Hate long layovers? You’re looking at it all wrong. Layovers can be a great time to enjoy a new destination or get some work done, with a little bit of planning.
If you know you’ve got more than 3 hours on a long layover, you’ve got a ton of options on how to pass the time.
Here are some creative ways to maximize your long layovers.
1) See the City
If you have more than four hours until your flight, you likely have enough time to leave the airport.
Hire a private driver or jump on a city bus tour to see the sights. At the Frankfurt Airport you can take a train into the city to drink a beer check out a museum, or enjoy a little nightlife.
While on a long layover in Beijing, my friend and I hired a private driver who took us to the great wall, Tiananmen Square, and more. It was great! Having a driver also doubled as a tour guide. Remember to take enough money out of the ATM to tip!
2) Hit the Spa
You could spend your layovers getting pampered at various airports that offer full service spas including Newark Liberty International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Nashville International Airport and JFK International Airport.
If you’re on a long flight, hitting the spa in the airport is a great way to recoup some energy and feel refreshed.
3) Explore the Airport
Try some wine tasting at Vino Volo in Sacramento Airport, get married at Schiphol in Amsterdam, golf at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and, for longer layovers, venture outside via shuttle and feel the electric vibe of south beach in Miami for $2.00 per ride.
According to sleepinginairports, a wonderful resource with bountiful information on airports around the world, Singapore’s Changi Airport was ranked best in 2010 for its wide range of activities available to travelers.
Changi has seven gardens, two koi fish ponds, a swimming pool, Entertainment deck with 3D experience zone, three movie theatres, free wireless internet and so much more. With all that is to offer, there’s really no reason to leave the airport.
These are just a few examples of the wide range of opportunities available to travelers worldwide. Layovers can provide plenty of options, and, with a little bit of research, you could be on your way to having an enjoyable addition to your vacation.
So next time someone asks you what you’re going to do when your flight gets delayed, just tell them, “having fun!”
4) Hit the Lounge
One of the biggest perks to certain credit cards is having access to the lounges. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also be able to sign up for Priority Pass, which gives you access to lounges in airports around the world.
Most of these airport lounges have food and coffee available to you, as well as free wi-fi and comfortable seating. Some even have showers!
After a 10 hour flight and before another 5 hour flight, there’s nothing better than being able to take a shower and relax. Long layovers are a chance to catch your breath.
5) Plan Your First Night’s Stay
If you don’t have the first night of your trip booked, use the time on your long layover to do some research and get that sorted.
One of the biggest safety tips we give to solo female travelers is to always know where you’re staying the first night in a new town.
Use you layover to get your trip research done, if you haven’t already!
6) Get some sleep
If you have a long layover at an ungodly time and more than 7 hours, I urge you to consider getting a hotel room near the airport.
So many times on trips past, I have tried to just sleep in the airport. If your flight comes into Barcelona at 1 am, but doesn’t leave again until 10 am — spend the money and get a real night’s sleep. Even just four or five hours in a quiet bed can do wonders to how you feel when you finally arrive.
When I moved to Buenos Aires I had a 12 hour layover in Miami. I had my dog with me so I couldn’t leave the airport at all. Luckily, it was during the world cup so I was able to catch 3 games on TVs in the food court area. I mostly read, ate and strolled around with my dog. Had I been alone I definitely would have gone out into the city.
I had a great layover in Zurich! There’s a train that takes you from the airport to the the city in just minutes. And because Zurich is such a walkable city, even if you only have 4 hours between flights, you can still see quite a bit.
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