best terminal for shopping. Among the long list of luxury shops is the T5 Gallery, one of only a few permanent commercial fine art galleries located in an airport.
The T5 Gallery was even honored with a Special Mention at the Corporate Art Awards in late 2018 "for the promotion of art to a wide international audience of travellers."
"The T5 Gallery experience has been considered as a unique example of best practice which should be promoted around the world in that other major international airports would follow this path," the awards organization said of the gallery.
An eye exam
A visit to the optometrist is generally something that happens annually and isn't particularly urgent. But if you've got time to kill - and money to spare - Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik has a full-service Optical Studio.
The opticians promise "efficiency and fast service," with optical measurements and even prescription glasses ready to go within 15 minutes. They also carry a number of high-end brands, like Gucci and Oakley.
One of Peru's premier souvenirs is its alpaca-wool sweaters. If you visit the country and realize en route home that you forgot to pick one up - or simply planned ahead of time to take advantage of the airport's tax-free benefits - you can buy the luxurious garment at the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.
Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Sucking a man’s finger to taste Doritos chips is not sexual harassment, SA advertising regulator rules
- You can now watch unlimited movies at Ster-Kinekor for R349 a month - here's how to make it worth your while
- These are South Africa's worst insurers, measured by client complaints
- We found a secret game hidden in Pick n Pay’s new cricket collectable card series
- After a long fall, bread is quickly getting pricier – while pap prices are all over the show