Get The Most Out Of A Layover By Turning It Into A Personal “Hackathon”

Get The Most Out Of A Layover By Turning It Into A Personal “Hackathon”

Layovers can be a serious waste of time, especially when they’re unexpected. Instead of being bored for hours on end, though, use it as an opportunity to tackle that project you’ve been dragging your feet on.

Photo by Anna & Michal.

Everyone has something they have been meaning to work on but haven’t quite “found the time.” Well, Amy Killoran of I Love Travel suggests a layover is that time you’ve been looking for:

My advice is to use the time as a personal ‘hackathon’ for a project you’d never do on a normal day. One time while waiting for a flight to San Fransisco, I started an Instagram account that was inspired by my obsession with plants — one of those projects that had been nagging at the back of my mind for ages. It took a layover for me to finally do it!

Sure, you could eat airport gift shop snacks and watch Netflix or read a book. Or you could grab a coffee and get to work. You don’t have anywhere to go or anything to distract you, so use that layover time to your advantage. You may never find a chunk of time that big again.

Beyond the Bookstore: How 21 Frequent Flyers Beat Airport Boredom [Apartment Therapy]


  • Been there tried that, it’s seriously hit and miss.

    I was on a 28 hour total length flight with a couple of 4-6 hour stopovers. I’d planned a couple of small projects to fill the time, even went out of my way to pre-download a few resources I thought I’d want to refer to while coding.

    Well, I got stuff all done.

    Coding for me (I’m a professional software engineer) usually involves copious amounts of googling for manuals, ideas, references, snipppets, alternate libraries etc.
    The seriously substandard/expensive internet in many airports made this a real bust. So I was left to my own devices.
    I couldn’t really test anything on or against live servers either, which again, limits the scope of the projects you can do. So be it, plan for it.

    The biggest issues however was the fatigue. There was simply no way I could focus on an interestingly tough project and figure out new ways of doing things after the draining influence of 8 hours on a plane. Don’t get me wrong I spent hours trying, but I ended up becoming deeply disheartened by the project because I’d spent so long on it and not progressed very far, it actually took even longer to re-find the motivation to continue on it once I got home.

    Again, just my experience, and this was a seriously long haul flight, so ymmv.
    Shorter trips overall with longer stopovers I would definitely try again, but for long haul I think I’m going to stick to something more mind-numbing.

  • I do have a few projects of my own, that I really want to get started on, but due to financial constraints its not that easy. So getting laid over may not be the optimum idea.

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