Traveling can be easy if you know where you’re going, but sometimes, you encounter a bump in the road: a layover. These can be either welcomed during long trips to cities on the other side of the world or an unavoidable nuisance on a shorter trip. Whether you love them or hate them, they are part of the travel experience and it’s better to work with it than against it. Here are some ideas if you don’t know what to do at the airport during your layover!
Always Carry Cash
Whether you’re traveling nationally or internationally, it’s always a good idea to have cash on you. Some airports will even accept your local currency depending on your destination, like Aruba, where US dollars are accepted. It’s easy to misplace or even lose your wallet during layovers, and you never know if your card will function properly abroad until you use it. So avoid the hassle and carry some change for small, last minute purchases!
Prepare a Survival Bag
This small bag can easily fit in your carry-on and contains the essentials to freshen up after a long flight but always keep in mind the TSA requirements for containers and liquids you can take with you. Some useful items can be makeup, baby wipes, pocket sized face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste…even a fabric freshener to smell like clean laundry! Other useful items may include a book, hand sanitizer, and ear plugs.
Let’s get real: Some layovers can be extremely grueling and can last hours, and you wouldn’t be the first or the last one actually considering an overnight stay in the airport if it’s allowed. It obviously won’t feel like spending the night at a 5-star hotel, but it might be the next best thing considering the circumstances. Take off your shoes — discretely and making sure they don’t reek!– if you find a comfortable spot. Perhaps travel with a blanket or a long shawl to cover yourself up, so your feet aren’t exposed. You can even use your carry-on suitcase as a level to prop your feet up and lay in an almost 180 degree angle if you’re positioned right on a chair. And if all else fails, crawl up into a corner and try to get a few z’s. Just be careful and don’t miss your flight!
Shop at Duty Free Stores
Many airports have some really great stores, so have a little fun exploring them while you wait for your next flight. Spend a little money or just check out souvenirs, try on clothes, browse a magazine…you don’t have to actually buy anything to make the most out of your time!
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Get in a Workout
Some airports actually have small gyms or yoga stations so you can get in some cardio, stretching, and lift some weights while you wait for your flight. If you don’t have a gym in the airport, get creative. Run up and down the stairs. Walk the wrong way down the moving walkways. If there’s no one around, do some sprints or yoga poses. You can easily do sit ups and push ups anywhere even if there’s a lot of people. You can even run in place. The best news is that you won’t only be killing time, but you’ll be tiring yourself out for the flight so maybe you can catch some sleep on the plane. Blast the music and get to burning those calories. People may stare at you as you sprint up and down the halls, but they aren’t the ones trying to save themselves from boredom.
Catch Up on Some Bingeable Entertainment
This is time you get where you aren’t “too busy” to watch all those shows you’ve been waiting to watch. Watch a movie everyone’s been talking about, binge the newest trendy show, and/or watch some of your favorite classic TV flicks. If you have a few hours, you can really shorten your streaming “watch list”! Sure, you might be laughing out loud or crying in the airport, but at least you’re entertaining yourself! Binge watching makes time go faster so you’ll suddenly look up, and it’s time to board.
Make New Friends
A long layover is a great time to make new friends. Everyone in that airport is traveling to or from somewhere. They all have a story, and many are wondering what to do at the airport…just like you. It’s usually entertaining to sit and listen to someone else’s story. Strike up a conversation with anyone around you. Go to a restaurant and sit at the bar chit-chatting with the people there. They could be just as bored as you. Sometimes you meet really interesting folks in the airport. You’re all stuck there for that time, so you might as well make it count, right? If you can’t find enough people or aren’t in the mood to meet new friends, then call some of your old friends and catch up. Sometimes these conversations could last longer than the actual layover.
Take a Day Trip (If There’s Time!)
Finally, if you have enough time, take a trip to the city. You get to explore the area and do something fun while killing time. It’s a vacation within a vacation. The only thing you really need to worry about is making sure you get back to the airport to board your connecting cheap international flight in time. Remember you’ll have to do the whole security check and get to your gate in time for the flight. Also take into account the traffic in that city to ensure you can beat it to get back in time. Make sure you know what time your terminal closes. If you’re in another country, it’s important to check out your visa situation. You may not be able to leave certain airports without a transit visa card, sticker or stamp. If you have time and everything you need, go out and enjoy yourself away from the stuffy airport!