6 Most Unexpected Items I’ve Found Wandering Through Airports
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
When you’ve got time to kill at an airport, it’s easy to find yourself mindlessly wandering through the gift shops.
From small regional airports to international duty-free shops, I’ve spent plenty of time perusing the aisles of makeup and snacks, looking for the strangest and most unexpected items. These were the days before I acquired a Priority Pass membership with access to over 1,200 airport lounges with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Wandering through airport kiosks and gift shops became a necessary pastime; a way to occupy myself during long layovers. I’ve made friends in line buying Lindt in Munich. I’ve gossiped about boyfriends with a makeup artist at the MAC counter in Cancun. And I’ve searched endlessly for the increasingly elusive TCBY in order to calm my nerves before a flight with a soothing swirl cone.
Here’s a list of unexpected findings that has both surprised and delighted me in various countries.
6 Unexpected Finds in AirportsTokyo, Japan – Narita is probably my very favorite airport ever. What’s so great about this airport (other than Pocky and free Japanese whiskey when you access the lounge with your Priority Pass)? Heated toilets in the bathroom. Some people might find this to be strange, and indeed, it was. But in the very best way ever. Bangkok, Thailand – After two weeks traveling around in Southeast Asia, my feet were totally beat. So I almost did a double take when I saw a line of women with their feet immersed in what looked like mini kiddie pools filled with fish.
This is appropriately known as a “fish pedicure,” and it’s exactly that. Garra rufa fish swim about and eat the dead skin off your feet while you sit and relax (if you can; I know I’m too ticklish to handle this).Panama City, Panama – Every color of Pocky you could ever imagine. I know that Pocky is popular in Japan, but I was not expecting to find this pleasant surprise at the airport in Panama City.
Please note that the green tea Pocky is the color of a shag rug from the 1970s and it is so delicious. So good that when I returned home to Boulder, I wondered if it was a dream. Then I found I could order an entire case of green tea Pocky on Amazon and realized dreams do come true.Oaxaca, Mexico – Chili and lime flavored grasshoppers.
Chapulines, or grasshoppers, are a common staple of Oaxacan cuisine. The “Oaxacan trinity” refers to mezcal, chapulines, and Oaxacan cheese, and it’s served in most of the mezcalerias. If you’re passing through the airport in Oaxaca without this context though, it might be a surprise to see a bag of grasshoppers displayed next to the Pringles.Belize City, Belize – A few years ago I realized that I’d accumulated enough miles on my Chase Sapphire Reserve that my husband Spencer and I could both fly to Belize for $11 each. While at the airport in Belize City, I found a snow globe in their one and only gift shop. Long after I’d explained my amazement to Spencer, I still couldn’t stop thinking about this. Why was there a snow globe in Belize where it never snows? Who would buy a snow globe as a reminder of their time in Belize? This was fascinating. Yangon, Myanmar – KFC. Stepping off the plane, I was surprised to see a large portrait of Colonel Sanders over the familiar red KFC sign. I know that KFC is really popular in many other countries, I just did not expect to see this when I landed in Myanmar where the local cuisine is so much a part of the culture.
What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve found in an airport? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments section! And subscribe to our newsletter below:[gravityform id=”3″ title=”false” description=”false”]
Chase Sapphire Reserve®APPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)