A long layover when flying is hardly ever ideal, but sometimes they can't be avoided. Here are a few ways to make your next lengthy layover a little bit better.
Unless your flight is severely delayed, you know beforehand if you're in for a long layover somewhere on your journey. Prepare by bringing along supplies to entertain yourself. It sounds obvious -- after all, you've already brought supplies for the plane, right? -- but make sure you bring enough. Personally, I like to load up my tablet with my favourite movies or books, bring a handheld gaming device, or take work to catch up on. Whatever you choose, bring chargers to keep your electronics going. A small power board can help ensure you always get an outlet, too.
Make sure you have plenty of snacks, too, since airport food often isn't the most appealing or affordable. A blanket and slippers can go a long way to making a layover comfortable as well. If your layover is in another country, bring some of the local currency in case you need it at the airport.
Find A Safe Place For Your Stuff
If you're travelling alone and plan to stay in the terminal, you have to constantly keep your stuff with you to make sure it is 100% safe. In this situation, I try to find a spot that has comfortable seating, is near a bathroom, and isn't too far from the gate my next flight will depart from. If you're travelling with others, this part is a bit easier since you can take shifts keeping an eye on everyone's stuff while others go to the bathroom, stretch their legs, or grab food. This rule also applies if you have lounge access (either as a frequent flyer or if you've paid).
If you don't plan to stay in the terminal (more on this later), then find lockers or other secure spots to store your luggage while you go sightseeing. Check the airport or station's web site to find out if they provide such facilities.
Explore The City
If you have enough time and the patience to go through security/customs again, you can explore the airport's city. Travel+Leisure has a great list of airports that easily connect to nearby cities via public transportation and that have luggage storage. Not only do they list how long your layover needs to be for it to be worth it, they also include travel time and cost, what public transit to take, and what to do once you arrive in the city. Do a little research on your city to see what's nearby.
For those who would rather stay inside the airport, you can still adventure! Take a stroll through your terminal for a change in scenery and to get moving again before another leg of your trip.
Catch Up On Paperwork
Not the most exciting option, but you can utilise your layover time to get stuff done. For example:
- Wrap up work emails so you don't have to worry about them during your trip. If your layover is on the way home, use this time to sort through emails or messages so you won't be overwhelmed on your first day back.
- If you plan to write about your travels, either in blog or journal form, use this time to prep for or catch up on that.
- If your layover is on the return trip, write postcards or letters to loved ones. You might even be able to mail them inside the airport!
- Prepare for paperwork you may have to fill out when you land, like customs forms.
- Read through your itinerary and any guide books you've got so you'll be ready to hit the ground running once you arrive at your destination.
- It isn't paperwork, but if you're travelling with someone else then you can catch up on sleep! Make sure one person is awake and paying attention in case there are any announcements related to your transportation.
Layovers aren't the best part of travel by a long shot, but you can use these tips to make the most out of your next layover. Do you have a way of making layovers better? Share with us in the comments below.