Whether you're away on business or travelling with the family in tow, here are 10 ways to banish boredom at the airport

There's no escaping it: waiting and air travel go hand-in-hand. However, If you've got a few hours to kill, you'd be surprised at the things you can do at the airport these days.

Get down to business. Wait time doesn't have to mean lost time. Check out your airport's executive lounge or business centre for some quiet workspace. With comfortable furnishings, a quiet atmosphere and internet access, they can be the perfect place to put in a few hours. Some airports in the U.S. even offer amenities like private cubicles. There are often fees required for access or services, but you know what they say about spending money to make money…

Check out the arts scene (and special exhibits too). Travel provides many opportunities to learn -- starting right at the airport. Not only can you find a variety of art works gracing public spaces, you can also find special exhibitions, displays and facilities that educate and entertain. For example, you can currently find two of the Royal Ontario Museum's dinosaurs on display at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport's public observation deck features displays and interactive kiosks.

Perhaps the airport isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of live entertainment, but Edmonton International Airport is out to change all of that. It has partnered with a Tourism Edmonton initiative to provide live performances, art and learning opportunities through its Live All Year program.

Surf the web. Many airports now offer internet access -- whether it's free wireless access, pay-as-you-go or service through your usual internet provider. Not only can you check your email, you can also take advantage of online services like instant messaging, social networking and even place phone calls using services like Skype. If you're ambitious, use the time to search out information about your destination. If you're looking for some entertainment, check out TV network websites for full-length episodes of your favourite shows, and listen to your favourite radio stations online.

Work up a sweat. It's hard to find time to workout when you travel, but now you can find a gym at the airport. Instead of sitting around, get your heart pumping with some time on the treadmill or pump some iron too. You can even take a dip at some clubs -- like the Vancouver International Airport's Health Club & Spa -- which have pools for some cardio conditioning and whirlpools for some relaxation. Airportgyms.com has a searchable directory of health clubs in Canadian and U.S. airports.

Get a check-up. Chipped a tooth? Need to see a doctor? You can often find health care clinics and dental offices located in airports. Book a routine check-up, get a last-minute vaccine or find help for any of those little health issues that come up while you're on the road. Just be sure to call ahead -- many clinics accept walk-ins, but you may need to make an appointment if you want to avoid the wait.

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Elizabeth Rogers