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Although there are plenty of ways to pass the time at an airport, nothing is quite like getting lost in a novel or guidebook. Unfortunately, if you forgot your book at home (or failed to load your e-reader), newsstands often don't have much in the way of selection. But the good news is, an increasing number of airports are staking a claim on the lending library trend.
USA Today reports local libraries are using airport storefronts and kiosks to lend paper books to travelers during their layovers. Some are also setting up stations for e-book downloads. In several cases, the libraries provide a relaxing place set aside from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport-and more often than not, there's free WiFi. Here are a few places where you should be on the lookout for a good read:
National Airports with Libraries
International Airports with Libraries
In the age of smartphones and social networks, it seems rare that anyone would ever be lonely. But technology doesn't always fill the void for some good old fashioned personal contact. When you're on the road, these tools and social sites can help you find a friend in a city full of strangers -- and in some cases, you might end up saving money, too.
Good For: Anyone on Facebook
In case you haven't noticed, the search bar in Facebook now allows users to search and sort through information within your friend network. Sure, you can use it to check out which of your friends are single, but it's also a tool that can help you find out which friends now live in certain cities or countries. Maybe one of your college buddies got a job in Washington, DC and you didn't realize it. Or, perhaps someone you know recently visited the city. "People who uploaded photos taken in Washington" and start your detective work.
Friends of Friends Travel
Good For: Solo female travelers
Whether you're looking to find a place to stay or just share a cup of coffee, you no longer have to do it with random strangers. This website intentionally limits users to friends and "friends of friends," making it easy to find trustworthy travel partners. It's an especially good tool for solo travelers who might be a little apprehensive about using services like couchsurfing.com, which can sometimes be a mixed bag. At least now you'll have a friend to vouch for their buddy -- and you won't have to browse thousands of couches to find them.
Good For: Hungry business travelers
For those who just want to meet up for a meal, Gubwithus can connect you with strangers who have similar interests (and I'm not just talking about a shared love of pizza). The website allows you to join different groups -- options include tech junkees, book enthusiasts and ladies only -- and then meetup at pre-arranged dinners. It's a great way to not only meet new people, but also try new restaurants. Right now, Grubwithus is only available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
"One of my fellow buskers here mentioned to me that in the last week the boardwalk has come alive again," Hassey Jr. told WAMU.org. "There's music coming from the shops, there's music on the boardwalk from buskers, and people have a kick in their step and a smile on their face that they didn't have a week ago."
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