If someone asked you, “What is a layover?”, what would you tell them?
Most of us would say that they’re the worst parts of traveling, even though they're common, and a great way to save money. However, they can also mean countless hours of boredom as you wait for your next flight.
But just because you have to wait doesn’t mean you have to be bored out of your mind.
We’ve prepared a list of 9 awesome layover ideas that’ll help you pass the time. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even become a fan of layover flights.
1) Leave the airport and enjoy sightseeing
The most common question is: can you leave the airport during a layover?
This depends on how much time you have. Since it can sometimes take up to 23 hours, you’d be risking horrible boredom if you stayed at the airport doing nothing.
After all, flights never leave early, so you might as well check out the sights. You’re safe as long as your wait period lasts at least six hours, and if you plan your route and transport time.
Some airports even organize transport for you. There are also airlines like Turkish Airlines which offers a tour of Istanbul at no extra cost. The only conditions are that the wait time lasts longer than 6 hours, and that you are traveling with their airline.
So take your camera and check out a new city. It sure beats drinking airport coffee and staring at the clock.
2) Upgrade your wardrobe
If you’ve been meaning to do some shopping but haven’t had the time, you can do it while you’re waiting for your next flight.
Some airports are veritable malls with many high-street and designer shops. If you’re lucky enough, you may just even book a flight during seasonal sale time.
Don't forget that if you're traveling internationally (and aren't an EU citizen traveling within the EU), you can buy duty-free without paying value-added tax.
3) Wining and dining
In-flight food doesn't have a good reputation for a reason, so your wait is the perfect time for gourmet delights.
Some airport restaurants offer street-style food, while others provide full-on fine dining experiences.
If you’re short on time and still want to eat glamorously, check out Heathrow Terminal 5’s Gordon Ramsay Plane Food. You’ll get a three-course meal practically packed for in-flight enjoyment.
If you want to go wine tasting while waiting, check out Vino Volo. They have over 28 locations in North American airports, all for your enjoyment.
4) Know your airport
Most of us just rush through on our way to the gate, but if you have enough time between your flights, why not explore the airport?
For example, Singapore Changi Airport has a movie theater, pool, hair salons, and pretty much everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Other airports have spas and gyms, so there’s something for everyone.
5) Get some shut-eye
Long flights can be exhausting, so don’t make yourself sleep in uncomfortable waiting room chairs.
Instead, get a room in a nearby hotel. Some partnered airlines even offer exclusive hotel discounts for their layover and stopover passengers.
Others take customer satisfaction seriously and will even give you free accommodation as you wait for your connecting flight.
And if you don’t want to leave the airport to catch some z's, take a look at your airport’s selection of napcabs/sleepboxes. They’re inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, and you can book them by the hour for all the naps you need.
6) Not enough time? Turn your layover into a stopover
If your layover in a great city is too short, and you’re not in a big rush to get to your destination, check if you can turn it into a stopover.
The main difference between stopovers and layovers is that they usually last up to 23 hours, while stopovers are 24h+.
They’re a great way to catch up on sleep, check out a new locale, and even get a discount on airfare. Some airlines will even add in perks like free hotel accommodation and city tours.
7) What if I’m waiting with kids?
If you're traveling with kids on a layover flight, it may be too much of a hassle to organize an impromptu sightseeing tour.
Fortunately, many airports have leisure options even for the littlest ones. Your family can enjoy their time at parks and playgrounds, many of which are adapted to the needs of kids ranging from 2 to 10 years old.
If you’re really lucky, you may be traveling through Vancouver, where your kids can enjoy an aquatic park conveniently located 15 minutes away from the airport.
8) Stay fit during long flights
Your health matters, even when you're traveling. So don't drop your regular fitness routine just yet because plenty of airports offers exercise spaces.
For example, San Francisco airport has a zen/yoga space where you can go through a simple routine that’ll help you reach your destination without a backache.
However, if the airport you're traveling through doesn't have a space for working out, you can always do simple stretching exercises on the plane.
9) Book an airport lounge
Airport lounges are a great option for short and long layover flights alike. In a crowded airport, they’re an oasis where you can unwind and relax.
They’re organized and comfortable, and most offer free drinks and Wi-Fi. Others have kids’ rooms, accommodation, and even massages.
For example, Dubai DBX Marhaba Lounge offers all the basic features like Wi-Fi and snacks, but adds premium food, private rooms, and showers to their lounge pass offer.
Some credit cards like American Express and Sapphire Reserve will provide you with lounge membership.
However, if you don’t have them, or if the airline lounge pass isn’t included in your airline rewards membership, you can use LoungeBuddy to find out what lounges are available at your airport.
With LoungeBuddy, you can also check out each airport lounge’s features, get a better price, and avoid the 24-hour ahead booking process.
Enjoy your experience!
It’s time to turn the pre-layover dread into pre-layover excitement.
So stake out your airport before you leave, use LoungeBuddy to book a relaxing lounge, and make a plan for the best layover experience ever. Fun can start even before you’ve reached your final destination.