*This post was created in collaboration with National Express

You know the feeling. The feeling when you arrive at the airport and the hustle and bustle of things is a little off. The commotion is more hectic than usual and your fellow travellers are frustrated. You know what’s happened before you even see the departures screen – flights have been cancelled. More specifically, your flight has been cancelled. If you’re lucky, you need only to wait a few hours – but if you’re unlucky, you’ll be searching for the best spot to crash for the night. So what’s a travelette to do when she’s stranded at the airport?

Cancelled flights aside, most people have to kill some time at the airport. From the ideal travelette who gets to the airport the recommended three hours in advance (you know who you are) to the last minute girl-on-the-go who barely makes the checked luggage cut-off time. Whether it’s one hour or one day, we all end up spending more time than we’d like at the airport.

With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with National Express in a project to create alternative airport maps for select UK airports. We sent our girls to Gatwick Airport to check out the dos and don’ts, the must-sees and the must-skips. We researched and collected data about the different aspects that help make your airport stay comfortable. From this data National Express has made alternative maps that are not only more interesting than the average airport navigation board, but they also include information that you actually need.

Gatwick South Landside Downstairs

With fun graphics that you actually want to look at, these maps tell you all the need-to-knows for your impromptu stay. Want to catch up on emails over a coffee? Find not only the nearest cafes but also how much free internet they provide. Prefer a bed to the seats at the gate during longer stays (who doesn’t)? Easily locate different types of accommodation, just like that.

Gatwick North Landside

What if you were holding out for free airplane food only find your stomach growling after the long wait at the info desk? Or, if you’re anything like me, hunger just happens to strike the moment you clear security. So you wander around in indecisive annoyance wondering (more than once) if you should buy the soggy sandwich in plastic wrap or hold out for that something better that you just know is around the corner. Until it isn’t. National Express Maps tell you not only where great food is, but also where the healthy options are.

Want to chill out before your flight? Or, let’s be honest, get away from screaming children or that person who is yelling on his iPhone? Quickly get to the quiet areas to find your zen.

Gatwick North Airside Ground

If you’re a travelette who doesn’t mind strolling through the airport for pleasure, these maps also how you how to fill your time with things that you love: bookshops, music, watching sports, internet stations and, of course, shopping! Beeline your way to the latest magazine stand, quickly get your hands on free makeup samples, or find yourself sipping a refreshing beverage quicker than you can say “information desk.”

Gatwick North Airside Upper

Whether you’re spending a few extra hours, the day, or even a night at the airport we, along with National Express, have got you covered. Check out their website to learn more about the maps and let us know how you like to spend your pre-flight time in the comments below. 

This is a guest post by Briana Goad.

briana goad Bri is a small-town girl from the Southern U.S. living in big-city Europe. Originally from Athens, Georgia, she planted roots in Berlin in 2011 and lives for travel, good weather, and great food. Whether it’s relaxing on the beaches of Belize, interviewing trendsetters on the streets of Lisbon, or touring the towering city of Tokyo, Bri lives a life on the go and is always up for the next adventure. In between her travels she works as a freelance designer from her home studio. Follow her adventures at home and abroad on Instagram and her blog.