When traveling long distances, sometimes, there is no way to get around having a layover. Although some layovers may be under 30 minutes, there are those night-long layovers that give you more time to make the most of your pre-destination location. When purchasing a flight, if you do have to make a stop before reaching your destination, make sure you choose a good layover airport if you can. This makes all the difference in how fast time will pass while you wait for your next flight. Being in a giant airport can make an overnight layover feel too short and this is the type of airport you want to be at. However, sometimes picking a good airport is not an option and you have to go with what is given to you. In that case, there are some things on this list that might be beneficial on how to make the most out of your layover, no matter the airport size.
20 Squeeze in a Work Out
If you like to make sure you are in the best shape you can be, or whether you want to make sure you still fit into your vacation jeans, working out is key to staying in shape. When you are at an airport, it may not be the ideal place to work out right in front of the terminal or the gate, but most airports have a designated area of nothing but carpet. In this area, if you want to pull out your yoga mat and squeeze in at least an hour or so before you have to hop onto your next flight. If you have a longer layover, this can be one of the many things you can do to pass the time.
19 Leave the airport, explore the city
The longer the layover the better, some would say. If you have a longer layover, you will have more time to leave the airport and get back in time for your next flight. When leaving the airport you still have to think about the time it will take to get through security. However, if you have to stay overnight, getting out of the airport to explore the city is an ideal way to spend your free time. If you can join in on a quick tour and then head back to the airport, it will seem as if no time has passed at all. Or you would have at least gained a new city experience.
18 Get a hotel
If you know you will have to stay the night in a city before your final destination, getting a hotel for the night is probably the best way to ensure you have a pleasant layover. Getting a hotel not only allows you to get adequate, quality sleep, but it also allows you to see more of the city. At hotels, they have different pamphlets and brochures recommending things to do around the city as well. If you decided to spend your layover in a hotel, you get to kick back and put your feet up all in the privacy of your own room with a hot shower and good pillows.
17 Try the local food
If you don't have time to leave the airport and hit up a favorite local eatery, you might be able to taste a local dish at one of the restaurants in the airport. So rather than play it safe at Subway, pick a restaurant that serves local dishes and drinks. Plus, since it is the airport, there won't be anything too weird. They don't want you getting sick on the plane. Like if you find yourself in Montreal, get a smoked meat sandwich, or if you're in Philadelphia, then you definitely have to have a Philly cheesesteak.
16 Rest Up
Every traveler knows that sleep is essential when trying to remain in a happy space. When you have a layover, you can take this opportunity to catch up on that much-needed rest you could be missing out on while in the air. Although you can sleep on the plane as well, it won't be as comfortable because of the lack of space. If you sleep in the airport, be sure to keep track of your belongings and keep them close to you, you don’t want someone to walk off with your things. It's also crucial to set an alarm so you don't miss your flight.
15 Don't be a stranger
Who said the airport wasn’t a good place to make friends? No one. If you find yourself stuck in the airport for hours on end, it might be helpful to find a new friend in someone close by. Talking can make the time go by faster than sleeping can, if you have the right partner to talk to. Making new friends at the airport not only helps the time go by faster, but you might be able to get some travelling tips too if you happen to chat up a local from the city you're heading to.
14 Pamper yourself
If you are going on a business trip and you have a long layover, going to the airport spa is the perfect way to unwind and relax. Spending some time at the airport spa will leave you refreshed and ready to face whatever is coming your way on your trip. Most airports have at least one spa service area in the terminal and you may be able to get onto a massage table or salon chair. Because of the nature of the airport, these spas are adequately staffed and can work as quickly or slowly as you need to them to depending on your own layover. If you decide to make this stop at the spa during your layover, be sure to let them know what time your flight departs so you don’t get too relaxed and miss your connecting flight.
13 Pretend you're at the mall
Everyone loves to shop whether it’s for yourself or for loved ones, there is never a reason to not shop. As anyone who has ever been grocery shopping or clothes shopping, you know that most of the time, the concept of time gets away from you and the next thing you know, hours have passed and it's time to board. If you want to pick up souvenirs for your family or maybe pick out a few pieces for yourself, shopping is great way to pass the time and be productive. At most international airports, on their international side, they have an array of shops, including high-end brands such as Gucci or Chanel. If you're looking to pick a book for your travels, check out the magazine and book shops at the airport. Our personal favorite is the duty-free shops for perfumes and makeup because we get to save on taxes.
12 Hop Around
The airport is full of coffee shops and bars, so one fun way to pass the time with your buddies is to cafe/bar hop. Without overdoing it of course, this could be a great way to meet other travellers, especially if you're sitting at the counter rather than a table. Might as well start your vacation early. Plus, most of these places offer free Wi-Fi, so even if you're by yourself, you could kill some time browsing Facebook while sipping on a local brew. Some places even offer tastings!
11 Think ahead
If you have a laptop or any electronic device, this can be a great way to stream movies to help pass the time while waiting for your next flight. Almost all airports offer a free Wi-Fi service to all passengers within the airport building. However, a lot of the times, they do have time restrictions, but they do have passes available for purchase for unlimited Wi-Fi. If you use the free Internet, you can download movies to your device and movies run for at least an hour and a half. With the number of movie choices available, you can get too caught up in the movie and miss your call for the connecting flight, so be sure to stay alert. If you have a Netflix account, download your movies or TV shows ahead of time on your iPad so you don't have to worry about slow Internet.
10 Be productive
While waiting at the airport, one of the most productive ways to use your layover time is to get some work done. While some people may be able to get some work done, that is not always the case for everyone. So, if you don’t have access to what you need to do your daily job, then you can work on a personal project. Working on projects professionally or personally can make the time go by quickly just as if you were in an office. If you can spend eight hours in your office doing work, then you should be able to make use of the airport office and get some productive work done there.
9 Freshen up
When it comes to traveling, if you have a layover, that usually means you have a long flight and they broke up the route so you won’t have to be sitting on the plane the entire time. This leaves you the perfect opportunity to freshen up and make sure you are at your best for your next flight. Almost all airlines have a kiosk or a help desk at each terminal or concourse in the airport. If you stop by an airline kiosk, some of them, like Delta, have a bag they call a "refresher." It usually has as toothbrush, toothpaste, and sometime mouthwash — you can use this kit to freshen up for your next flight. You could also use your own travel-size sanitary items to freshen up as well. There's no need to look wrecked and tired every time you fly. You look effortlessly fabulous if you use your time wisely.
8 Hit the magazine shop and bookstore
One of the oldest ways to pass time still applies in the modern age — reading. Although most books aren’t hardback anymore, you can still buy an e-book and get some reading done. Whether you're reading a book, the newspaper, or even a magazine, you'll be making good use of your time. Reading what you enjoy can captivate you and take you to another place outside of the airport, and when staying in the airport for hours on end, this can be helpful in passing the time.
7 Catch up
Another old and reliable way to kill time during a layover is to catch up with family and friends. If you have any family members that you haven’t spoken to in a long time, this is the perfect time to make that call. While chatting with family and friends, you get to spend time talking to those you love and in a way, that makes any layover bearable. Catching up with family and friends is also a good way to let them know what you have planned for your trip. With traveling, there are always risks, but letting family know that you are safe makes them worry a little less and makes the time go by a little faster.
6 Find the hidden gems
If you end up at a really big airport, exploring it from terminal to terminal can be another great way to kill time. Exploring the airport is something that is safe and completely free. However, if you want to venture outside of the security gates of the airport, be sure to factor in the time it will take to get back through security in time to make your connecting flight. While you are taking a tour of the airport, you should take note of any stores that you may want to revisit later or in another location. Most international airports have enough space for you to venture through leisurely and if you are at a smaller airport, making the rounds will make things a lot easier.
5 People Watch
The favorite American pastime, whether you admit it or not, is people watching. This can sometimes be more entertaining than watching a movie. However, if you decide to pass your time people watching, be careful not to interfere with any situations that would make you uncomfortable. Interfering could mean something bad if you are confronting an aggressive person. So when you are passing the time watching others, be sure to keep your comments and hands to yourself to avoid any unwanted conflicts. Despite this being something to do to pass your time while waiting for the next flight, you may not want to spend too much time doing so, no matter how funny things can get.
4 Start your travel journal
Writing at the airport is a productive and inexpensive way to spend the time waiting for your next flight. When thinking of writing, you can write in your personal journal about your travels and the plans for your destination. Or you could challenge yourself to something a little different such as writing a poem or a short story. It will keep your brain working and your thoughts flowing. If you decide to start a travel journal, years later, you'll be so thankful you took the time to do this.
3 Further plan your trip
Traveling to a new location and unsure of what to do? A layover is the perfect time to figure it out. Traveling to a new location is one of the most exciting things that can happen. However, it can also be one of the scariest things that happen to a person. If you use your layover time correctly, you can have your entire trip planned out by the time you get on your next flight. Planning ahead of time allows you more time to relax when you reach your destination. While it's important to be somewhat spontaneous on your trip, it's just as necessary to be somewhat organized.
2 Check out airport art exhibitions
Not all airports have art exhibits, but if you pick a good airport, like Miami International Airport, you will have the opportunity to check out some art. Whether you're into art or not, it doesn't hurt to check out what locals artists have to offer. And if you're lucky, some airports are so big, they offer more than one art exhibition, which gives you an excuse to travel from one terminal to another.
1 Buy a pass to an airport lounge
If you think the areas around the gates are crowded and make you uncomfortable, there are other options. You can always buy a pass for the airport lounges to get a more exclusive airport treatment. In the airport lounges, you have access to nicer chairs and entertainment, meaning more televisions. When you get a pass for the airport lounges, you will be able to be closed off from regular traffic and there's usually less people. When you are in the lounge, you also have access to free Wi-Fi.
Sources: www.lawa.com, nytimes.com