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How to Deal with Long Layovers at the Airport

When traveling by air, connecting flights can add significant time to your trip. You may be fortunate enough to make it to your next flight without having to wait around for too long, but unfortunately there isn’t always the luxury of planning that way. So how do you keep yourself occupied?

Cathy Wunder, Vice President of Operations at Global Connections, Inc., has a healthy way of passing some extra minutes by making sure she gets in her exercise by walking to the gate and using the stairs. When it’s time to relax she likes to visit the airline’s airport club for free Wi-Fi, snacks and drinks.

Let’s take a look at some other ideas on how to fill those empty hours:

How to Deal with Long Layovers at the Airport

Go into town.

This option works best with six hours or more to burn. If you have a place to store your luggage or are traveling light, you could go for some one-stop sightseeing or grabbing a bite in the city. Make sure you keep an eye on the time and transportation options.

Make the layover part of your vacation.

In line with the above, it is worth considering allowing more time for the place you pass through. San Francisco has been one of my favorite stops on the way to Hawaii. My wife and I would stay overnight, giving us plenty of time to explore the city, dine and be well rested for the flight the next morning. This is how we found one of our favorite restaurants!

Read a book.

If you are not too sleepy from traveling, then this is a good time to pick up that book that has been sitting on your (digital) shelf or check this list for some inspiration. Alternatively, you can study up on your final destination.

Watch the world go by.

Spending some time at a bar in the middle of the airport terminal turned out to be surprisingly fun. It felt like people-watching from our own private island. Especially good for amateur psychologists.

Make that call.

That smartphone of yours will likely get more use as an audio device, gaming platform or e-reader while you are waiting for your next flight, but in this day and age, it may just be the perfect time to go old-school and call your family or friends when you have some catching up to do.

Be productive.

Sometimes it can be difficult to transition between work and vacation. Since you are not at your destination yet, why not ramp up your productivity before winding down completely?

Treat yourself.

Most airports have a place where you can get a massage, pedicure or manicure. I’ve even seen one of those basins filled with doctor fish that clean the bather’s feet.

Add a dash of culture.

You don’t always have to empty your wallet to be entertained, as galleries and exhibitions are becoming more common in airports. Miami InternationalSacramento International and Dallas/Fort Worth International for example, offer travelers an artful respite.

Now that you found a way to combat the layover blues, don’t forget to actually board your plane when the time comes.

Do you have a plan when it comes to spending time at the airport or do you wait and see what you come across? Share your ideas with fellow travelers in the comments below!

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