Gone are the days we have to dread long layovers! If planned correctly, a decent long layover has actually heightened some of my personal travel experiences. I often seek longer layovers to squeeze in a mini-vacay before I’m on the move again nonstop for business at my destination. Depending on how much time I have, I’ve used the time to catch up on work or with family and friends or get through customs to be a tourist for the day. No matter how long your layover, there’s something for everyone! Here are some ways you can take advantage of your next long layover, too!
Plan a quick day trip!
Depending how long the layover, in a major city you may find something quick to do or see nearby! Research the airport and some of its closest tourist attractions. Any ‘can’t miss’ restaurants or monuments close by? Don’t forget to check customs entry regulations to see if a visa is needed to enter the country. Most countries are starting to allow tourists to enter and exit for a day or so without a visa. So, make sure you have enough time to get through customs, to and from your destination, and then back to the airport in time for boarding (still two to three hours before for international flights!) And of course, enough time to soak up whatever sight you choose to see!
Abuse Your Food Voucher!
If your layover is eight hours plus, often times the airline will give you a complimentary food voucher to use at select restaurants inside the airport! Take advantage of the comp meal but you may want to also…
Find a Restaurant or Coffee Shop and Take Advantage of the Wifi!
2016 is all about staying connected right? Having a long layover is like gaining a “Get Out of Jail Free” card before the next long leg of your journey! Most, but not all, airports do offer free wifi, but with limitations. Take advantage of that no-cost wifi at a local restaurant in the terminal, get your McDonald’s fries fix (my boyfriend’s guilty pleasure) or my favorite everywhere at any time, Starbucks. Get some work done, let mom know you’re safe, and definitely Snapchat with the airport filter!
Sleep and rest!
If you can. I’m not one to sleep comfortably around strangers in public places, so I choose to grab a tea and rest in one of the many public airport lounges in the terminals. Major airports like Dubai International are now providing public rest areas with full-length lounge chairs, for those who have long layovers, but don’t have access to the private airline lounges. But for a splurge, really rest up for a night in a nearby hotel or the hotel in the airport!
Learn About the City in the Airport Visitors Center
I first noticed a visitors center during my layover in Seoul, South Korea. The Seoul Visitors Center had women dressed in traditional Korean attire, teaching cultural information and arts and crafts for the creative type. A great way to learn about the city you’re in if you don’t have enough time to leave the airport. It may end up being the next city on your wanderlist!
Catch up on a movie or tv series!
Might seem pretty basic but hey, Game of Thrones and Orange are about to premiere in a just a few months. Crash in a lounge and binge out!
Get a massage or a manicure!
Traveling in itself can be exhausting, let’s face it. Treat yourself to a quick massage or manicure/pedicure (if time permits) in an airport spa to release airplane tension and swelling. I’ve seen a “fast massage” in almost every airport I’ve been in the past year. Most of them offer 15 minutes free, so why not? A great stress reliever and does wonders for post-flight body tension!
Duty Free Browse!
Who doesn’t love duty free! Now, most major airports have entire floors dedicated to duty free shopping! And then you have those like Hong Kong International and Dubai that offer the luxury shopper a quick Gucci pop in! Hong Kong and London Heathrow now even house Zara. Knowing you have a mall in between layovers can definitely help save space when packing and getting through security too! No weight limit for carry-on baggage, so leave the hair bottles at home and grab them in between flights!