It is almost time for you to go to Tanzania. You have been training for months and have all your gear packed and repacked. Your power bank and batteries are fully charged. You have all the necessary clothing and have all your loved ones set up on WhatsApp. However, a couple of things you may have overlooked are how to cope on the long flights to and from Kilimanjaro International airport (JRO) and what to do if you have a long layover.
Traveling to Tanzania is not easy. If you are flying from the US, chances are you’ll be flying for 24 hours or so. That is with stops. Two of the most popular routes to JRO are taking Delta/KLM from a major city in the US to Amsterdam. From there, you’ll connect directly to JRO.
Another popular way is from a major US city via American/Qatar to Doha, Qatar. From there it is about a six-hour flight to JRO.
What do you do while you are in the air for so long?
Here are several tips on what to do to keep yourself occupied on long flights:
- Sleep make sure to bring eye masks and earplugs. Keep them for Kilimanjaro. Qatar provides them for all levels of travel.
- Read this can be a physical book, Kindle, laptop, or smartphone
- Watch Movies usually, the airlines will have many movies, but the wifi can go down. Be prepared with some backup movies or shows
- Listen to podcasts or music you’ll have to download them before you go
- Start a travel journal
- Walk around, stretch
Most importantly, be nice to the Flight Attendants. They are not only there to make your flight more comfortable, but, if something goes wrong, they are also your lifeline.
So now that you have a few ideas about what to do on your flights, what do you do if you have a long layover? What you can do is dictated by the length of your layover and the airport/country you are in.
We all know what kind of trouble you can get into in Amsterdam. We are pretty sure we don’t need to cover what to do if you have a long enough layover that you can leave the airport.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is the busiest airport in Europe. You’ll have plenty to do there from eating, drinking, shopping, and people-watching. A word of advice, don’t get carried away and miss your flight to JRO.
By comparison—Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar is the polar opposite of the Netherlands. The recreation readily available in Amsterdam is not allowed in Qatar. For this reason, we recommend staying at the airport.
The airport is quite large. However, if you do not have a boarding pass you cannot buy alcohol either in a bar, restaurant, or in Duty-Free. This is especially relevant if you are flying standby.
Furthermore, G and PG movies are the only rated movies that you’ll be able to download via their WiFi. If you did download rated PG13 or R movies, do yourself a favor and wait to watch them elsewhere.
So what can you do to pass the time? You can rent a pod and sleep for a few hours. You can get a massage or eat. It is a beautiful airport with lounges, shops, and several restaurants. Walk around and enjoy everything this newly remodeled airport has to offer.
These same ideas listed above can be applied to any airport or trip you go on. Traveling long distances can be taxing. Especially when you are already a bit apprehensive about climbing Kilimanjaro. With a little preparation, your long flights to and from Kilimanjaro and layovers will fly by (pun intended). Before you know it, your trip will be over. What seemed like forever leading up to it is over in a flash. With this in mind, take the time to enjoy the journey to the Roof of Africa and everything else along the way.