What to Do on Long Layovers

What to do on Long Layovers

Making the Most of Long Layovers: Your Ultimate Guide

Long layovers, often perceived as a traveler’s inconvenience, can be transformed into opportunities for exploration and relaxation with a strategic approach. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of turning those seemingly endless waits into enjoyable and enriching experiences.

Preparing for the Layover

The key to a successful layover begins with understanding the facilities your airport offers. Take a virtual tour or check online resources to pinpoint lounges, dining options, and entertainment zones.

Knowing your airport’s layout enables you to navigate efficiently and make the most of your time. Pack essentials such as a travel pillow for comfort, snacks to curb hunger, and power banks to keep your devices charged, ensuring you’re ready for anything your layover throws at you.

Exploring the Airport

Airports are no longer just transition points; they’ve become miniature cities offering diverse experiences. Take Singapore’s Changi Airport, for example, renowned for its indoor waterfall and butterfly garden. Or explore Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which boasts an art museum and library. Investigate unique offerings at your chosen airport to uncover unexpected delights and make your layover memorable.

Fitness and Wellness

Staying physically and mentally fit is crucial during extended waits. Try simple exercises like yoga stretches or take a brisk walk around the terminal to keep your blood flowing. For a serene break, many airports now offer dedicated wellness areas where you can practice meditation or relaxation exercises. Vancouver International Airport, for instance, features yoga spaces where travelers can unwind between flights.

Productivity Hacks

Transform your layover into a productivity powerhouse by taking advantage of airport workspaces. Many airports, like Frankfurt Airport, provide business lounges equipped with charging stations and quiet corners conducive to focused work. Use this time to organize your itinerary, answer emails, or tackle work projects, turning a potential idle period into a productive one.

Entertainment Options

Entertainment is a cornerstone of a pleasant layover. Dubai International Airport boasts its own movie theater, allowing travelers to catch the latest releases. Alternatively, discover engaging books and podcasts. Incheon International Airport in South Korea even has a cultural center where visitors can experience traditional Korean performances, adding a touch of local flair to their layover entertainment.

Local Excursions

If your layover spans several hours and you’re in a city with accessible attractions, consider venturing outside the airport. In Beijing, the Beijing Capital International Airport is relatively conveniently located near the Great Wall (or at least on that side of the city, let’s say it that way), allowing travelers with long layovers to experience this world wonder. Always check visa requirements and the time needed to get through security to ensure a stress-free return to your gate.

Connecting with Fellow Travelers

Airports are dynamic social spaces, providing ample opportunities to connect with fellow travelers. Airports like Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Singapore’s Changi host events and activities, from live music to art exhibitions, fostering a sense of community among passengers. Engage in conversations, join group activities, or simply share a meal with someone new, turning your layover into a social adventure.

Handling Sleep and Time Zone Changes

Napping strategically and adjusting to time zone changes can significantly impact your layover experience. Seek out designated sleep zones like those found in Abu Dhabi International Airport, equipped with comfortable recliners and dim lighting for a quick and restful nap. Additionally, adopt practices like hydrating, adjusting your watch to the destination time, and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime to help acclimate to a new time zone seamlessly.

Useful Apps and Resources

Enhance your layover experience with a selection of useful apps. Duolingo is perfect for quick language lessons, while travel guides like TripIt help you organize your itinerary. Additionally, games like Heads Up! or Monument Valley can turn a dull wait into an entertaining experience. Make your layover tech-savvy with these handy apps designed to enrich your travel journey.

Plan Ahead for Long Layovers

In conclusion, armed with the knowledge to navigate and capitalize on every facet of a layover, you can now turn these seemingly tedious breaks into valuable moments of exploration and rejuvenation. From unique airport amenities to local excursions and socializing opportunities, your layover can be as fulfilling as the destination itself.

Embrace the possibilities, and let your next long layover become an integral part of your travel adventure.

Should I plan a stopover instead?

You might find want to plan a longer stay and take advantage of the fact that you are passing through to explore this interim destination. See our list of the best stopover cities in the world that you won’t want to miss, especially if you are going that way regardless.

Stopovers vs. Layovers – What is the difference?

A stopover and a layover are both periods of time when a traveler is not in the air but rather on the ground between connecting flights. However, the primary difference lies in the duration and purpose of these breaks.

Stopovers involve a more extended stay in a connecting city, often exceeding 24 hours. Unlike layovers, which focus on facilitating seamless connections, stopovers are intentionally planned breaks that allow travelers to explore and experience the culture, attractions, and cuisine of the stopover destination.

Does it sound like we love stopovers? We do, particularly if done cost-effectively.

How to book flights with long layovers?

One of our travel affiliate partners Cheapo-Air offers this helpful article on how to plan and book flights with long layovers, and why you might want to do so.


Veteran, former expat, former travel agent, investor, digital content creator and creative soul. Make your escape to discover and explore a range of exotic places and amazing destinations around the globe

Recent Posts